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Hi! I’m Irene, the blog editor. After more than 225 posts on this blog, I decided to ask the studio about Massimo’s work. Yes, only now.
Now it’s my turn. Here is a short conversation with myself.

How did you meet Massimo and how long have you worked for him?
I’ve known Massimo since I was a child. He had met my father – who was passionate about photography and had a darkroom in the cellar – through Lorenzo D’Angiolo, who developed and printed Massimo’s photos in Lucca.
I remember that he called me “mouse”, because I ate a lot of cheese.
Growing up, I was studying philosophy at the University of Pisa, but I wanted to have an experience in the world of art. So I landed at the Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery in Florence where I fell in love with the STEIDL universe and met Kate, the gallery manager who then became the studio manager of Massimo, my colleague for 5 years and running.
After a period spent abroad, when I returned to Lucca I went to see Massimo who wanted to revise his website by transforming it into a blog, in which the images would be presented together with existing texts or commissioned ones. Et voilà, I found myself embarking on this adventure that today has more than 230 blog posts and to which the management of Instagram has also been added.

Why did you choose those photos by Massimo?
The photos I have chosen each represent a different form of my own closeness and interest. There would be many others, but today these are symbolic for me or for my life or for what I see in Massimo’s work.
First of all Rosignano Alba, taken at the “spiagge bianche” (Rosignano Solvay), after an annual party that went on up until 15 years ago. My maternal family comes from that area and as a teenager I always dreamed of attending this huge party. To my great regret, just when I was the right age, they stopped organizing it due to obvious logistical problems.
I also like this photo for the light, that you can find in other photos by Massimo and which is unusual. I think of the photos of Marseille for example. Massimo hates shadows and for this reason he usually shoots in the hottest hours. I don’t know how he manages to resist in the summer, more than one young intern abandoned ship after a day of work.
I also like to see the large Solvay baking soda factory in the distance. In fact the industrial environments, whether active or in disuse, have always fascinated me as ruins of a world that once was, as in certain photos by Hilla and Bernd Becher that Massimo likes.
Then there is Les Menuires Grande. I am close enough with Massimo to say that I like this photo only moderately. In fact, I hesitated until the very end in selecting it, because there is one taken at the Insomnia disco that I love much more. However, this photo marked me enormously when I first saw a monographic exhibition by Vitali at the Pecci Museum in Prato in 2004. That exhibition, in a complete white cube, certainly marked a before and after in my perception of contemporary art. I was 16 and I wanted to be a film director, my ideas faltered that day.

Finally, the diptych of Bari, a little known but in my opinion extremely interesting photo. It is an urban beach, which could be anywhere, with these large buildings close to the beach. I find the composition really interesting, I have the impression that the vanishing point is towards me and not at the end of the horizon. The vanishing point seems to correspond to the lady in the purple bathing suit and the red hat. And then there is the question of time, which Giovanni already explained a few posts ago. In the photo on the right and on the left, the same multicolour lady is repeated, the same but different, before and after, as in a frame. These repeated bodies, sometimes cut on the edges, give you an idea of ​​continuity but also speak of the impossibility of photography to account for reality. The photo shows a window on reality, a partial and personal vision, never objective. Which is one of the reasons why Massimo moved away from photo journalism and distancing himself from his privileged subject – man – instead taking pictures of what the man is doing, without looking into the camera. It is the actions of humans that interest Massimo, their being present immediately, and not what they represent. When choosing the “best” photos in the studio after a shoot, we put 4 or 5 stars on the ones we like best and the others we leave them with 2 or 3. Usually these are the conversations “no, look at what he does down there, he photographs the Duomo!”, “Ah look! That baby is crying! ”, “Ah she is making a video call with the selfie stick, look at her hat!”. In fact, it is as if Massimo had taken his professional past and channeled it into his artistic path from the 90’s onwards. There is an almost cinematic interest in his shots, a bit of voyeurism and interest in the history of society from his years in photo reportage, his love for the sea and for the large and airy spaces, necessary to exhibit his large formats. This is how I explain Massimo’s work, if I have to contain it in a discourse. But then, it’s nice to simply observe the work, printed, placed under plexi and framed, in good light. To be voyeurs in turn, nostalgic for a sociability that today seems to be lost.

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