If you visit Sicily, you cannot leave without visiting the volcano. Etna is, like all active volcanoes, (in fact, even more due to its unique majesty) the meeting point between black and white, heaven and hell, beauty and terror.
Only those who have at least one window facing Etna can truly understand the primordial situation that it creates: today the people of Sicily are here because She allows them to.
In this magical place where very little is needed to overturn the equilibrium. The locals (and even more the visitors) are very small and that’s how Giulia De Marchi went out to photograph them: like curious non-entities made of colours, smells and sensations of a land that boils from within.
“Even more than any other photograph I made, the human element here is truly just a silhouette, a figure wandering around. I see them starting their walk with a promise to themselves to make, this time, a mystical journey and they end up, perhaps, talking of everyday things. Isn’t this what follows a moment of spirituality? Descending into everyday life while observing the climate and the landscape?
In this same way I imagine the inhabitants: the same ones which have at least one window facing Etna and meditate on those silhouettes that wander around, perhaps I consider them a little naïve for being there and just thinking of who knows what. But in the end, it makes no difference whether the thoughts at stake are deep or not, mystical or futile. It only matters the Volcano with its black and scorching earth.”
Inspired by “A Tour Through Sicily and Malta: In a Series of Letters to William Beckford” of Patrick Brydone:
“Many parts of this region are surely the most heavenly spots upon earth; and if Etna resembles hell within, it way with equal justice be said to resemble paradise without.
It is indeed a curious consideration, that this mountain should re-unite every beauty and every horror; and, in short, all the most opposite and dissimilar objects in nature. Here you observe a gulf, that formerly threw out torrents of fire, now covered with the most luxuriant vegetation; and from an object of terror, become one of delight. Here you gather the most delicious fruit, rising from what was but lately a black and barren rock. Here the ground is covered with every flower; and we wander over these beauties, and contemplate this wilderness of sweets, without considering that hell, with all its terrors, is immediately under our feet; and that but a few yards separates us from lakes of liquid fire and brimstone.”
P. Brydone, A Tour Through Sicily and Malta: In a Series of Letters to William Beckford
See more of Giulia’s work Here.
The Home & Migration Issue 28-07-2020
Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town 15-12-2019
Championing some of the most exciting and engaging photo stories from documentary and portraiture photographers, writers and journalists alike.
Support Then There Was Us with a membership subscription to our digital and printed magazine. Through becoming a member you not only receive our magazine but members subscriptions help to fund our Then There Was Us ‘Story Teller’ grants. We believe that when you support us, we can support others.
Join the conversation.
Join the Facebook group.