In black and white pictures, contrast is one of the most powerful instruments at the artist’s disposal—a skilled practitioner has in her hands the very substance that is the mystery of light. This quality is wonderfully captured by the young photographer Lidia Giusto. In this series, she uses light to convey the haunting feeling that our human presence leaves but a feeble signal after itself, and architecture is nothing but a strange attempt through which to resist this void.
The Dark Room of My Mind contains shots taken from 2000 to 2014. It explores the appearance of places deprived of life and deals with the silent and suffocating mystery of forgotten buildings.
“To me,” Giusto said, “my photographs are like industrial and urban archaeology, research of traces of what once existed, and still exists today.” At first sight, these gloomy rooms, rusted beds and endless corridors give the suggestion of horror; but steadily, they reveal themselves to be more than that. Giusto’s ability of finding meaningful details—a piece of glass, some steep stairs, a small reflection—is fundamental to bringing out a more subtle feelings of loneliness and isolation rather than a blunt fear.
On closer inspection, Giusto’s lines are always oblique. Her stairs, roofs, shadows seem to desperately pursue an escaping light. A giant tree of pipes, made useless and empty, is a monument to oblivion. But the chief quality of Giusto’s shots, drawn out in her spiritual dark room (photographic, in this case), can be found beyond the places themselves: “Sometimes beauty lies in the decay itself…A growing passion in me is to try to photograph objects suspended above space and time.”
In short, her pictures bring to light a melancholy we have likely experienced in many places and situations. We sense this feeling of abandonment, in neglected rooms and forgotten corners—but in the urban chaos of Western life, we would just as soon pass them by without a second glance…