Italian photographer Federico Busonero presented the “vanishing land” of Palestine from a collection in his published book The Land That Remains in a lecture Monday.
On a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization assignment, Busonero spent seven months in Palestine from 2008-09, where he recorded what he said was “what was left of Palestine.”
According to Busonero, UNESCO feared that centuries of civilization were on the brink of vanishing in the midst of the military conflict in Palestine — history that Busonero said was “largely unseen and unspoken.”
“I wanted to give a voice to the heritage of this land,” he said of his mission there.
Busonero hoped to capture the permanence and the fragility of Palestine, creating the book to “preserve the memory of Palestine.”
Busonero presented a slideshow of select images from the book. These photographs — captured on traditional film — included a tomb, a desert oasis and a view of Bethlehem, among others.
Prof. Emeritus Neil Hertz, English, who introduced Busonero, said he admired the unusual lighting and washed-out colors of Busonero’s work, labeling them a “different kind of landscape photography.”
According to Busonero, he does not crop or photoshop his images, and always waits for the ideal natural light. He often first visits a location without his camera to gain a full experience.
“I need to photograph one moment, one light and that’s it,” he said. “Photography is light, and the light is a revelation which gives us the moment.”
Only two images actually contain human subjects, since Busonero sought to focus on the land itself to preserve its timelessness.
“It’s a kind of archaeology in the present,” he said. “The past in the present, the present in the past.”
He also said he had no ambition to change the situation in Palestine, and his work solely represents an “elegy for a land which is vanishing,” he said.
“Photographs are there to witness,” he said. “I don’t see them as political. They are fact.”