For Postcards from Camping Italia, Florence-based photographer Federica Di Giovanni captures a community of summer vacationers living in mobile houses, bungalows, and tents along the beaches of Versilia, Tuscany.
The project arose, explains the artist, from an inescapable urge to document and understand her country in a time of economic crisis during the summers of 2009 and 2010. She happened across the campers of Torre del Lago almost by accident while she herself was staying in a nearby bungalow, and what she discovered was a slice of modern Italian living that had not yet been explored.
The campers, says Di Giovanni, are almost all Italian families who choose to spend most of the warmer months in nature and near the water. What surprised and ultimately compelled her to photograph the scene was the fact that although the impulse to vacation here sprung from some primal urge to be reunited with the land, the community was structured very much like any other city quarter, the tents outfitted with modern amenities like internet, television, and heavy duty bug spray. After their days outside, vacationers would return to the comforts of home, taking in the wilderness only in small doses.
Di Giovanni noticed that unlike our nomadic ancestors of yesteryear, these campers rely on a collection of gizmos and gadgets in order to ensure a comfortable life. No matter how much they attempted to escape from the stress and modernity of daily life, they brought with them and were weighed down by almost all of their material belongings. As a neighbor to these families, the photographer has almost unrestricted access to the camp site, but often she preferred to linger in the doorways. Ultimately, she concludes that camping, like most everything, has become less and less about solitude and natural living and more about community, convenience, and the company of others. “I realized that camping was more like living in a huge condominium without doors,” writes the artist.
All photos featured in this post can be found on Offset, a new curated collection of high-end commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Offset is a category partner on Feature Shoot.