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Photographer's Showcase: Soul Steps from Luigi Fieni

Soul Steps I.03 -- Luigi Fieni
photo-eye is happy to present a new body of work from Photographer's Showcase artist Luigi Fieni titled Soul Steps.

Like his other portfolio on the Showcase, The Room of 1000 Demons, Fieni's photographs take us to the Mustang region of Nepal. The remote former kingdom is located high in the Himalayas north of the Annapurna range and was closed to outsiders until 1991; to this day tourism is restricted to around 1000 per year. Today Mustang is often associated with its religious art, which is what brought Fieni to the region in the first place. A conservator with a special skill in reproducing a variety of painting techniques, Fieni has spent years working to restore and protect the rich cultural artifacts of the area in a program that simultaneously trains artists from the region in the art and science of conservation, giving them the tools to restore their heritage themselves.

Soul Steps I.04 -- Luigi Fieni
Fieni's conservation work has given him a unique perspective on this region. His photographs reveal his painterly mindset perhaps most directly in The Room of 1000 Demons series where the motion lines in his images create direct analogies to brush strokes, but Soul Steps is a series shot with a similar sensibility. It is a way of seeing a place through a deep knowledge of an area, an understanding of the culture and reverence for its beauty, but also with the gaze of an outsider.  

Soul Steps I.08 -- Luigi Fieni
Mustang is not an easy place to get to know, particularly for those of us outside the region. Fieni shares with us a view that very few get to see. These images of the mountains around Damodar Kunda, a place of spiritual pilgrimage for Buddhist and Hindus, show an impressively stunning landscape, though at times Fieni's images may seem abstract. Filling the frame completely, without the grounding sight of horizon or sky, the velvety amber-colored slopes and blue-grey shadowed valleys are difficult to perceive in scale. They seem at once impossibly massive, but curiously small, the stuff of dreams. It is no surprise that this unique landscape in the rain shadow of the Himalayas is a sacred place. Fieni, too, is a pilgrim. The inspiration he draws from the landscape is visible in his images, and he shares his experience in the poem that opens his statement. The first few lines read:
The journey my destination, the nature my sanctuary.

Kneeling to the shrine my invocation fades as the last word of a prayer lasted for the whole pilgrimage.

The body weakens as my soul gets stronger.

The sound of my steps echoes in my soul as the path crosses with my prayers...
Soul Steps I.12 -- Luigi Fieni
See Luigi Fieni's portfolios on the Photographer's Showcase

For more information on Luigi Fieni's photographs, please contact Anne Kelly at photo-eye Gallery by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202