Sottofondi is a photographic series about the underground stations of Rome. When I started this project I was working for a studio on the other side of the city so I was obligated to spend more than two hours in the undergrounds daily. After few months I realized that I got used to it and I had the feeling that I was wasting my time. So I started watching around me and the first thing I noticed is that in the underground stations is quite hard to look somebody in the eyes. I mean, we’re all there because we need to go from point A to point B. We are all walking in the same direction, and most of what we can see is the back of the people’s head in front of us. So, since I live in symbiosis with my camera, I started taking pictures of them. Of those strangers obligated to spend time in a very artificial space under the ground of the eternal city.
As Antonio Stefanelli told me when I showed him this project: “the underground is the flash memory of a city”. It’s anon-lieu, paradigm of our society based on the optimization, theater of the daily comedy\tragedy\drama of a city. In the underground everything has been built to be just functional, foolproof, childproof, apocalypse proof. You don’t need to connect your brain to you legs when you get in, especially if you are a commuter and you’re used to it.
This project is an invite to look up, to raise your sight and discover that even in the most boring place of the world there could be an epiphany, and even a person seen from behind could express something.
All images © Jacopo Rufo
By Jacopo Rufo