A summer in Sicily by Leandro Colantoni shows “the other side of the postcard”
Shot exclusively on iPhone, Leandro's portrait of his home in Sicily is an up close and personal documentation through the eyes of a local.
- Lucy Bourton
- 21 May 2020
Italian photographer Leandro Colantoni can pinpoint the exact moment he became interested in photography. It was while looking at the works of Luigi Ghirri, specifically his Kodachrome works, that began Leandro’s fascination with the medium’s “relationship with everyday life,” he tells It’s Nice That. “From that day I decided to devote myself entirely to photography.”
However purposefully deciding not to follow the usual education route into the medium, but still keen “to deepen my knowledge and to photograph,” Leandro began by building his own curriculum “consulting essays on photography and books by various authors, and to photograph everyday,” he explains. “This is what I continue to do today,” noting greats like the aforementioned Ghirri, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, as well as contemporaries such as Alex Prager and Maria Moldels, as his sort of distant tutors.
Part of Leandro’s self-taught approach of photographing everyday, and wherever possible, also means that his equipment of choice is his iPhone. A camera chosen, “out of necessity,” for it allows the photographer to “have a photographic medium always with me,” it’s a choice which continues his ongoing fascination and study of everyday life. Knowing that this camera is always within arms reach has also influenced Leandro’s approach to shooting, noting how his style is instinctive: “I take everything that attracts my attention without thinking much about it,” he says. “I want to show real, raw images without thinking too much about particular compositions and shots.”
It’s this approach, developed over his unique way of studying and a lot of practice, that means Leandro’s photographs hardly look like they are taken on a mobile phone at all. One particular example of this is Ultimo Paesaggio Sicilano, a series of photographs representing “Sicily, seen be a Sicilian”. Describing the works as representing “the other side of the postcard, the more intimate part, that a tourist would struggle to recognise,” in its up close square format, the series presents a zoomed in yet warm view of his native island.
“Literature and cinema have accustomed us to a still, rural image of Sicily, in some cases negative,” Leandro explains of the series. “Instead, what I want to show with my photos is a more contemporary side, the Sicily of beaches, the summer, the food, the singularity of people, the relationship with the sacred.” Shot exclusively during the summer, the up-close quality of Leandro’s works is so warm in places it’s almost sticky, but the good kind like the stickiness of an ice cream on a sweaty August afternoon. “I think this land and the Siciliians give their best in that season,” the photographer adds on the subject of summer, “everything’s like a big collective party.”
Looking to the future, Leandro hopes to publish a book on this project, and hopes to continue to push this series, “it would be the realisation of my dream,” he adds. Whereas for us non-Sicilians, we just can’t wait to get back there.
GalleryLeandro Colantoni: Ultimo Paesaggio Siciliano
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.