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Unmissable objects

On the morning of 27 September, I was walking around my neighbourhood in Rome, and within a few hundred steps I came across some rather improbable, and therefore unmissable, objects, one after the other: a pair of hiking boots abandoned on the steps leading to the colonnade of St. Peter’s, a ladder chained to a portcullis, a woman’s shoe on a traffic island, and two slippers and a book, neatly arranged on a low wall.

After having taken some of the images that make up this collection, I wondered for what strange coincidence, on that very day, someone, or more than one probably, had left those things around the city, it seemed as if on purpose. Or perhaps instead it was my eye that for some unknown reason had been more receptive than usual to the small, infinitesimal oddities that fill with mystery, for those who know how to look, a city otherwise rather flat, and on principle inattentive.

The images of that day, together with others on a similar theme collected in the work I am presenting here, have in common that they do not tell a story, but only hint at it, and no one will ever know these stories, least of all the photographer, but only reinvent them with the fallacious weapons of imagination and supposition; and let each observer draw his own story from this sense of mystery and indefiniteness, as he knows and as he can.

Or perhaps none at all, content to oscillate between the mounting disorder and the still Austro-Hungarian order of Commissioner Bartosek’s “It’s funny this opinion (…) that the police and investigators deal with mysterious things. We don’t care about mysteries; we care about unseemly things. A crime, sir, does not interest us because it is mysterious; we are interested in it because it is forbidden.” (Karel Capek, Footprints, in ‘Tales from One Pocket and the Other’ p. 148 ed.Bompiani 1962).

The box on the marble. Rome, Largo dei Lombardi, April 17th 2023.
Break. Rome, Via Giulia, July 12th 2023.
Waiting under the steps. Rome, Via di Tor di Nona, July 27th 2023.
Wreckages. Rome, Piazza del Sant’Uffizio, September 27th 2023.
Tramp’s dream. Rome, Via Gregorio VII, September 27th 2023.
Small captive ladder. Rome, Via dell’Argilla, September 27th 2023.
I swear I didn’t put it there to take the photo! Rome, Via Gregorio VII, September 27th 2023.
The beer drinker’s order. Rome, Piazza Giovanni Agnelli, October 9th 2023.
Window, broom and drying rack. Rome, Via Francesco Pallavicini, October 11th 2023.
The Cardinal’s Chair. Rome, Via dei Corridori, October 2nd 2023.
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Pietro Coppa

Nato e vissuto a Roma, fotografo per antica passione.

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