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TIMES PAST

Photography and image captions by Simone Batini

Introduction by Karin Svadlenak-Gomez



Simone Batini is a landscape and documentary photographer based in the Tuscany region of Italy. One of his long-term photo projects is to capture the traditional trades and crafts that used to be commonplace in the region, that are being replaced by industry and social changes.

 

The series of photographs titled "Tempi Passati" (Times Past) was born from my idea of ​​telling the artisan working realities still present in my territory. The photos for this series, on which I am still working, were taken in the Tuscany region of Italy, in the province of Lucca in Garfagnana, Middle Valle del Serchio, Alta Versilia and surrounding areas. I chose to work the images in colour, combining the search for a good light and an atmospheric situation, because I wanted to convey a sense of actuality. In fact even today these old artisans are active in their tiring and exciting activities with the help of some young people. In the series there are portraits both on the workmanship and on the place and workshops where they spend their days. I photographed an ancient ironworks, where an elderly blacksmith is helped by his young nephew, old farmers and artisans in general who have experience. They take care of their tools and animals. The ancient crafts have been handed down for generations with the hope that they will never be lost and forgotten. The purpose of my photographic series is above all this: to ensure they are not forgotten...



LEFT: Raffaella, an elderly Tuscan woman, stokes the fire in an ancient fireplace. She works with great passion at the Chestnut Museum in Colognora Pescaglia (Lu), Tuscany, where to this day it is customary to cook in large iron vessels, to provide hot food and at the same time heat the room. RIGHT: In an ancient pantry inside the Chestnut Museum located in Colognora Pescaglia (Lu) Tuscany Italy, Raffaella prepares for the use of the old equipment that was used in the processing and maintenance of meat, which in the past was mostly dried so as to last longer.



ABOVE: Ferriera Galgani, an ancient blacksmith workshop, located in the Tuscany region in the municipality of Pescaglia. Carlo and his young nephew work the iron every day, they shape it to their liking, the environment around them is dark the walls are black from the smoke and fumes that ignited coal releases. This is an environment rich in history and full of passion for old crafts. There is a historic hammer operated by the force of water, the smiths beat the red-hot iron on the anvils, the thud of the hammer is almost deafening, and there is the sparkle and glow of hot iron. All that make this place magical and unique for those who visit it.



ABOVE: In the ancient workshop of a carpenter / turner located inside the Chestnut Museum located in Colognora Pescaglia (Lu) Tuscany Italy, Angelo Frati is working on an ancient lathe powered by a foot pedal, around him all the tools that are used for woodworking and a warm light filters through the window that seems auspicious.


ABOVE: In this small barn located in the Chestnut Museum in Colognora Pescaglia (Lu) Tuscany Italy Roberto Frati sits repairing a wooden sieve with metal mesh that serves to sift flour, in this small and intimate setting where time seems to have stood still.


ABOVE: An elderly farmer takes a break in his cellar, after having been in the field to see his harvest, a glass of good wine that warms and cheers the spirit and then back to work.


ABOVE: The chestnut grower Fazzi Goffredo near his metato (a small building built in stone made to dry chestnuts) with the Arbuolo fans, with the dried chestnuts in the metato after the practice of cleaning on the stump, to separate the peel from the fruit that will be ground into chestnut flour.



ABOVE: From an ancient window filters the warm light that illuminates Gianfranco's stable, he dedicates his time to take care of his animal friends and cultivates the typical products of the Apuan Alps (Tuscany). These include various vegetables and especially the potatoes. After all the hard work, a few smoke breaks are allowed. The stable offers interesting detail views, such as dried onions or a defunct umbrella hanging on the wall.






All photos © Simone Batini

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You can also read an interview with Simone HERE on the website where he discusses more about his passion for photography and about his inspirations.