Guido Castagnoli is an Italian commercial and art photographer. He has a lot of work worth checking out, but I’m particularly interested in his series Tokyo Water Walks, as I am now working on a project on the Han River in Seoul.
Like most of his work, these images feature very warm colors and low contrast, which makes them feel nostalgic. This in combination with the few visual cues found around the rivers he photographs telling us when the images were shot, embue them with a sense of timelessness and suggest scenes from a distant memory or a dream. The photographs show the space around the rivers in contrast to the city. If the city is a reality we are grounded on, these water walks are dreamlike worlds we escape to to find peace and freedom through the mundane activities we engage in these spaces. The fabric of the city is torn and jagged, but also nature feels used and tired. This is not the pristine nature of Ansel Adams or of sumptuous European gardens. This is more of a post-apocalyptic space, or a never ending limbo. A nature that not only went in disrepair, but also forgot how to grow wild after so many years.
I like the idea of these semi-natural or urbanized natural spaces in contrast to the city that surrounds them. They are clearly not the “outdoors” in the wild adventure sense of the word and they are also not the manicured spaces of a nice park. They inhabit their own liminal space between nature and city and fulfill their unglamorous role in a utilitarian way.