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  • 23 Febbraio 2012

    MAX QUESTIONNAIRE

    After more than two years of MAX CASTING and 122 (!) models photographed and interviewed the time has come also for me to answer to the questionnaire which was submitted to them:

    The main feature of my character: I am a gemini, and as such I am arguably duplicated. I feel lazy/hyperactive. Educated/ignorant. Funny/asshole. Boring/very fun.

    A quality I desire in a man: intelligence and a sense of humour.

    A quality I desire in a woman: intelligence and a sense of humour.

    What I appreciate the most from my friends: that they are there.

    My main defect: I am a dickhead.

    My favourite occupation: I love sleeping after making a great effort, and falling asleep slowly while reading a book or watching a movie.

    My dream of happiness: “three movies a day, three books a week, three albums of great music will make my happiness until I die” Truffaut.

    What would it be, for me, the greatest misfortune: to not reach the end of this questionnaire crashing before would be already bad luck, but if you read this post to the end it means it didn’t happen.

    What would you like to be: I would like to be a photographer that from a small town in the province he went to the metropolis following a dream that became reality… ops! (“today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present” Vinicio Capossela).

    The country where I’d like to live in: the one I chose.

    My favourite colour: I like the blu/black of the IWC face.

    My favourite flower: for aesthetics the calla lily, for the perfume the lilium (that has to be white in order to perfume).

    My favourite authors: and how am I going to choose?!? Impossible! Then I’ll go on those for formation: John Steinbeck (all the books!) for the “photographic” realism; Jean-Paul Sartre (nausea, the wall!) for the existential philosophical introspective, Italo Calvino (the cloven viscount!) for the magic.

    My favourite musicians: oh come on! I just had to make a considerable effort with the writers, to confine myself to only three, and now even the music! How do I do it?!?! It’s impossible!!! We go again with those for formation: Genesis, Pink Floyd, Fabrizio De Andrè.

    My favourite painters: again!!! Who is the sadist who made this survey?!?!? A painter I have always liked is Cagnaccio of St. Peter, especially for a painting that I am crazy about “after the orgy”, where for a time (when for a photograph that is nice we say it looks like a painting) you may as well say that the painting is so beautiful it looks like a photograph. I would also add Caravaggio, Andrea Pazienza, Diane Arbus (I can add a photographer, can’t I?!? And I want to add Diane Arbus…).

    My heroes: “blessed are the countries that do not need heroes: Bertolt Brecht. I take a step forward: I have no heroes.

    What I detest the most: ignorance, because contrary to other unpleasantness you may if you wish, eliminate it.

    The historical figures I despise the most: how many laughs to the (so many!) models that have answered HITLER. But why?!? It is such a generic and useless answer that it is not an answer! Not one that answered, I don’t know.. POL POT! Now is Pol Pot less bloodthirsty than Hitler or I know nothing of history?!? I will try and give some balance and I will answer with all the breath in my body: POL POT!!!

    The gift from nature that I wish I had: what I would like to have I already possess!

    How I would like to die: “the most unjust thing about life is how it ends. What I mean is: life is hard and it takes most of our time… what do you obtain in the end? Death. What does it mean! What is death? Some kind of bonus because you lived? I believe that the life cycle should be completely reversed. We should start by dying, so we are left without the thought. Then, we are in a hospice from where we get kicked out for being too young. They give you a bonus and you then start working for forty years until you are young enough to enjoy retirement. Following that are parties, alcohol, weed and high school. Finally primary school starts, you become a child, you play and you have no responsabilities, you become a baby, you go back in your mother’s womb, you spend nine months floating and you end it all with a nice orgasm!” Woody Allen.

    Current state of mind: I am happy! I’m almost done with this questionnaire for which I got really stuck in!

    The faults that I can bear: the big ones. The bigger they are the more indulgent I am. If someone steals there must be a deep reason for stealing. And if he kills there will be an even bigger reason. But what is the reason for littering?

    My motto: even the clock that has stopped will mark the exact hour twice a day.

    11 Comments »

    18 Febbraio 2012

    THE GESTURE

    Without having to mention the erudite exegesis of the of the gesture made by Alessandro Baricco I would like to voice my opinion on the overall effect that is neglected and marginal: the gesture, with which one photographs.

    In my irrepressible presumption I am used to saying that in order to give an opinion on the photographs of a photographer I absolutely do not need to see his portfolio: it is more than enough to see how he poses and how he moves with the camera in his hands. I only need ten seconds.

    It doesn’t seem so absurd to me: doesn’t a chef only need to see how the cook will cut a tomato to judge him? And doesn’t it take to see how a person will put the car into first gear to judge how he will drive?

    The security, the accuracy, the habit of the gesture are made in a way that the very act reveals the precise consequences of its effects. Cause and effect, inextricably linked.

    On this topic I was very impressed with the backstage photograph of a pretty good photographer’s blog, or rather let us say he’s good enough that I think it can be useful also to examine how he does things in order to understand the formula…

    First of all the clothing. I’ve written before about the assistants but of course it also applies to photographers: you have to dress for a photo shoot in a manner adequate to where and what you are shooting. Seems a banality but I can assure you that it is not. If I see someone that is going to work under the scorching sun of the Maldives wearing black jeans (it has happened to me) it is not necessary to pick up a camera in hand to understand the that work will be crap. Going back to our mysterious photographer pictured above, you notice how not only is he equipped for the cold (if you have to shoot all day outdoors in the snow you MUST be organised for the cold!) but also how mimetic he is in relation to the landscape that surrounds him. As a soldier (where he got the pants from…) he is hidden and camouflaged to make the best possible shooting

    But lets get to the core here, at the punctum of the photograph above: obviously its in the feet. The position of the feet! I do not know if I am exaggerating, if I find too much symbolism in the tiny details, if I am always looking for the enough that will tell the whole, rather than decline I prefer a little too much the paradigm of events, if I think to simplistically about the “zen and the maintenance of a motorbike“, if I am always looking for the small lock that opens the big door… etcetera etcetera.. But I can assure you that I read in that position of the feet the secret of the great capabilities of our mysterious photographer. Yes! It’s all there!

    The calm with which he poses, the apparent lack of balance that leads to a rather relaxed solidity. The body following that follows placidly the raids of the mind. The detachment that reveals  deep sense of belonging.

    There it is, the secret of Mr. Thorimbert is all there!

    32 Comments »

    13 Febbraio 2012

    TPW 2012

    I have already written extensively in the past of what I think about the workshop argument.

    For 2012 my proposal for TPW takes a split.

    Two different paths with very different purposes and intents but both born with the same desire to improve in a practical and concrete way the quality of the photographic projects of the participants:

    –   in Sicily, from the 9th to the 16th of July: HOW

    We will deal with “HOW” to do a photo shoot.

    It will be a very technical course, to try and teach you how to photograph in order to reach the results I obtained on the sets of Sports Illustrated and Sportweek Dreams: how to make the body of a model look sexy and attractive, through the use of technique, lighting, locations, hair and makeup, post production.. In short  everything that is normally used on set of a real and actual photo shoot for a client. The ultimate goal of this workshop is to provide to its participants with detailed technical knowledge to achieve the results of my work done for magazines and catalogues.

    Info here

    – In tuscany, from the 29th of July to the 4th of August: WHY

    We will deal with “WHY” do a photo shoot.

    In these times of great technical and cultural changes, it is absolutely normal to feel disoriented, loose all (or not finding yet!) the stimuli to produce something intimate and original. Often to us photographers happens that we begin in one direction and in the end we find ourselves in the complete opposite. During this process we loose sight of the reason why we got into the world of photography in the first place. Our vision gets hindered by the complexity of our daily lives, loosing the capability to see and we limit ourselves to only watch. This workshop is aimed at photographers with a certain experience, that want to rediscover their vision through a project, as well as novice photographers, that want to start with a fresh mind and free of old stereotypes about the profession as a photographer.

    The ultimate goal of this workshop is for each student to make each student conceptualise a photographic project, totally and completely structured around him/her: his/her feelings, his/her culture, his/her technique and unique view of the world and life.

    Info here

    I have also renewed the workshop page on my website: for the workshop in Tuscany I did not want to use my images but photographs taken by my students. They were much better than mine. Thank you!

    19 Comments »

    11 Febbraio 2012

    TWO BOOKS

    Often enough I receive emails by people asking me things like what to do to become a photographer and how to do it like I do.

    Every time I scribble a few things banal things (take nice photographs!) and I have gotten away with it like that: as if its that easy to give out recipes via email!

    Today though I would like to give you a recipe to do my job: read books. Right! I find that a human culture is based on whoever wants to do a job in which there is storytelling, and the stories are always better and richer if fuelled by other stories.

    In truth, there is also a more practical reason: to write well is extremely important, and you get to write well only and exclusively if you have read a lot of books. I want to give you absolute certainty: when I receive emails that read “mister Benedusi I kno dat deep inside of me there is a gr8 passion that wants to xpress my emotions and I want 2 be a photographer. How do I do that?” I am inevitably led to think that the gentleman takes really shit pictures. Of course! And unfortunately I have to confess to you that I am not the only one to have that feeling, but also newspapers editors, art directors and related…

    Do I also blunder? Unfortunately yes. Unfortunately I have not read enough, I could have done more and better. And dis is the consequence…

    All this preamble to talk about two books that I liked lately. I talk about it on this blog because both of them, more or less directly, have to do with photography:

    Meditation and Photography by Diego Mormorio. Edition Contrasto

    I am going to tell the truth: to talk or read about photography is, in most of the cases, unbearable. They are either staggering banalities (black and white photography is so beautiful!) or things I read thirty years ago written by Susan Sontag. Therefore it is rare that I find original a write up about photography. Instead I have found this book very interesting. One of the most banal platitude for example is when you say that “I like to steal the portrait, to capture the naturalness of the subject!” what bullshit! And murmur explains well why this is bullshit:

    “With the term “instant portrait” usually indicates a “portrait” in which the subject has been photographed accidentally, ie an image in which the latter is not posing, it is believed that this kind of “portrait” is more natural, because those who where photographed did not assume a particular attitude, a pose.

    In fact, in this case, the will of the photographer may cancel that of the photograph, which remains at the mercy of those who believe make a creative act, while indeed often it accomplishes an overwhelming and narcissistic action, thinking of themselves as the real protagonist of the picture. In fact, in portraits, the protagonist is never who photographs, but what is being photographed.

    In our age of rampant individualism, this may be unacceptable to many: limiting the creativity of the author. But, whatever they might think, above all creativity is the fact that the other, as Kant clearly stated, can never be reduced to a mean of arriving at some end by someone else’s.

    The image is an integral part of a person. Nobody can make it look different from what it tries to appear. And the only real way that a person who is being photographed will feel to appear as themselves will be through the pose.

    Faced with the knowledge of being in front of the camera -posing!- the photographed holds his breath, he turns serious or smiles. In that moment he tries to make visible with his face what he believes is his own being, his inner life.

    The posing time is perceived by him as an extended time, symbolic, within which he searches for himself”

    I don’t know if I can truthfully agree, but giving a viewpoint beyond the banality already seems very interesting. The whole book is very nice, I highly recommend it.

    =========================================

    Glenn Gould by Katie Hafner. Einaudi

    Glenn Gould was a great canadian pianist, for many the best of them all. This sort of biography is very interesting, with long passages which may include anyone involved in photography:

    “If you were asking him how he knew that a FA was a FA, he’d reply: ”Well, it’s blue!” The DO was a yellowish green. The RE was the colour of sand, the MI was a rose yellow, the LA white, the SOL orange, and the SI is dark green”

    “…although he was a seasoned, well gifted pianist, often made it clear to friends, technicians, interviewers and clerks of Steinway that he did care much for the piano as a tool in itself. For Gould, making music was more a mental matter than physical, it transcended the limits of any instrument – in his case the piano -, and was actually limited to mediate the conflict between the music played and the music that existed in the mind. “You know, the piano is not an instrument for which I nourished a great love”, he once told a reporter, “I played it all my life and it is the best medium I have to express my ideas”

    “Gould never beat, he preferred to spend the minimum possible energy while playing. As he once said to Edquist (his tuner) Glenn Gould would have been happy if the piano was able to play by itself in his place”

    8 Comments »

    8 Febbraio 2012

    TIZIANO FERRO COVER

    Currently on the shelves is the cover of GIOIA that I shot with Tiziano Ferro.

    Who puts themselves in front of the camera of a photographer, wether a person – personality – model, is divided into two clear categories:

    –  The pain in the ass, hermetically sealed, that does not allow and neither gives and that lets go of nothing beyond their formal appearance

    –  The others

    Well, Tiziano Ferro belongs to the latter: a very pleasant person, that although he is unquestionably a rockstar, he did it in a manner that the work could take place in the best way.

    I am also satisfied with the choice the magazine made, amongst the many proposed,  to use this exact photograph for the cover because I like this hand tend toward the observer, where I tried to tell what I’ve seen, his being wonderfully opened and available towards others.

    Here are some backstage photos made by Pasquale Ettorre:

    Don’t just think that a production of this caliber is always a bed of roses! No! There are also thorns!

    It may happen that I ask the good Tiziano to venture in high snow and then finds himself submerged and unable to get to safety! Fortunately the intrepid girls of his staff and Paola, the journalist who accompanied me, were able to bring him back safely!!!

    1 Comment »