Paola Leonardi’s series “Undrawn Hours” was created at NES Artist Residency in Skagastrond, northern Iceland, during February-March 2010; it presents a photographic exploration of the remote Skagi peninsula.
Scourged by winter storms and drained by the economic recession, this area is littered with abandoned farms and unused summer cabins, broken sheds and decommissioned boats, a stark reminder of the depopulation and decay of local farming and fishing industry.
Leonardi uses the photographic medium to trace the human imprint on the territory, a lyrical depiction of the shift in human geography that has lead to the abandonment of the countryside and decline of manual industry.
The harsh weather made human encounters rare and the structures that remain have become relics abandoned in a sea of hay and ice, reminders of a past human presence.
Q&A with Paola Leonardi
Perhaps the only thing I am able to do, it borders on the obsession!
Photography and writing…
As I am very dyslexic, I used to hate writing. However with time I have started writing a lot about my own travels and photographs and I regularly keep a blog. Equally I enjoy reading about the experience of other photographers and I am interested in photographic literature. I am a avid collector of photography books.
Who left the biggest impression on you?
Perhaps a bit of a cliché’, but my parents: my mother is a mathematician and my father an architect and photographer, and both have thought me to always try my best but also not to compromise and to do only what I love.
In Photography I love the work of Spanish photographer Bleda y Rosa for their representation of landscapes intrinsic with history, as well as the work of Alec Soth, Jon Tonks and Tamas Dezso.
Tell us a little about yourself
Despite having a photographer father I didn’t start photography till my late 20’s/ early 30’s!
As a teenager I relocated from Italy to London, and studied fine art. Only toward the end of my degree I started working with analogue black & white Photography and did a Photography MA. I currently work freelance doing commissions in portrait, fashion as well as some digital retouching. I am also a lecturer in Photography at university Campus Suffolk.
I love traveling and my personal projects are connected to my passion for visiting remote areas, through which I often travel on foot as I love walking. I canwalk up to 30 km a day when I am out photographing. I am interested in the connection between people’s identity and the territory they inhabit. All my personal projects are shot using an analogue Hasselblad 500cm, I also work in the traditional black & white darkroom.
I am not a big fan of digital photography, which I use only for commissioned work.