I Saw People Like Butterflies

It’s like when you study butterflies. If you see a butterfly and you pin it down and you put in on a velvet cloth, then it’s much easier to study - the animal, the colors and so on. So the beach, form me, was the place where I saw people like butterflies. They were very open to being studied, [which was] easy for me because people at beaches don’t move too much. If you’ve got too many people moving, it gets really complicated, especially if you use a slow process like shooting with a large format camera. You have to take your time, and the beach is a perfect place for this.

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Rodrigo Orrantia

A Little Revolution

Massimo walks around for a while, trying to understand where to position his camera, where to place the tripod, where to get the best angle, and then he waits. It must be an old habit learned from many years spent with the 20x25 camera, where the use and the realization of the image is completely different compared to a normal hand-held camera: you don’t have to understand where to put your subject, but where to put the camera. A little revolution.

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Valerio Spada

That is Photography

Getting closer to the print, I started to see thousands of smaller pictures within the photograph. I got closer; I watched the faces; the arms up in the air, as if they were frozen. How could he possibly use all those flashes in a disco at night? Why did he choose such a heightened perspective? These technical thoughts were quickly swept away by another face, another gesture, by two suspenders, a red dress, by haircuts that look strange today, but which were probably or rather surely in fashion at the time of the shot.

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Valerio Spada

Nature at Large

“My pictures are not about discovery – they are far from the American tradition of discovering the wilderness,” he explains. “When I leave, I know exactly where I want to be each day, and at what time.” The only thing he can’t control is the ebb and flow of human presence.

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Rebecca Rose

La Rambla

The faces of people walking reflect the characteristic air of distracted caution with which pedestrians in big cities pass each other. The observer wonders about where they are going, what they are thinking and imagining; while as individuals we see ourselves reflected in them.

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Friederike Nymphius

From Dance Halls to Discos, Part II

Giovanna Calvenzi: Gabriele practices solitude, he awaits solitude, and his photographs search for solitude, Massimo places himself where he is forced to be alone, on high, above everyone.
Massimo Vitali: Just physically. Fortunately my assistant never speaks.
GC: The moment of photographing is a moment of great solitude. You both put yourselves (with dance halls and discos) in a situation that epitomizes crowds, noise, and visual, audio, tactile chaos…
MV: I’ve never spoken to anyone in discos.

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Gabriele Basilico, Massimo Vitali, Giovanna Calvenzi, Alberto Bianda

From Dance Halls to Discos, Part I

I called the managers of the discos, and that wasn’t easy either. They’d keep their phones on the hook only half an hour a day, and I’d try to explain: “I’m doing this project on discos and I’d like to come and take some photos, but we’re going to use this big tripod, then the flash…”, and they would say: “Well… come, ask for the electrician, and get together with him…” They didn’t even ask why. It was totally crazy. Usually, we’d arrive at around four or five with the first electricians. I’d set up eight or nine flashed – 3,000 kilojoules each – I’d mount the tripod, then wait for something good to happen.

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Gabriele Basilico, Massimo Vitali, Giovanna Calvenzi

The Curiosity of the Prince

However, in 15 years of work nobody has complained, though there have been some who have been recognized in the photos. Probably detachment, non-involvement, and objectivity, which are the foundation of my work, have kept me from troubles.

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Michele Chiossi

Masquerades as Reality

The traffic in signs is a shifting and constantly reforming visual landscape, a mixture of the histories that form us and the politics that define us. On these journeys and journeyings, a camera has usually preceded us, often accompanies us, and inhabits our material and mental worlds. In the photographic image an imaginary world masquerades as reality, but in that masquerade something of the world’s magical strangeness might reside in the most familiar of encounters: a day at the beach a night at the club.

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Jon Bird

A Chat on Photography

In this video, I’m talking with Enrico Ratto about my work and photography in general. I talk about my obsessions, impostors, pictures that I hate and much more.

Sorry, the interview is in Italian! If you don’t understand the language, you will need to wait until next week for a new post.

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Massimo Vitali & Enrico Ratto