In his series, BASE, Platania looks at the connection between people and their environment, focusing on a specific kind of urban space, that of shopping malls and industrial parkways. These non-places reveal in strong colours and prefabricated materials the dissolution of the discreet and of the chaotic potential of public spaces. Trapped in this type of anonymous, standardised space, individuals assume the role of consumers, while appearing dazed by their surroundings. In this sense, his treatment of the characters is reminiscent of Martin Parr’s photography, yet without having that snapshot quality. The hypnotic palette of the facades and the smooth, sterile surfaces of the shops become a commentary on the interior of these places, which the photographer avoids showing on purpose. Platania represents those outside spaces in a way which underlines their similarity to science-fiction locations, hence the name of the series which alludes to a space base.

The series has been shot in Portugal, Italy and Spain over a period of two years, yet he didn’t conceive of his project as a documentary one, as the names of the specific locations are not specified. Without being prescriptive in his approach, Platania intended BASE as a series which reveals that there can be something poetic and surreal even in those apparent wastelands of our times. In his other photographic series he focuses on everyday materials such as plastic and PVC, and the way in which they have become dominant in our lives.

Originally from Italy, Valerio Platania (b. 1981) works both as a photographer and as an engineer. He completed a Master programme in photography at LENS School of Visual Art and his artistic work became known to a larger public through his first photobook, BASE (2014).

You can see more of his work at