I always think that one of the most important thing in photography, especially street photography, is to tell the times we are living for the future, in particular the life of the cities, that change day by day, so fast. For example, in March 2011 I was visiting New York City, walking everywhere and taking pictures. I remember when, on the 59th Street in Manhattan, I saw this man having a cigarette break outside an Italian restaurant, characterized by a beautiful and huge red wall. I loved that scene, the contrast between the red of the building and that white dressed man. It’s one of my favorite street photos I took in NYC.
So, this is how was that wall in 2011, this is the picture I’m talking about:
Joel Meyerowitz is one of the greatest photographer of all time. In this photo, taken in Paris in 1967, there is so much to tell, it’s for sure one of the greatest street photos ever taken. We are immediately catapulted in the Paris street, spectators of its daily life, surprised and unable to understand what just happened.
There is a man on the ground, maybe fallen, maybe fainted, and in Meyerowitz’s photo everybody is looking at him, like a centripetal force that capture the eyes (included ours). Everything is freezed in this amazing shot, a mistery that involves passers-by, a cyclist, workers, with a traffic jam in the background that recalls the crowd on the right side of the photo.
As Meyerowitz said: “A photograph allows such contradictions to exist in everyday life, more than that, it encourages them. Photography is about being exquisitely present”.
The image that most of all raised public awareness at the time of the Great Depression was taken in California, north of Los Angeles and almost never existed. 1936: Photographer Dorothea Lange, after seeing the sign of a pea field, continued on for about 20 miles. However, there was a detail of the field that struck her and so she decided to go back: here she noticed Frances Owens Thompson, so approached her and her children. The harvest had frozen and the farmers in the field were left without food. This photo taken by Dorothea Lange, known as the “Migrant Mother”, went around the United States and helped to send about 9 tons of food to the area where Frances and many other farmers were. Through an intimate portrait of a troubled family, Lange put a face to a suffering nation.
[Fuori dalla doccia fa freddo: versione in italiano qui]
Sometimes being a photographer is a bit like when you take a shower. A jet of hot water, the muscles relax, the pores open and you don’t think about anything for a moment. Photography is not so different and when you have a job to do or a project to follow the feeling is very similar: every shot is like hot water in the coldest winter, but like when you are in the shower, even in photography there is that moment when you have to turn off the water and take the bathrobe. And just at that moment a small wave of frost arrives that freezes your soul. The same chill you feel when you have a camera in your hand and you can’t photograph anything.
8 years ago I had returned since few months from a trip to Istanbul where, in an exhibition, I discovered Jak Baruh’s works, a Turkish photographer who works with multiple exposures. It was an epiphany. I wrote a small note in my notebook and then left it there for two or three months to “rest”.
On December 14, 2012 I finally started working on some multi-layered pictures, without even imagining what it would lead me to. It wasn’t a very successful test, but it was the seed of a photographic project that now I have the luck and privilege to call “work”. After that test image, I asked a dear friend of mine for an opinion: “I’m trying to do some work with the multiple exposures, I’m doing some tests. I want to do it again better, though I want to send it to you so you can tell me if you think a nice idea can come out of it “.
After two decades, some guys left Rome to come back in their childhood cities. I asked them the permission to take pictures during the move. Here a selection of images that I took during that busy morning.
2019 is almost gone. For me it’s been a year full of satisfactions: first of all, it’s been my very first year of Photography. I mean, for the first time, since last december, photography is been my only job and this is something incredible to me. 2019 led me to Milan for a photo fair and in the village of Amandola, to teach photography to a group of young students (amazing experience). In June I went to Chicago to exhibit my Urban Melodies and I had a flashtalk about my project at Pritzker Forum on Global Cities, it’s been the greatest thing ever happened to me as a photographer. I began my new series Film People and I’m loving it (last week it’s been featured on Vanity Fair!), I went in Greece, to shoot a wonderful wedding and to Amman, Jordan, for a job that made me improve as a photographer. I won Roma Photo Marathon, a great satisfaction. Then, I had the chance to spend in Monopoli my summer holidays and in Sicily my Christmas holidays. I’ve changed apartment in Rome, so it’s been a year full of changes and new expreriences. I tried to collect a random selection of my best street photos of this 2019, I don’t know if I did a good selection, but here they are.
[ENG] Vincenzo has been making pizzas for over 50 years, working every day from 7 to 22. His life, as well as his pizzeria, is a life of expects, preparation, waiting for the arrival of customers and evening orders. Between dead times and signs of fatigue. In an increasingly dynamic world, where everyone is in a hurry, the slow life of this Roman pizzeria brings us closer to the flavors of the past, in this story realized a few days before the final closure.
Today, six years ago, I did my first test with a multi-layered image. I did some works and then I wrote to a friend of mine to ask an advice: “”I’m trying to do some work superimposing photos, but for now I only did a few tests… but I want to do it again to do it better, I want to send it to you so you can tell me if you think that it can get out a nice idea”. The first test was very poor, but there was a potential behind. Six years later, today, my project Urban Melodies permits me to do this job, it’s been recognized and sold in a lot of countries in the world. I’m so grateful for this luck and the opportunity to try to do this career, even with all the difficulties and the worries. Something is sure: I’ll never forget that 14 December 2012…
[Alla Ricerca di Vivian Maier: recensione in italiano qui]
Presented at the Toronto Film Festival and the Berlinale, the documentary about Vivian Maier reveals an extraordinary investigation into the life of the most mysterious photographer of the 900, austere nanny, a secret artist whose treasure was discovered by chance only a few days after her death. Dead in poverty, she is now one of the most loved and important street photographers of the last century, with exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles, photo books and an archive of thousands of images. Behind his babysitter figure is a fascinating mystery: why has this woman always hidden her talent and her work?