Elio Gargiulo was born in Pompeii (Naples), a place steeped in art, beauty and extraordinary memories of the past.
This place has had a long-lasting impact on his personal development.
In his youth he made his first approaches to photography, using a Canon SLR and then exploring his images with the camera obscura. It is in this silent intimacy with his captured images that he discovers for the first time the fascina-tion of an idea that emerges from the darkness. This experience leaves a lasting impression.
After his classical studies he completed his architectural training and graduated in 1975.
Then came years of following his profession intensely and with the enthusiasm of one who throws himself whole-heartedly into his work. He always used the most modern means of digital technology with creativity and intuition, even in the most classical professional issues. Photography however remains as a companion over the years, through which to look at the world, experiment and research. Each experience helps to enrich his experience as a photographer and his life.
With increased maturity and experience he discovers light painting techniques and starts to empathize with these. Brushstrokes of light extract from the darkness composed objects, making everything come to life and take shape. The artistic gesture that brings light is neither unconscious nor casual,. The images coming from it leave him with a sense of wonder.
Photography is for him a means of seeing and getting to know reality through the lens: simple things and everyday objects, illuminated by light, take on a new dignity.
Silent life is his favorite subject. It is interpreted in a hyper-realistic way, though not free from seventeenth-century reminiscences. The theme of Beauty and Life is still confronted with ancient memories.
The images are built within compositional schemes that echo the seventeenth-century, sober and auster bodegones of Juan Sánchez Cotán. The arranged scenes are illuminated with an intuitive management of light.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT: From Darkness to Light
As an architect I have always been used to living with the anxieties and anxieties of those who pursue the realization of an idea, each time being “the first time” and starting from continuous and incessant attempts to harmonize the various involvements that crowd it.
It is a continual change of angles and perspectives in an attempt to give concrete form to that inspiring Idea and to bring it to the Light by snatching it from the darkness.
Lacerations of the soul that belong to the becoming of all the processes that have to do with creation, which must extract concrete objects inspired by an idea from the depths of the Dark and the Nothing.
It is precisely with this attitude, formed by years of work, that I have reoriented for some time my way of photographing, always attracted by architecture, landscapes and faces.
The theme of the Dark and the Light, of the Nothing and of Creation, is concretely experienced within the recent shooting experiences in which the idea determines – in the full light – the organization of the objects that populate the image, articulating them perfectly the composition and the balance.
Then, the Dark resumes its supremacy and the images disappear from view.
It is dark. And nothing more lives except in the memory of those who have composed the initial picture with love and passion. It is at this point that thin blades of light start to brush small parts of the objects, ripping them out of the dark, caresses of light re-elaborate those objects little by little, complying with the inspiring idea: with anxiety and restlessness.
The gesture that brings light is neither unconscious nor casual while the images that arise from it leave a sense of wonder and beauty inspired by the sober and austere bodegones of Juan Sánchez Cotán.
Gradually, in the dark and in the uneasy reconstruction of an emotional mental map, the image thought and loved begins to arise in the mind. Little by little, the brush is oriented up to compose the reworked image, in a certainly not short time.
And so, the light takes the creative space with force, enhancing in a new dimension what it was before but receiving new meanings and new emotions.
This approach has flowed into the photographic project “From the Dark to the Light” which includes still lifes in which simple things and everyday objects take on a new dignity.
This creative dimension has conquered an additional field of experimentation: the reinterpretation of the wall frescoes present in the Vesuvian cities of Oplontis, Ercolano and Stabiae.
The xenas, anticipators of several centuries of the still lifes that will be produced later, represent real still life in pectore with animals and fruit composed in paintings: from the simple representation of that era to the current reworking that takes into account centuries of different ways to see reality.