Project Detail: Vajont


Reportage and Documentary 2019




Simone Petitjacques


Project Info


- The Utopia of a soulless village -

The earthquakes that took place in Italy in 2009, 2012, 2015 have draw attention over the theme of (the) new settlements - “new towns” - built after a catastrophic event alongside the interrogative over their real capacity of becoming places of identity and bonds over time.

With that in mind, I decided to photography the first post-war Italian new town, the town of Vajont, built after the flood that over the night of the 9 October 1963 destroyed the villages of Erto, Longarone and Casso, causing 1910 deaths and almost a thousand of displaced persons.

An architecture and city planning influenced by the urgency of rebuilding, the lack of settling and sense of intimacy that distinguishes the historical Italian boroughs, the geographic and cultural distance from the place of origin are factors that even now prevent the inhabitants of the new town of Vajont from completely living the town as subject of rootedness.

In the pictures, the human presence is barely perceivable and the strict, anonymous geometries of an architecture thought in purely functional terms communicate the general feeling of being at loose ends; the single portraits isolated figures lost inside of a semi-deserted context, confirm a general feeling of alienation.

The closing images - which retrace the location of the tragedy and the cemetery where there all the victims’ bodies - recall the never-ending relationship with the place that was and is not anymore, opposite to the place that it still cannot be.