Maria Letizia Gagliardi: even if we cannot say that you are an architectural photographer, we can nevertheless affirm that you have always photographed spaces, urban and non-urban areas. Have you ever been interested in architecture as an object?
Massimo Vitali: Fifteen years ago, when I started to take pictures again, even though I didn’t really know how, I knew I wanted to use the photographic medium in a different way. At that point, I made two decisions: I decided to use large format cameras, because they gave me a wider view point compared to small and medium format cameras, and to create images that would engage the viewer. I wanted the beholder to read many things and not just one, so architecture, as urban space, non-urban space, street furniture or groups of people, has become one of the things to read within a complicated photograph; I wanted people to spend time to see the details or the whole image, to step in and out of the pictures, I required a large participation from the viewer. In my way of conceiving photography, shooting an architectural object would be limiting, I want to have the architecture, the street, the shop, the shopkeeper selling his goods, the people on the bench, the flowerbed…
M.L.G.: So, you don’t communicate architecture, but reality, the relationship between the parts, do you?
M.V.: Yes, but within this “other” there is architecture. I’m interested in how architecture relates to space, how it is lived, how it relates to people, the traces of objects on the balconies, to create a complex way of reading reality.
M.L.G.: As they are so linked to the relationship between the parts, can we say that your photographs are documentary material, exactly because they give a precise indication of the historical period in which they were taken?
M.V.: They are made exactly for that purpose! I want the pictures help the sociologist, the historian, they intend to document our time; my research is precisely to extract the essence of our time. My pictures are based on the observation of reality; when I work I act in a completely different way compared to other photographers: I choose the place, usually the beaches, I arrive very early in the morning and wait for my imagination to coincide with randomness. Usually things go exactly as imagined and the point of view that I have selected coincides perfectly with the result I expected.