Talking with Massimo Vitali means listening to a person who is direct and at the same time precise in affirming his thoughts. Some of his photos, which portray people in costumes on the beaches, have been exhibited in many museums and have helped him become an important photographer worldwide. He has often been called the “beach photographer” and, as he himself will explain in the interview, what attracts him are people, not what they wear.
Nothing sensational ever happens in Vitali’s photos, but we could watch them for hours, continually finding some new event to dwell on. The reason for this attraction lies in the fact that each of these shots is an unfiltered portrait of our contemporary society with many condensed meanings inside.

How did you experience the transition to digital?
Well. Until 2/3 years ago, digital backs weren’t up to par. The quality was too low. I usually print photos that are 180 × 240 cm and I need a detail that goes from 3 meters to infinity. What I need is to see what, for example, a family 70 meters away is doing, I am interested in that and to do this we need very high quality tools. Today digital finally allows me to reach a level of detail equal to or higher than analog.

Do you ever make cuts to the frame?
Not normally. But I study a lot the enlargement of the photos I took.

Your photos are often overexposed why?
No, they are not overexposed. They are printed clear. The photos are taken with the correct exposure and then very often I decide to print them lighter because I don’t like shadows. I don’t even like that “gray” sand and so I lighten it because I find it unbearable.

So is making light backgrounds primarily for aesthetic reasons?
Not only that, the people and the colorful costumes they wear when portrayed on a light background come out better from the background.

To make your photos you must have a certain point of view that leads you to place the camera at the top, why?
If I have fifty people and I photograph them at eye level, I only see the first row. The idea was also to take inspiration from Renaissance art that filled the paintings with people and used a slightly elevated central perspective.

Is the height always the same?
When I take photos with the tripod on the bus the car is about 3.5 meters. Other times I use a special tripod that allows me to take myself to 5 meters. I don’t always manage to get the height I would like, but I try to adapt to the height I can reach.

You get considerable success on social networks, what relationship do you have with these tools?
I believe that today we cannot do without social networks, just as we cannot do without digital machines.
Sometimes some photographers are afraid of being conditioned by the immediate judgment that is possible by publishing their work on social networks…

Sometimes some photographers are afraid of being conditioned by the immediate judgment that is possible by publishing their work on social networks …
In my case I don’t have this problem because we use these tools as a simple diary that tells the life of my studio. The photos we publish are related to the backstage and not a portfolio of my works.

It is very difficult for a young artist to turn his passion into a job. Today all of us, also thanks to social networks like Instagram, see hundreds of photos a day but these rarely bring an income to its authors.
Yes it is true there is this problem. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just happy that the photographic image is so widespread today. In the world of art, however, many things have changed. Galleries play an increasingly marginal role and I don’t think international fairs are able to attract a sufficient number of collectors. At the beginning of this century, whatever new thing was made had thousands of potential buyers who could not wait to buy it. Today collectors are much less daring in their choices and seek only a safe investment.