How beautiful is the city

How big is the city

How alive is the city

full of streets and shops

and brightly-lit shop windows

so many people working

so many people producing…

Giorgio Gaber, Com’è bella la città.

How beautiful is the city, how alive is the city, there amidst its aesthetic appearance and its active life the city realizes itself through the daily actions of its citizens.

The transition to fine art photography allowed Vitali to focus on images and places of mass congregation like nightclubs, parks and especially beaches for which he became beset known. This happened because, as he said in an interview with Angela Madesani, he became regarded as an ethologist studying human society, its relationships, its interactions and its spaces, with the term “Natural Habitats” being coined. These images are densely packed with people, with their gestures and attitudes and their things in a way that the artist manages to imbue with a metaphysical quality of silence.

Sometimes I use extras […] I go looking in working little theaters, searching all around, and I take photographs. I never turn up by chance to what I photograph, but as a result of indications and research. I move around for a few days in the places that interest me so the little theatre set I want starts to take form in front of the lens. The place is decided in advance and so it’s the camera position. These elements are immutable and are the foundation of the work. The rest you decide later.

Massimo Vitali

Giacinto di Pierantonio, "How beautiful is the city" in Com'è viva la città. Art & the City 1913-2014, catalogue of the exhibition in Villa Olmo, Silvana Editore, Milano, 2015, p. 131; p. 147.