ISPA WINNERS 2023
Michele Borzoni & Rocco Rorandelli
WE - COMMUNITIES IN DEFENSE OF THE ENVIRONMENT
“We stand now where two roads diverge. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”
It was 1962 when Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring, in which she publicly denounced the impact of insecticides on natural ecosystems and the risk of a tomorrow without the sounds of nature. More than sixty years have passed amid progress and growing alarm, and more than ever we are at “a fork of the road,” where we need to make a choice.
In our country, there are communities of individuals who work every day with passion and determination to safeguard our world, opting for a different path through their own choices. We are talking about families, groups and communities whose members believe that there is a different present and they promote sustainable living practices, in which the power of change lies in the relationships between individuals. This is a human ecosystem that tries to make what Indian writer and anthropologist Amitav Ghosh calls “collective decisions”.
The “WE” project is a portrait of this network: it is made up of people who share the belief that a better future starts with collective choices and decisions.
With the support of the ISPA Grant, two photographers, Michele Borzoni and Rocco Rorandelli, traveled all over Italy during the course of 2023 in order to tell some of these stories. They chronicle the widespread community of citizens and farmers who are defending the country’s hillsides with agroecology projects, the families who have decided to send their children to school in the woods, the energy communities scattered all over country, and the citizens who join together to bring burned forests back to life. But that’s not all: there are also the germplasm bank volunteers, the young people who discuss social issues at Climate Camps, and the network of national scientists who are trying to study the effects of climate change more effectively.
These experiences, which are spread all over Italy, are united in their awareness of the need to act together, to tell stories and to educate, and to provide a positive model, a form of grassroots activism that becomes a tool for the growth of our society.
Michele Borzoni and Rocco Rorandelli are among the founding members of TerraProject, an Italian collective of documentary photographers established in 2006.
Michele Borzoni was born in 1979 in Florence, Italy. He graduated in 2006 from the International Center of Photography in New York in the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program. In 2010, he won the First Prize in the Single News People category of the World Press Photo Award, and in 2012, he was selected by Photo District News as one of the "30 emerging new photographers to watch.” In 2019, he won the Gabriele Basilico Award for the project "Workforce".
Rocco Rorandelli was born in 1973 in Florence, Italy. Graduated in Natural Sciences, he has been working as a professional documentary photographer since 2006, specializing in social, geopolitical, and environmental issues. He has received various grants and awards, including the Fund for Investigative Journalism (2011) for his long-term investigation into the global tobacco industry, published as the book "Bitter Leaves" (GOST Books, 2019).