ISPA WINNERS 2021
Jean-Marc Caimi e Valentina Piccinni
THIS LAND IS MY LAND: IN THE SEARCH OF THE SUPER OLIVE TREE
For the past seven years in Apulia, Xylella Fastidiosa has caused Olive Quick Decline Syndrome, an insect-transmitted plant epidemic that rapidly kills trees. Climate change and have weakened natural resilience and now 22 million olive trees are at risk with the epidemic rapidly moving northwards and threatening the rest of Europe. Thousands of farmers have lost their life's work and the entire economy of a region based primarily on olive oil production is collapsing, with devastating repercussions on the landscape and the unique human and cultural heritage. Where once it was possible to enjoy expanses of olive trees as far as the eye could see, today all that remains is a barren and battered land with the skeletons of trees. The origin of the epidemic isn’t clear and, despite the efforts of the scientific community, a solution to stop it has not yet been found. Agronomists have, however, recently conducted a series of experiments with specially prepared shoots of Xylella-resistant wild olive trees being grafted onto more productive varieties. These "salvation shoots" are identified and hand-picked directly by farmers in fields that have been devastated by Xylella. The aim of the research is to create an immune “super-tree” while maintaining the uniqueness and characteristics of a local olive variety. The ultimate success of these tests should rule out the solution of a mass replanting of globalised olive trees, such as Leccino or FS17, which would lead to the cancellation of all local specificities and biodiversity. These are crucial factors for the sustainability of the olive oil sector in the near future.
Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni work together on contemporary stories. Their personal involvement and unfiltered approach to documentary photography, with a focus on human interest, has received international recognition. Their work is regularly published in international publications, including M - Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Politico, The Guardian, GEO, L'Espresso, Internazionale, D di Repubblica, Io Donna and Wired. They have received several prestigious awards such as the Sony World Photography Award in the "Discovery" category, the Gomma Grant for best black and white documentary work, the PHmuseum Of Humanity 2020 Grant and many others. Six of their projects have been published in book form over the past five years and exhibited at international festivals and galleries. With their latest book, "Güle Güle", which was published by André Frère Éditions, they were finalists for the Prix du livre d'auteur d'Arles 2020 and the Prix Nadar. This year they were also among the winners of the RESET Sistema Festival prize and the Planches Contact artist residency.