Tagliamento: a river of images and questions

2 min read
Credits: Martina Morini (martinamorini.com)
Credits: Martina Morini (martinamorini.com)

Fishermen immersed up to their knees in the waters of the Tagliamento where they merge into the Adriatic, retired teachers revealing its true sources, pensioners seeking resurgences to cool off from the heat in the dazzling gravel beds. And still, young people who have crossed it on motorcycles, researchers who have dedicated their careers to it, elders who remember trembling at the dark roar of floods. Vine growers, athletes, activists, simple passersby: the connections between people and the “King of Rivers” are numerous, pervasive, and intertwined like its meanders. However, rarely is the relationship between the river and those who live beside it considered in the management of watercourses.

Credits: Martina Morini (martinamorini.com)

Between 2020 and 2021, a study at the intersection of river ecology, hydraulics, and social sciences attempted to explore this relationship by asking the population how and why they loved the river, in which stretches, and how they would manage it. The result was an unprecedented map, partly different from officially protected areas, and a firm belief that it is possible to combine flood protection with the safeguarding of the river.

Credits: Martina Morini (martinamorini.com)

An increasingly relevant theme in a time when river redevelopment becomes European law, while the clouds of urbanization still gather over the most untouched rivers in Western Europe. Scientific investigations often fall short of explaining such a complex and contradictory relationship. That’s why we embarked on an exploration among the people who experience the Tagliamento, who have lived it, and have declared their love for it, searching for their places and the deep roots that bind them to the territory, asking them how they imagine its future and how they contribute to shaping it.

Credits: Martina Morini (martinamorini.com)

We undertook a journalistic and photographic journey through the four seasons over two years, within a larger and ongoing project. A journey through pouring rain and scorching sun, days of extreme low water and sudden floods, in which we remained in constant dialogue with the authors of the study we were inspired by but also charting our own course, sometimes getting lost, sometimes finding unexpected answers, other times posing new questions.

Marco Ranocchiari: scientific communicator and environmental journalist, he focuses on water, rivers, and sustainability for the Water Grabbing Observatory, Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa, Il T quotidiano, and Materia Rinnovabile. A geologist and former teacher, he has been following the events of the Tagliamento since 2021 when he wrote about it for Il Fatto Quotidiano. His reports have been published in La Repubblica, Linkiesta, Voxeurop, and in the cultural travel guide “Scoprire i Balcani” (Cierre, 2019). Website: marcoranocc.wordpress.com

Martina Morini: photographer and journalist, she primarily focuses on topics related to migrations, both human and non-human, and the violation of human rights. Since 2020, she has also been covering the issue of alien species in Italy, a project for which she won the Italy Photo Award and was later exhibited at the International Month of Photojournalism (IMP) in Padua. Alongside Marco, she has been following the events of the Tagliamento since 2022. Website: martinamorini.com, Instagram: martinamorini_photos