By Physical Presence Alone
Francesco Neri has worked in 8’ x 10’ large format for years, creating portraits and photographs of the environment. In his farmer series, Neri succeeds in his aim to photograph the places that he holds dear, producing images that restore the tradition of the portrait, so rooted in the history of photography, especially in America, not to mention Sander’s lesson. This excellent series of photographs confirms how still today, decades after Pasolini wrote Petrolio, some people are just distinguishable by their “physical presence alone” with absolutely no risk of confusion. Neri’s portraits show us how the bodies of these old farmers and their wives and the poses they assumed in front of the lens, have been shaped by years of hard work on the land and the habits of a lifetime and their relationships. The question that then arises is what will the farmers of tomorrow be like? What will their poses and external appearance be like? But above all, will there still be any farmers to photograph or just people employed in the industrial processing of agricultural land?