• Dates
    2017 - 2022
  • Author
  • Topics Social Issues, Contemporary Issues, Documentary
  • Location Sicily, Italy

The social desertification in Sicily

It’s right here beneath us; we trample it, mistreat it, ignore it and if we can’t see it, it’s because the earth we walk is under our feet. That most tangible form of prosperity, that mankind has tended to over millennia, guarding it, replenishing it, letting it rest when needed, is this earth under our feet, and it is rebelling.

Erosion, chemical pollution, salinization, climate change, intensive farming, rural depopulation, overbuilding, wildfires, nefarious political choices, have all compromised soil quality, resulting in an enormous loss of productive land year after year.

An impoverished land generates poor people, an impoverished earth causes ever more frequent inundations, droughts and mass migration across borders and towards the cities; poor people that generate a social crisis.

Sicily today risks social and human desertification as we continue to emigrate, cease to procreate and become “barren”,

Observing “my land”, a landscape marked by recent and less recent layers of time, a testament to mankind’s impact on the environment and the environment’s impact on mankind, I felt a sense of emptiness that drove me to explore desertification, not only of the land but also of the soul.

“The earth under your feet” focuses on a highly topical issue that for many is non-existent. Often we are blind to what stands before us, or we pretend not to see, because we believe it does not affect us.

The bond I have with my land is visceral and led to a profound reflection over a photographic journey lasting four years from 2017 to 2020 – the time required to complete another long-term project. Every image portrays a way of thinking, being and living.

When I started this photographic journey I chose specific locations with a set idea but then I would lose myself on this immense island-continent, discovering images that obsessed me even more. And the word “obsession”, which may almost seem an exaggeration, has always been my travelling companion in my work.

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UNDER YOUR FEET by Carmelo Stompo

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