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Photography graduate wins Graziadei Prize with underwater collection

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Published date 29 October 2013

© Luca Spano

London College of Communication graduate, and Mead Fellowship 2013 winner Luca Spano has gone on to win the  Graziadei Law Firm Award for Photography at Rome International Festival .

Luca, who graduated in MA Photography (2012) won with his project ‘Blood Shift’ which will be exhibited at MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome during the XII edition of Photography – International Festival of Rome until 1 December 2013. He explains:

“The project Blood shift wants to explore the underwater landscape of my native island Sardinia, using the boundary created by the lack of visibility in deep water, as a reflection on the concept of photographic representation.


© Luca Spano

The research addresses marine sweeps that conceal images that our eyes cannot see, where the photographic medium can’t sketch sharp outlines, leaving space for the uncertainty of the emptiness. The project focuses on this gap where the void left by the photographic inability to portray its subject is filled by the act of subjective interpretation.

On an intimate level this body of work also deals with the connection between the single person and the existential matter of human knowledge, where the void beyond the water’s horizon of an island becomes a reflection on our relationship with the knowable.”


© Luca Spano

Luca explains his method of taking photographs underwater:

“I have developed the project using apnoea technique, therefore just holding my breath. This discipline allows me to feel the intense sensations of the deep water directly on my body.

The visual research was carried on through a subtractive approach, which leads the images to be extremely minimal, leaving the idea of infinity as main subjects.


© Luca Spano

The title Blood Shift originates from the name of a physical response to water pressure by the human body. When the body is immersed, it will contract the blood vessels of the arms and legs, reducing the total volume of blood vessels in the body. Therefore, a greater proportion of blood volume will remain in the torso.

The blood is a liquid matter and therefore it cannot be compressed. This is why this natural response helps protect internal organs from water pressure, reinforcing only the upper body.”

Read more about Luca’s work

Read more about MA Photography at London College of Communication

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