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

How long have you been working for Massimo? How did you meet him?
Giovanni Romboni: I met him on the beach, at Bagno Savoia, where I was a lifeguard. I was passionate about photography and I had already done some works of my own. I met with a group of friends once a week to talk about photography, and I was in love with photographers like Gabriele Basilico. I collected all his books.
So, I spoke with Massimo throughout the summer and at the end, as he wanted to start his beach series, I began to assist him. I went to his place in Capriglia, above Pietrasanta, we checked the equipment, the cameras and we started the Beach Series. I missed the very first photo at Marina di Pietrasanta, which we have catalogued as #0000, because I was still working as a lifeguard.
So I’ve worked with Massimo since 1994. If he was doing other kind of photography like still life, I wouldn’t have cared and we would never have connected, but we had the same references…

I missed the very first photo at Marina di Pietrasanta, which we have catalogued as #0000, because I was still working as a lifeguard.

What do you like about his work?
I like his work in general, otherwise I wouldn’t still be working for him after more than 20 years.
I especially like the way we work: the waiting, setting up the camera and platform, taking photos which are well-planned and thought out. It’s not stressful though it can be tiring, especially when we have to set up and take down the platform and stay for hours under the sun. But we take our time – some days the photos just don’t come out the way you want them to, but it’s not a tragedy. As Massimo always says – “it’s not like we’re at the hospital”! I’ve always handled very expensive equipment and I treat it as if it was mine, though I know that if something happened, it would be ok.
My contribution to Massimo’s work is being a pain in the ass! Ahahah! I mean, I follow all the production process, from the scouting, sometimes suggesting places to Massimo, to the photos themselves, through the developing of the photos back in the day, and now with post production with digital.

Massimo’s photos are like a film in which you can see all the photograms at once, not a single frame, because you have fragments of people on the left and on the right. So you have the impression that the movement continues, time over space.

Which are your favorite photos and why?
My favorite work is the #0140 Tre donne (Three women), taken in Rosignano Solvay at Spiagge bianche. I also have a contact sheet of that one and I’m proud of it. I love the photo itself, but I especially love what it represents, to me it is the symbol of that whole period, the beginning of the Beach series. The point of view, the desire to fill the space with “characters”, the large format camera up on the platform in the middle of the sea…
Then there is the #0700, Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, which is quite well known. It is important to me because it was one of Massimo’s first commissions. And also because, though we are not at the beach, the people still act exactly the same and you can only notice it from up on the platform because if you stay down on earth you just see the 4 people in front of you and all the others are hidden or blurred. From up high, you can see everything that’s happening, many vignettes which come together in a single large image. Massimo’s photos are like a film in which you can see all the photograms at once, not a single frame, because you have fragments of people on the left and on the right. So you have the impression that the movement continues, time over space.
I like this approach to composition, which doesn’t follow the classical rules. It is the same in the #0140 where the three women are not in the center or well aligned.
Finally, there are the photos we took at the Azores islands in 2018. I mean, there are so many other photos that I like, but I find the Azores especially interesting because the landscape is inverted, the rocks are black, the contrary of the white beach we were accustomed to photographing. And the people still act the same.
For me Ikea is an example of true democracy – you can find the same piece of furniture in a poor student’s flat and the home of a wealthy entrepreneur. At the beach, or in other places of leisure, the figures are all naked in terms of their roles in society. Humanity is usually very stratified, but at the beach and in the photos they all act the same way.