POSTCARD

Postcard by Luca Arena

issue #29: remote summer

Caleido tells the travel diary of Luca Arena, nature photographer, in Iceland. Welcome to Caleido, an inspirational diary, that narrates many stories: about creative people, trends, travels, objects. / Read the Editor’s letter here.

Diary of: Luca Arena

Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
1. If you had to select some photographs to paste into your summer diary, called “Remote summer”, what would they be? Thinking back to when you took them, what struck you?

I selected these 10 photos taken in Iceland in August 2022 that are part of my project The lagoon is not pink. Iceland has about 273,000 inhabitants but during the year it comes to welcome, especially in the summer season, almost 2 million tourists. Those are really big numbers and I found it, in general, a bit suffering because there are so many of us and we all want to see it. It made an impression on me to see buses of tourists fording rivers or elderly women walking in slippers and shoe covers in a valley with still active volcanic activity. But I was also able to fill my heart with very strong emotions: I cried at the sight of my first Northern Lights, at every dip in a thermal pool with 40-degree water, and at the sight of a horse suffering from loneliness and doing anything to show off with us. And I am glad that I was able to visit authentic places where 11 inhabitants live and where there is no private property – as we understand it – with gates and prohibitions, where guard dogs are so docile that they will follow you on a 6-kilometer run in the most remote and isolated fjord in Iceland, and where the locals have no problem maintaining Christmas lights even in August, because there is only one big season here and perhaps it is not appropriate to point out to them how we scan our hectic time.

Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
2. If you were now in that precise situation, and you had to send a postcard, to whom would you send it? What message would you write?

I would send it to my longtime friend Sara: an anthropologist and art historian with a vast culture. She has so many passions, including postcrossing, a project that allows people to receive and exchange postcards between strangers all over the world. Her IG is @sara.cyber_postcards! When I travel, quite often, thankfully, I never fail to send her at least one postcard. I always choose the postcard that no one would want to receive, the one that is not very commercial, a bit ugly and out of context but in which I find some meaning! I would write her something like this, “Sara, 11:30 a.m., August 2022. I am entering the city of Akureyri, called the Capital of the North. 19,642 inhabitants at the last census of 2022, but around I have not met a soul. I wonder where everyone is. I am listening to Belle and Sebastian’s latest record and I like it very much. From what I have seen, Iceland is a country where children leave bicycles untied along the road and where a yellow light means ‘slow down’ not ‘speed up.’ Water is everywhere, but it is the only product in supermarkets with the label in English, bottled for tourists. Bye, take care!”

Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
3. What is an object you would never part with (apart from your camera)? What emotions does it arouse in you?

A 1975 Canon model 310 XL Super 8 camera. When my grandfather Dante passed away a few years ago, I happened to find a photograph of him while he was shooting a Super 8 film with that camera… I was thunderstruck! I have been taking it with me on longer trips for a few years now, and each time I am amazed at how you can encapsulate a week or two of travel in a 3’20” film! Between shooting and development-digitization almost always at least 2 months pass, but this slowness and this desire to wait for the result generate a lot of inner calm in me and it is a feeling I love to seek.

Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
Postcard by Luca Arena
Ph. Luca Arena
Postcard by Luca Arena

Luca Arena studied economics and marketing at the Università di Pisa and now devotes himself to travel and photo reportage. Very attached, also because of his color blindness, to the theme of colors and their perception, he loves to photograph urban and suburban contexts isolating them from their surroundings. He has several solo exhibitions and publications to his credit. He prefers large print format, poster-use paper and outdoor exhibition sites, especially if gray and impersonal, to give them a new and vivid importance.

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