“Pervading Darkness” by Stefano Gardel: Going into the Depths of Existence

“‘Pervading Darkness’ – the idea behind this project was to explore how everything stems out of the darkness of the depths of existence,” writes Milan, Italy-born, Lugano, Switzerland-based photographer (and chiropractor) Stefano Gardel. “Not only that is where everything comes from, but anything must be connected to it to exist at all. That’s why I used the term pervading, to give the sensation that this darkness is all around us, within us. We are like plants whose roots are in the dark.”

In this series, Stefano shows streets, shops, bars, barbers, lonely individuals – all and everyone engulfed by thick and heavy black, a colour that means both danger and mystery, a phenomenon that is as tranquilising as it is terrifying.

Stefano, who excels at shooting hectic cities and deserted landscapes, is driven by a line from Andy Warhol: “I never read, I just look at pictures”. He writes on his creativity: “I think that most of my photography is kind of gloomy and dramatic, sometimes surreal. I never shoot with the intent of documenting or faithfully representing reality. I think my style of photography is art based. I see it as a personal exploration of the sensations and feelings I may be experiencing and then finding around me what resonates with it, and capturing it in a way that ultimately reflects that feeling.

“I think art is a great tool for knowing and exploring yourself, it moves your attention inward, and that by itself is already therapeutic. Especially now that we are bombarded by many different stimuli that keep us on the surface of things, to sink deep and get closer to that creativity can be of great relief. My advice is – find that thing in life that makes you do this systematically, so that art becomes a necessity rather than something just ornamental.”

Having always been attracted to music and some other forms of art, Stefano discovered photography only recently as a means to express his creative side. He has quickly attracted the interest of top art galleries worldwide to represent and promote his work, with exhibitions being arranged in Tokyo, Rome and New York. He won the First Prize under the Life Framer Award in 2017. You can find many of his works across outlets like Fubiz, Ignant, C 41 Magazine, Juxtapoz Magazine and Creative Boom.

Currently, Stefano is working on three projects based on recent trips – to Iceland, the Boneville Salt Flats in Utah and the London Underground.