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Photo Essays

Alfredo Macchi | War Landscapes

Kabul, Afghanistan, Dicember 2001

War Landscapes, photo essay by Alfredo Macchi

Pictures are part of photo book WAR LANDSCAPES (Tempesta editore) wich contains an hundred of photographs in black and white of landscapes captured in 15 years at the frontline in the major conflicts of the planet.

Pictures range from the ruins of Kabul in 2001 to the gutted houses of southern Lebanon in 2006, from the ghost towns of Libya in 2011 to the refugee camps in South Sudan and Iraq in recent days. Battlefields, skeletons of aircraft and tanks, walls, fortresses and military posts: so, in the almost complete absence of the human figure, the author mixed the landscape genre and reportage to reflect not on a particular conflict but of all wars.

I took a lot of photos of despair, pain and screams but for this book I chose images of landscapes, places marked by the destruction and the effects of war. One way I hope to reflect away from the noise and excitement of all the conflicts of the present age.

The volume (size 22 x 29.5 cm, hardcover, 120 pages, text in English and Italian, preface by writer Ettore Mo) is sell on the best online international libraries.

Kabul, Afghanistan, Dicember 2001
Kabul, Afghanistan February 2002
Tyro, Lebanon, september 2006
Misrata, Libya, October 2011
Sirte, Libya, October 2011
Tripoli, Libya, October 2011
West Bank, September 2003
Afghanistan, November 2009
Kabul, Afghanistan, February 2002
Kabul, Afghanistan, February 2002
Kabul, Afghanistan, November 2001

Q&A with Alfredo Macchi

Photography is…
It is telling a story with an image through ourselves. Photos are full of our emotions and perceptions. I take pictures when I am feeling inside a situation and its environment, getting smells and sounds, and willing to hand emotions to others. In my book War landscapes I have selected images of panorama, without human elements, sounds or pain of one conflict, in order to think in silence at all wars. Photos have to be emblematic and also able to challenge our certainties and prejudices.

Photography and writing…
Words to have the same capacity of pictures must be incisive and evocative. Texts explaining my photos are always short, almost notes not to overwhelm readers. I prefer to have people understand and discover hidden signs of each photo, without too many explanations. But sometimes adding just a few words has a magic effect and give emotions that sum on with the photo’s contents as it happens when you mix the right music to images.

Who left the biggest impression on you?
I have always loved Sebastiao Salgado. His black and white is amazing. His photos are like paintings and strike you for the composition, light, perfection and capability to transfer emotions and points of views that you would never think about. I have seen thousands of photos taken in the same places as Salgado did, but no one of these is not even slightly similar to his pictures. He seems to be an alchemist, transforming his shutter clicks into gold.

Tell us a little about yourself
I live in Rome, I love to travel and I work as a TV special correspondent. I go to war places, especially in The Middle East. When I tell about conflicts I am not interested to what military generals say or to propaganda, but I try to focus on war effects, on the weak and on people that are not able to express their believes. Tv is effective and fast, but very often superficial. A Tv story is always very short and last just a few days. When I finish working, I get my camera and take pictures for me to fix emotions and sensations given by faces or places. Even after many years, each of my photos gives me always new sensations.


Alfredo Macchi (website), 1967, journalist and photographer lives in Rome. He covered many war areas: Kosovo, Afghanistan, Middle East, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, South Sudan and others. He received many awards for his reportages. He has exposed his photo at: La Triennale of Milan, Bel vedere Gallery, Milan, FotoGrafia International Festival of Rome, First International Biennial of Photography Theran, Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, Holland.

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