“Italian summer is the season when Italians can express their lightness of being and their love for life.”
Lorenzo Grifantini has lived in London for 10 years. It is this distance from his native Italian culture which has afforded him the means to view it objectively, tracing its patterns with the lens of his camera. “I can finally see my cultural traits spread on the beaches of Italy and that evokes strong childhood memories of the long summers I spent there.”
The coast of Italy, as Grifantini paints it, is vibrant, filled with unselfconscious sunbathers and bright beach parasols. He frames them with comic nonchalance: a woman reads a book, buried in sand up to the neck; another uses a neon pink float ring as a headrest; a young Italian rides past on a bicycle, swinging freshly caught fish in front of the camera. Grifantini has created tableaux depicting the dynamic hum of holidaymakers at their leisure.
Grifantini’s use of color throughout the series is particularly striking. He explains, “In the Italian language we have roughly 40 different names to describe all the gradients of blue… Shooting in color was the only possible option to represent all the shades of this kaleidoscopical environment!”
Italian Summer is luminous and appetizing: there is a sense, not only of the visual pleasure of the environment, but of the ease of the pace there, of the conversations had whilst standing in lapping waves, of the lazy freedom of the coast. It is both slow-paced and energetic. Grifantini suggests an environment free from hierarchy: bellies and wrinkles are as welcome as muscly young moped-riders or kids baked terracotta by the sun.
All images © Lorenzo Grifantini