An Open Window

Leon Battista Alberti, the theorist of perspective, in his book De pictura talked about the way he painted. The theory of perspective was the first step in the long path that led to the invention of photography. In the quote and the note that follow, we can see a parallel with Massimo Vitali’s work. His different large format cameras are open windows to the world he chooses to capture. His shoots present realities in which bodies are sometimes cropped or repeated (as in the diptychs). Stories happen; characters show themselves to the spectator who is free to imagine relationship between them.


Blog Editor

Looking Down

Where the realist fragment, embodied in the peeking head of Manet at the side of the Music in the Tuileries (1862) or the dangling legs of the acrobat at the top of the Masked Ball at the Opera (1873) came to stand for a new mode of figuring the immediacy of visual experience as well as a synechdocic representation of the characters that constituted the modern, Vitali’s cut off figures who enter and exit at front, side and bottom of his images, cannot help but reference the democratising languages of analogue photography, now itself fast becoming an historical medium.


Tamar Garb

The Right Place to Shoot

Synopsis of the video: During the height of summer, Massimo Vitali observes crowds on holiday on the majestic Great Dune of Pyla on the Atlantic Ocean, on Italian beaches and on the banks of rivers. These long days of observation result in large-scale photographs in his distinctive, unmistakable style. In this film, Vitali allows to be observed up close while working. He also allows his story to be told through themes which are dear to him...


Giampiero D'Angeli

A Beach Without People — It’s Just Boring.

Vitali credits a Joel Meyerowitz image of a Cape Cod beach scene as the inspiration for his own interpretation and perspective on beach photography. “I remember exactly this picture on the beach,” he explains, “and everybody was looking at the sea, and he was taking pictures on [from] the back. So I remember the first time I went to take these pictures of the beach. I wanted to be in front, I wanted to be in the sea—looking at the people.”


Lisa Cancelli

Nothing happens after 4:30 PM

The energy begins to build as early as 9:00 AM, the clothes drop and people drop their worries as well, although some tension remains some barrier. A narrative begins to unfold. THere is a lull from noon until about 1:30 then everything begins again and builds until 4:30 when the energy completely evaporates. Nothing happens after 4:30.


1814

Reshaping the World

Vitali’s scenes are at far less of a remove, hierarchically or psychically, from the demos. As viewers, we are amongst their number, sharing space, in spite of our elevated vantage, as if we have just come upon the scene. I find myself looking for bodies resembling my own or those of lovers or friends, and this inclusiveness of the viewer as a part of the crowd gives the work a surprisingly egalitarian ethos.


Lucas Blalock

So what is a photographer?

Many anthropological or political reasons can justify the choice of the crowded beaches, vacations in the mountains, touristy streets or discotheques, places that have been his favourites up until now. But the most important reason is the simple fact that these are places that eveyone takes photographs: a type of photography intended as un art moyen according to the title of the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's book.


Daniel Soutif

Firenze Via Via

From comedy to tragedy, from tragedy to indifference. The individual quest is always ignored and people look away just as Gods and folks did when Icarus fell the way Brueghel painted his fatal flight.


Anna Morettini

Jours de Fête

So, what draws us to his work which is really like no other: the sweeping panoramas he chronicles perched en haut like a stork, the kind of sublime anonomity and "everyman'ness" of what he captures or our own nostalgia at these temporal but restful "jours de fête"? 


John Armbruster

Piscinão de Ramos

No explanations, comments, or records. I have been on the lookout for a few days now. They don't pay any attention to me anymore, and are no longer afraid of me. They just run around playfully.


Maurice Soustiel