Arnaldo Vescovo: Archaeological Tunisia
Regional Surveys

My passion for travel, art, and nature provide the inspiration for my photographic portrayal of the cultural and environmental heritage of Italy, Europe, and the Mediterranean. 

It was this passion and the desire to know new countries and cultures, that led to my extensive travels in Tunisia during the Spring of 2015. As I had studied Classical Studies while attending the university in Rome, I began by exploring the wonderful archaeological remains of Roman towns.  I constantly find myself drawn to these remnants of ancient Roman culture, and feel at home among them. I also seized the opportunity to visit many of Tunisia’s beautiful beaches, natural landscapes, and the masterpieces of Islamic art.

Whenever I travel, I always try to immerse myself in the culture and to interact with the people so that I may come to understand them more profoundly.  I only travel by public transportation, and I try to stay in hotels that don’t cater exclusively to tourists.  Travelling in this way, I came to know the human and cultural reality of Tunisia.

I chose to visit the country in early spring because it is the season of the year when the charm of ancient ruins marries perfectly with the spectacular beauty and colours of nature re-awakening after winter. The temperature was almost always pleasant, and the low height of the sun often provided perfect lighting for the photographic documentation of monuments. 

It is my standard practice to document archaeological sites and architectural monuments with different types of images:

1) General views that frame the monuments in their geographical, natural and environmental context;

2) Traditional front and side views of the sort most requested by architects, archaeologists, and other scholars; 

3) Detail views of significant architectural and sculptural features, always trying to use a grazing light to highlight the skillful work of ancient artists;

4) Photos with people present to convey scale and because I believe that every architecture becomes more “vivid” when it is “left” by people;

5) And finally, the images I most enjoy taking, such as those with an interesting, unusual angle, and shots from below that relate the monument to the blue sky above.

I carefully chose the archaeological sites I wished to document through extensive research before leaving Italy.  This preliminary itinerary was refined and enriched during the course of my journey as my knowledge of the area was deepened, and as a result of conversations with scholars I met on site. I visited all the major Roman archaeological sites in Tunisia, with the sole exception of Mactaris, 140 km Southwest of Tunis. I hope to document that site on a subsequent trip.

My photographs are a representation of continual research, exploration, and experimentation with composition, light and the aesthetics of a photographic shot. Light reveals the contours and textures of architectural spaces, and reveals the depth of a landscape. I contend that photography is as important to the documentation of historical subjects as is any descriptive, analytical, or critical writing; and I am dedicated to revealing the timeless beauty of art masterpieces through the  sensitivity of my approach.

-Arnaldo Vescovo, Spring 2015

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