We all know the feeling you get when driving over yet another pothole; annoyance, blind fury, neck pain and just plain disappointment. Yet they have become a seemingly permanent part of our vehicular lives. And it’s not just here that potholes plague every stretch of road as Canadian based artists, Claudia Ficca and Davide Luciano, demonstrate with their photographic series POTHOLES. The artists make use of the extra road space in cities such as Toronto, L.A and Montreal, by using the potholes as a backdrop to create these ‘concrete novellas’ that come to life with clever prop use and staging. We decided to have a chat with Claudia and Davide to find out what makes the perfect pothole and whether they’re brave enough to tackle the roads here in the UK.
So how did this idea come about?
We were driving and hit a large pothole; we started complaining about the amount of potholes in our city and then joked about seeing a woman washing her laundry in a pothole. After imagining a few scenes that could happen in a pothole we looked at each other and knew we had a great idea for a photography series.
What do you like people to feel when they view your work? What are your intentions behind the images?
We hope to make people smile. Our intention is to bring attention to the ridiculous pothole problem using humour.
You’ve said this project has sent you on a quest for the ‘perfect pothole’ - have you found it yet? And what features must the perfect one have?
Each photo requires a particular pothole. For example for the gardener we needed to find a street that had a few consecutive potholes to plant her flowers. A perfect pothole is not only about the pothole but also about the environment in which it’s in. A residential area was ideal for Santa Claus, while a gothic-style entrance was the perfect backdrop for the baptism scene.
Any run-ins with angry drivers on set? Or problems working in public?
Luckily no angry drivers yet! Most drivers slow down to see what we’re up to, pedestrians often stop to observe and ask a few questionsabout the project. We are usually in and out of the street in about 10 minutes.
Are there any ideas for potholes you've had, that you've had to abandon due to the practicalities of it?
We have a list of 60+ ideas for pothole scenes; our goal is to create a "Potholes Around the World" photo book. We are sure that some may not work out, sometimes things just don't come together. We once scouted a gorgeous pothole and showed up on location two days later and it was fixed! We had to drive around with our car full of props and the model for hours to find another ‘perfect’ pothole.
You’ve photographed potholes in various cities across Canada and America, do the cities have any influence on the scenes you create?
We are influenced by the city, its people and culture and we try to incorporate that in our scenes. We felt the grittiness of New York City was a perfect fit for our Alice in Wonderland scene; we wanted the final shot to look a little eerie. We have scenes that are reserved for certain cities or countries that we hope to shoot in the future.
Is one of you the ‘visionary’ and the other, ‘photographer’ or are the roles when collaborating shared?
For this project all the roles were shared from conception to creation.
Do you have plans to transform potholes internationally, ones in the UK for example?
Yes, we are excited to shoot some pothole scenes in Europe and the UK is definitely on our list.
Do you have any other upcoming projects we should look out for?
Yes, we are working on a new large scale photo series which takes a contemporary perspective on the ancient concept of the seven deadly sins.
To see all the images in Claudia and Davide's series so far, click here.