Unless noted, all images ©Renato Rampolla
This is Dek Unu Magazine. In Esperanto, dek unu means "eleven." Eleven images from a single artist. Eleven artists in eleven solo issues each year.
Dek Unu publishes the work of a new photoartist in each issue. The artist's work and words are featured alone and in individual focus as the sole purpose for each issue of the magazine. Unlike other arts and letters magazines which might look for work from a variety of artists to support an editorial staff's theme, at Dek Unu, theme and imagery are always each artist's own.
Since February 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has separated photographers like Renato Rampolla from essential human contact. Empty boulevards are interesting, at first, for their novelty; but documentary photography needs its people more than it needs scenes of blacktop and fire escapes. And portraits of nothing but eyes above an N95 mask do not make very compelling art, either. In the UK, the National Portrait Gallery, like many other venues that have closed due to the plague, has launched a "community project," encouraging photographers of all abilities to submit portraits that capture "the spirit, mood, hopes, fears, and feelings of the nation as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak." Renato Rampolla has done exactly that.
Using the lockdown and its enforced solitude, he has re-examined work from his own archive of images, including many portraits of the homeless, people who were already vulnerable before Covid made life in the street even worse. Diving into his catalog, Rampolla combines and re-shapes past work to draw new emotional meaning from the originals... and, in the process, he creates new portraits born of a deep look at himself, his art, and the raw emotion that it touches. Introspection.
Unlike some collage art, in which a complication of images is meant to substitute for solid image-making in any one of the component images, Rampolla's catalog shows extraordinary command of the camera and the computer. Like other extraordinary artists, his command of the craft is married to an understanding of the synergy between image and viewer and his untitled images speak volumes to those who are ready to hear.