The transformation of the Alps in 274 photos

A new photographic campaign captures the Italian Alpine valleys and how they have changed.

A sequence of 274 shots, the result of a photographic campaign conducted along the Italian Alpine valleys, from the French to the Slovenian border: it is Attraverso le Alpi (Across the Alps), the photographic story of the transformations of the mountain landscape, wanted by the AAA (Architects Alpine Arc) Association and realized by the Urban Reports collective, with the aim of reading, isolating, composing and recomposing the everyday life of the landscapes of the ‘high lands’.

A narration that describes ten provincial territories involved and thoroughly investigated, thousands of kilometres of trails, twelve valleys, mainly secondary, with the sole intention of retracing the history of the vast cultural landscape – made up of signs and architecture – and with it the traces of abandonment and degradation or, in the opposite direction, examples of contemporary re-appropriation.

Crossing the Alps is the second project of the AAA Association, which in 2016-17 launched the Alpine Arc Architecture Review contest, in which as many as 246 realized projects took part, in order to give, through architecture, a reading and interpretation of Alpine landscapes. This new photographic project, according to Alberto Winterle, president of the AAA Association, “promotes a further level of reading and intends to observe the normal ways of using and exploiting the territories that bear witness to the dialectical and evolutionary relationship between man and the environment in which he lives.”

Across the Alps, Resources, Belluno. Photo Davide Curatola

From a common heritage, the mountain has become a product and the territories an economic value. The forms of living have changed, this is the first part of the story, moving with the residences in the lower-middle valley, leaving depopulated communities and abandoned properties. The second chapter is, instead, dedicated to resources and production, in which the images amplify the signs of a time that exploited local resources and shaped the territory: it made it fertile and productive, built pipelines and plants and dug stone and extracted metals, leaving behind empty casings, abandoned quarries or examples of industrial archaeology. The third and last chapter concerns the mechanisms, micro and macro infrastructures that have made possible the coexistence between man and the mountains.

Urban Reports is a collective of documentary photographers and independent researchers working on architecture and landscape. Formed by photographers and researchers with a common background in architecture, based in different European cities, Urban Reports proposes the use of photography as a visual tool to investigate and explore contemporary landscapes.

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