Nicolò Sertorio / Once we were here 2013- 2015
Nicolò Sertorio | Iconic Landscapes: Once We Were Here[2013-2015]
Written by Drazenka Jalsic Ernecic
Nicolò Sertorio is the embodiment of fine art landscape photography. The breathtaking photographs of the American South West reveal all the enchanting places and spaces, emanating a sense of warmth and peace. His images are pure and their essence remains untainted by the camera’s presence. Sertorio, more than any of his contemporaries, has embraced the spirit of Edward Steichen, Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston. With elements of genius and wit of the beat generation and an amazingly confident eye, Nicolò captures eternal moments.
He is guided, above all, by passion, romantic prospects and sensual approach to the land and wilderness by the power to see, hear, taste, touch and feels. It is just like Jack Kerouac in the middle of the 20th century when he wrote his novel ‘On the Road’, but also the introduction to Robert Frank’s photo book ‘The Americans’. Since Robert Frank’s book was first published in 1959, most of the American photographers
have been captured, at least once in their lifetime, in tremendous moments and took photographs as they traveled on the roads across the country. Sertorio did that more than once, and with his road maps, he seeks the truth of the matter all over the World.
One might say that the ‘Once We Were Here’ images have significant power, and there is more than just one way Sertorio could use them for good. When he is on the road, it is very empowering for him. He is well aware of his own strengths, just as importantly, he can also see his own weaknesses, pushing himself to work harder. Moreover, it is on the road where he finds the way to becoming the best version of himself. It is thought to be a great way of self-help or self-improvement, but also of connecting with his energetic, passionate, and sensitive state of mind. Nicolò Sertorio seeks different paths in which he can make a difference in the society that surrounds him as an artist. This approach makes him a warrior because it is almost common knowledge that ’The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse’[Carlos Castaneda:1968] With his fine art iconic landscapes Sertorio gathers up his art lovers and inspires, encourages and helps them to make a difference.
The ‘Once We Were Here’ images of American photographer Nicolò Sertorio are like a visual diary or photographic journal that seeks a strong subjective sensation of his deep, personal and meditative state of mind. Sertorio is expanding landscapes of his meditative images of the American Southwest to uphold the value of the photographic image as an artefact and as a universal means of communication far into the future. His photography conveys agility, mystery, genius, sadness, loneliness, and strong secrecy of the photographed places and spaces that have never been seen in that way before. Speaking of the paths, almost every major pictorial or modern style and iconographical concern is determinated by the fine art iconic landscape photography. Basically, in ‘Once We Were Here’ Nicolò Sertorio blurred the boundaries between photography and painting, and identified his photography with the practices of the next generation of the Post-Modern and Conceptual Art by making explicit social and environmental opacity of the photographic medium. Ergo, his work is based on a strong point of view, recently recognized by the global museum community, that cultural landscapes were fixed as a concept and method because they reflected images and values that are eternal.
Sertorio’s approach to the landscapes was derived from the formal composition, harmony and rhythm found in the European history of art, especially in a period of the German Romanticism, with a low horizon and almost symmetrical, peaceful and open empty sky with the intense feeling that something important is just about to begin. Nicolò Sertorio invokes that particular feeling known as ‘A Yaqui Way of Knowledge’ from Carlos Castaneda’s book ‘The Teaching of Don Juan’ which enables him to describe his journey on the empty roads and highways of the American Southwest with this quote: – A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war: wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it might never live to regret
it.[Carlos Castaneda:1968] or my own paraphrase: A man goes to take the open road and search the fine art iconic landscape photography as he goes to war: wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Searching for the perfect photography of the cultural landscape or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it might never live to regret it.
Nicolò Sertorio shows us unforgettable iconic landscapes and there is something about the way he captures perfect simplicity. There is something about the way that Sertorio shows his excitement of processing and taking pictures. It is a way of life, smooth breathing or connecting unified field of consciousness influences all of us. There is strength in his romantic wisdom and perfect peace in his heart. A dear friend has recently told me, that his Croatian trip is a divine intervention that guides him and accelerates his artistic and spiritual ascent to the next stage of his evolution through this incredible experience. And it is the path and the journey that once again have a heart, just like Carlos Castaneda teaching us: – All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.[Carlos Castaneda:1968] Sertorio might be
reminding us yet again that ‘Once We Were Here’ as well. The rest of it will be the history of fine art photography.
Nicolò Sertorio (1968) is an artist based in Oakland (California), but original from Italy. Therefore, he grew up influenced by both European and American cultures. He also came from families with a long tradition of
academia, arts, and science.
This multicultural and scientific upbringing
influenced him to be both analytical and explorative. Having traveled extensively and lived in many countries from an early age has left him with a unique combination of European sensibility and complex, and at times conflicting, world views.
Nicolò Sertorio is a fine art and commercial photographer based in the Bay Area in California. He earned a BA degree in International Business from the
University of Dublin, Ireland, and an MBA in Economia e Commercio from the
Università Degli Studi di Torino, Italy. Born in Princeton (USA), his parents were
both university professors, later moving to Turin, Italy, where he grew up. Later
they moved to Switzerland for eight years, then finally to California, where he
worked for 10 years at HP as a solution strategist for the digital imaging group
before leaving to start his own photography practice. In between, he lived in
Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, India, France and Germany, and his work
reflects this set of diverse aesthetic and cultural influences. He is president
of the Northern California chapter of ASMP. His work has won numerous awards, including Critical Mass finalist, Prix de la Photo Paris, International Loupe Award, PDN Photo of the Day, American Photography 30, The Center
for Fine Art Photography “Portfolio Show Case 6,” Blurb “Photography Book Now,” Foto Week DC International Awards, among others. Among the publications that have featured his work are Fraction Magazine, Lens Culture, Art Magazin Kontura (Croatia), Domus Magazine, AD Week, Double Takes and Time Magazine.
Nicolò’s artistic language is made of direct, well-composed and honest sentences that are expressed with a juxtaposition of objectiveness and beauty. Focusing on sense of place, identity, who we are both internally and externally; the resulting statements portray a visual landscape for the viewer
to enter, raising a question to be answered.
Through attention on the perfection of the work (technique, composition, color, balance, light), the viewer is asked to focus on the essence of the subject matter. This certain subtleness to the work asks for time with the images, listening and absorbing the whispered message.