Mirta d’Argenzio: Carcavelos Pier from 2016 is another of your more recent digital images exhibited in Tokyo. What was your approach here and what were you interested in capturing?
Massimo Vitali: In this case there is a concrete pier on which things happen. There are kids from a surf school waiting for waves that will never come and are floating to one side. There is this boy doing an acrobatic dive. At the end of the pier there are more people. Then this girl arrives whom we only see from behind, who looks like a model on a catwalk and contrasts with all those that are already there. In a restricted space there are a number of things going on. You can see a range of diverse ethnic types and situations. Something that 20 years earlier you wouldn’t have seen on a beach. When I began taking the photos at Rosignano there would not have been a single black person on the beach. Looking at the photos over the years you discover many things about our life and how our society is changing.

MdA: Zlatni Rat Canoe from 2009, what has changed in this landscape and how can it be read as a comment by you regarding street photography?
MV: Zlatni Rat is a tongue of gravel that leads into the sea and seen in photos on the Internet it looks beautiful, but in reality it is not all that. I liked the idea that there’s the beach with the sea on either side. Seen from above, the tongue is fairly long and thin, but the only point where you can show what interested me – the sea on both sides – is close to the tip. I really like it because at the very end of the tip are people immersed in cosmic thoughts. They are all a bit dreamy as if they’ve reached the end of something and are thinking back about what they’ve just done. They seem to me to be people thinking about their own lives.
Because I see these things. Maybe it’s just me that sees them. They’re things of no importance. All street photography has always focused on searching for something significant in ordinary situations. Instead I don’t look for anything significant but I do invent great stories. Irrelevant.

MdA: Lençois Laguna do Peixe NYT Cover from 2012. This is certainly one of the most abstract photos, almost monochromatic, which reminds me of certain landscapes by Gursky. What is it for you?
MV: This isn’t a beach, even though the beach is there. It’s a place in Brazil, an empty white rectangle 80 km by 100, an enormous place in this are called Lençois because at a certain time of the year it rains and pools of green rainwater gather in the dunes and seen from above there’s this surface all freckled with green. It was a place that I wanted to go and photograph for years. I went, took a place, a jeep and then when I was in the middle of the peanut plantations at a certain point the guide said: “you know that this year during the rainy season it didn’t rain? So the famous Lençois, the green dots, aren’t there.” In fact it was all white. And I decided to photograph it.

Mirta D'Argenzio, Interview with Massimo Vitali, catalog of the exhibition Short Stories at Mazzoleni Gallery in London, April 12 - May 24, 2019.
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