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…
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.