The rural Maremma

In the immediate post war period, following the forced closure of the activity during the foreign occupation, the photographic activity of the Gori’s resumed with renewed strength having to document events of great importance, such as the documentation of the Land Reclaim and the Agricultural Reform.
From 1948 to the middle of the Fifty’s The Gori Studio was able to produce wide ranging reportages commissioned by the same Authorities, the Ente Maremma, the Opera Nazionale Combattenti, the Consorzio Bonifica Osa Albegna.
 
A well thought-out  photographic mapping of the territory was initiated following a regulation that forced the local offices of the Ente Maremma to photographically document all the works, and the institution of a photographic library ordered by volumes subdivided in local settlements.  
 
The images of the Gori Brothers allow us to understand the Agricultural reality of the Grosseto Maremma in the years of the Rural Reform, and from then to the great economical changes of the Sixtys.
These reportages can still be considered of a social cut, and have been many times retrieved by the present publishers, like the rural life and the shepherds life.
The subjects that keep turning up are the “butteri”, the herds of horses, the flocks of sheep, the fords, the swamps and the hunting, but also the daily life of the locals , the farming work in the fields and on the  estates.
In those photographs the protagonist is not only what you can see in the foreground: the man, the beast, the machine; but also what looses itself in the horizon: The Maremma of over fifty years ago a rural landscape of which the eye cant grasp the boundary, in control of everything and everyone, with huge swamps and vast areas of unfarmed land that outline the “butteri” on horseback, flocs of sheep grazing, free range cattle, rodeos, cattle branding.
Starting from the reportages shoot in the early Fifties, a change in the interest of the photographer can be detected: in many images of that period the men ,the machines, the animals picked in the moment of intense and rewarding work, although appearing to be far from having achieved their job, take up a noticeable centrality. The eye of the photographer is no longer documenting the Maremma of the past, but  
its transformation, not only in a hydraulic sense, but also territorial, housing, social and cultural in a process that implicates the environment, but firstly determines a deep change in the cultural and social field of the people committed to that change.
 
The farming activities of large holdings, consortiums and small farms are all accurately selected: the pressing of the olives, the spraying of the olive trees, the seed selection, the irrigation trials with tractors, the broad farming of tobacco and cotton in the San Carlo Estate, with a large use of female and underage labour; of the grape picking on the ONC Alberese farm the photographs reproduce all the stages : from the picking to the transport of the grapes, the bottling, the cellars.
 
The names of the  farms and of the families that own them are the same as a century before, and maybe more: to mention some: the Ricasoli, the Rosselli del Turco, Pierazzi, Gorarella, Gabella Sabatina, Vetricella, Galere, ONC of Alberese. And also the photos that show the farmyards and the sober interiors of the farmhouses, with the families gathered around the fire, doing the laundry or feeding the animals, the cellars, groups or farmhands doing their work could be situations recorded at the end of the previous century.
Yet looking through the hundreds of pictures, all of a sudden modern ploughs show up, mechanical harvesters, motorised beaters and tractors; and replacing the traditional mud and straw huts of the shepherds crop up the modern buildings of the estates and the farms around Rispescia and Civitella Paganico.
 
In a process of slow osmosis that pushes closer the world of the farm and that of the town, slowly also the pace of the rural life is  transformed. Not only the machinery changes, but also the clothing of the farmers, the façade of the houses, their interiors, the scenery that outlines the work of men.

Alberese, 1952

Alberese, 1952

Rispescia Enaoli, 1956

Rispescia Enaoli, 1956

Grafica: Margherita Cardoso - Traduzioni: Vittoria Vivarelli Colonna e Cecilia Grilli - Realizzazione: Stefano Guerrini lgsg.it: Siti Internet Grosseto

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