29 novembre 2011
It is known enough that my post on the assistant has had infinite comments and critics: which I DO NOT want to keep on feeding…
amongst the endless reactions on that post there was also an unusual request: he writes at one point, with tact and education, Fabio Camandona (which I really didn’t know at that time) and asked if it was possible to have an article written by my assistant, for the online magazine OUR PHOTO founded by Fabio, so to have an opinion on the subject of the individual concerned. We thought it wouldn’t have been very objective to ask the intervention of my current assistant, but it would have been more appropriate to ask one of my past assistants.
Amongst the various assistants who have gone through my studio I wanted to get Alessio Gianni involved, for various reasons: he has been with me for a long time, is a smart guy who writes well and I think the person who knows me the most, amongst those who over the years have helped me.
Alessio agreed, with one big condition: that the newspaper would publish what he wrote without me neither correcting it nor reading it. I accepted the condition…
A few months went by, until Fabio wrote that he had received Alessio’s article saying basically that it was unpublishable: it was not bad enough, or at least it was not as he would have wanted it to be.
So then I find myself with Alessio’s article that nobody wants, which seems a shame, both because I think it’s funny and Alessio worked very hard at it: so I will post it! here it is:
Settimio Benedusi is a man full of faults.
The main and worst fault Settimio Benedusi has is being a man.
He is perfectly conscious of this uncomfortable defect, but despite his constant efforts to try to rise above his nature, has not yet managed to break free. For four dozen years he condemns himself to win this battle with very little results.
His every effort to get has been annulled by an invisible Newtonian force that brings him back to its original state.
It does not take a degree in psychology to understand the size of the inner fracture which marks this man. Think how difficult it is for Settimio Benedusi to get out of bed every day knowing that once again he’s having to confront his daily failure.
Probably his only moment of peace and serenity is the time that occurs in the morning between the pillow and the mirror, before which a daily and Disney like epiphany he finds himself inexorably epiphany in front of the harsh reality.
And it is probably right in front of a mirror, of sea water, on a late morning Settimio has developed his method to bridge the gap. That sea was to him as the Road to Damascus for Paul of Tarsus, observing the reflections and gibigiane Benedusi realised what was his way of expressing himself: Photo Graphy.
Settimio had called me towards the end of 1992, or was it the beginning of 1993. He was looking for an assistant. I was looking for a photographer, actually I was expecting a photographer to look for me or even stumble on my name. I had just attended a photography course organised by a school of Superstudio. A totally useless course, if not for the fact that the secretary of the course gave around my name (and that of a dear friend of mine who had attended the course with me) to photographers looking for assistants.
And so began my “career” as assistant photographer. For the next four years, except for an interlude of a few hours as an assistant to a food photographer ended with a sudden elusion, I was a fashion photographer’s assistant.
Nevermind RAW and HDR. At that time I was loading and unloading Pentax 6×7 in 2.3 seconds (do not bother to call me a bullshitter, I made it up). Twelve Hasselblad backs handled simultaneously with one hand, while with the other I was developing film and printing like no other not even Adams. And with my teeth I was peeling Polaroid 10 × 12 and licked the acids on the film to be discarded. I was the Super Fly TNT of assistants. Get a Life.
But that’s another story. We return to the Photo-Graph. I sucked as much as an assistant as Settimio sucked as a photographer.
There, the nice thing is that I saw, in those years, Settimio grow and improve himself with a rare determination. You can say many things about the Benedusi, but one thing is certain: he is a definite article. One who makes up his mind one way and, by God, he does it.
Whether it is a photo shoot as complicated as a painting by Magritte, or a book with a pierced cover (and another with the pages glued), or to complete a photo shoot despite a violent food poisoning (which hit him and the assistant, fucking french scrambled eggs) or lower from the sky a safe weighing a thousand thousands tons in his studio, or fire an assistant because he ordered in Capri a plate of linguini with smoked salmon or strawberries with sugar in December (I’m making this up, but not so much).
That this determination is then translated into works of art, in photographic shoots that are well executed and professional, in creative ideas so brilliant as to be misunderstood or unsightly filth is not mine to judge, I could get by with a quote that I love “This only can we now say, what we are not, what we do not want”, but one thing about Settimio I know I can say.
Settimio is a very human man. This determination and dedication comes from the belly, there comes an idea that runs through all his bowels and back, passes from the heart where everything is mixed and becomes even more human, comes to him like a bucket in the brain, then there is a mysterious explosion of synapses and crazy neurones (there is an ongoing study at CERN), his mouth tells it (which if the listener understands something still has to be proved), at this point what was an abstract idea materialises for a few seconds, his eyes crystallise over time and through his fingers this uncontrollable flow becomes a Photograph.
In all this chaos, like the Big Bang, you will also admit that if Settimio manages to focus on something is a miracle. Do not complain then if sometimes, often, his Photographs are not works of art.
PS: and I wanted to write a piece all about f22, levels & curves, histograms, optical benches and the difficult (impossible) relationship between Photographer and Assistant. I created a piece that sounded like a song by De Andrè… But perhaps for Settimio “daddy” Benedusi its rightly so, he does not care less about technique anyways and then again I like to think that “where his fingers end should in some way start a Camera”.
24 novembre 2011
Definitely something beautiful about my job is that every time I’ve been given a project, it is almost a novelty compared to anything else that preceded it
And so it happened for the job in this month’s issue, currently on the shelves, for MAX: photograph two models in a pin-up style, so then my images would be paint brushed on two motorcycle helmets. Something like this has never happened to me!
This is the backstage by Pasquale Ettorre:
PS: let me tell you a little/big behind the scenes, which will allow me to break a spear against Andrea Rossi, the director of MAX.
My photograph was supposed to go on the cover of the magazine, in an issue traditionally dedicated to motorbikes. Everything was done and ready for print, when the tragic news about Simoncelli arrived. To put two helmets on the cover of a magazine few days after that tragedy would have been of dubious taste, so the director decided to change the helm of the magazine, inserting the editorial inside it. Right. At that point though it would have been simple, convenient and surely commercially viable, (excuse my cynicism, but its like it is…) to put on the cover Simoncelli. The director of MAX, Andrea Rossi, didn’t do it, proving to be the great man that he is: well done Andrea.
22 novembre 2011
Tomorrow my exhibition BODY AND SOUL will open its doors in Cannes, made with the images of the last SPORTWEEK DREAMS.
20 novembre 2011
It was truly an extreme pleasure to receive today the city of Imperia award. THANK YOU!!!
During the ceremony I showed a little video compiled with a series of images made during the course of the years, amalgamating (under the same fil rouge of the sea and the female beauty ) my images, beginning from when I was sixteen up until some that I shot last month: deep down I am doing what Ive always done!