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  • 24 luglio 2012

    NEW KIDS ADV

    Already in the papers since a few weeks, my new campaigns for SPAZIO SEI, a leading brand of children’s clothing.

    This year (also this year) we were working in Cape Town, South Africa. We shot different brands, each one with their own features to show.

    MISS BLUMARINE: the most elegant and sophisticated brand, shot in a forest, creating a sort of open air theatre

    We even have a backstage video:

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    ICEBERG: the more rock and metropolitan,

    Also here we have a backstage video, where its revealed where it comes from and how to do a graffiti on a wall:

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    Ki6?: the brand is not only beautiful but also attentive to quality and eco sustainability

    Backstage video:

    (has nothing to do with all this, but when I shot this, in an incredible location,  a friend of the owner checked in, Ben. A really interesting character. I took a quick protrait:

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    PARROT: the more fun brand, made with a taste of disco

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    Seeing that I am talking about SPAZIO SEI, a brand with whom I’ve been working with for about ten years to this day, I’ll show you the campaigns for their brands MISS BLUMARINE during this long collaboration.

    Here they are almost all in chronological order:

    Thank you everyone!

    4 Comments »

    20 luglio 2012

    FAREWELL

    In the year ’99 of our life

    I, Settimio Benedusi, eternal student

    because the subject of study would be infinite

    and mostly because I know I don’t know anything,

    I, wandering cleric, highwayman,

    I, non artist, only small bachelor,

    because, by fault of others, as things go,

    sometimes I am ashamed to do my job,

    I am going to say farewell to all your endless crap,

    sequins and spotlights of television,

    to the broken screams of professional politicians,

    to the empty glories of you assholes…

    And I say goodbye to the fictional world of the global village,

    to the diets to keep in top shape

    to whom always speaks of a triumphant future

    and to any undertaking of this triumphant century,

    to the magical fashion of oriental religions

    that in our parts only hide empty thoughts,

    to the flashy characters on talk-shows

    that squeak a new “truth” every hour

    to the futile gossips about billionaire soccer players,

    to their models without humanity

    to the sempiternal beauties racing on calendars,

    to those who forget or ignores the humility…

    I, the son of a homemaker and a clerk,

    grown up among the ignorant wise of the mountains

    that knew Dante of by heart and improvised poetry,

    I, grown up on chestnuts and alfalfa,

    I, always a moment makes for an urbanised countryman,

    with two cents for elementary and one for university,

    but always a thought for that unforgotten country

    where even today I can find four cents of civilisation…

    I say farewell to those with arrogance hiding behind a finger,

    those who do not choose, do not take part, is cautious

    or randomly chooses for the spur of the moment

    always taking care to fill their belly

    and I say farewell to tragic comedies of whitewashed tombs,

    to the waxes and wigs for the ladies,

    lamps and dyes of the eternal non-aged,

    to the world made out of pimps and whores by the hour,

    to declares himself of the left wing and democratic

    but is friends with everyone because you never know,

    and even then for who is right wing and has his merits and is sympathetic

    and is also fundamentalist to avoid trouble

    to this horizon of businessmen and crooks

    full of dwarfs, dancers and songs,

    lotteries, the only faith to hope for…

    In the year ’99 of our life

    I, jester worth nothing, but displeased,

    here too I sing with exhausted words,

    with a roar that becomes bleating,

    but to you I dedicate these little words

    subtending only to a former vice

    only hoping that you won’t take this as a joke,

    you, hypocritical listener, my alike…

    my friend…

    4 Comments »

    19 luglio 2012

    SPORTWEEK DREAMS THE LAST: LUCY&CHRISTINA

    …and here we are for the last editorial of the sportweek special swimsuit edition already out since more than a month.

    After photographing elisabetta canalis in the Caribbean sun and tatsiana barbashova in the shade I thought hard on what to do next to create something new.

    Sun done.

    Shadow done.

    Sun.

    Shadow.

    Sun… shadow… darkness!

    So then I shot our last two models, the greek Christina Stefanidi and the polish Ludwika Chichecka at night, with the flash. However I do believe that a summer midnight swim is a great classic, and that it gives a warm and summer sensation perhaps even more than shooting in full sun.

    Here is the shoot:

    We also did a little interview with the two models, and took a “free” image:

    A few backstage photos by Daria Longinotti:

    And in the end a backstage vide, shot and edited by Pasquale Ettorre:

    1 Comment »

    19 luglio 2012

    BEN HARPER AND HOW TO TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH AT A CONCERT

    Great concert tonight by the greatest Ben Harper. I have always loved and love unconditionally this great californian artist, that really knows how to magically fuse rock, with blues and even reggae. His thousand guitars are always expanding melodies into a powerful force.

    The new band that accompanies him is fantastic, different from the one in the video above: now there are four kids apparently nerd, wearing Levi’s 501/vans/oxford shirt with a white shirt underneath and absolutely zero rock attitude but when they start playing… BADABAM… such technique and rhythm and depth and really crazy power: well done!

    And, speaking of concerts, I take this opportunity to draw the three rules of documenting a concert with the iPhone, as everybody does:

    1)  the flash must be switched off, always. Otherwise you photograph the back of the heads in front of you and our great Ben will be lost on a black stage.

    2)  Videos must be taken horizontally. Have you ever seen a a video or a  movie shot vertically?!? Videos are shot only and exclusively in HORIZONTAL.

    3)  And in any case, instead of wasting time taking pictures and filming your band cant you just enjoy the show and simply watch and listen?

    8 Comments »

    13 luglio 2012

    GODARD THE BEST

    I’ve already spoken about it in the past, but the homages to Godard are renewed every minute!

    So here is a refresher:

    The original:

    The version of the fashion group NOUVELLE VAGUE

    A version by DIESEL

    And finally GODARD’s quote by DIOR in a commercial for the rest totally inspired by VADIM (whatch at 2 minutes)

    2 Comments »

    9 luglio 2012

    ARLES 2012

    It is always useful, regenerating and interesting, the opening week of thee Arles photography festival.

    More like it you know what is nice? To see closely that the thing we deal with so much love, photography, is treated with equal love by intelligent and educated people and above all by serious organisations. To come from a country where to be a photographer means to have attributed to oneself the usual three responsibilities (I’ve never told you about them?!? What! In real life this is my best! When you tell someone that you are a photographer their first reaction is that they ask you if you have a shop that sells film rolls. At the  first denial of this option they move onto the second option and ask you if you shoot at weddings. At this further denial and after you have said – with an inevitable approximation – that you are a fashion photographer their faces light up, as if suddenly they have understood it all, and they emit the sentence: you take pictures at fashion shows! When you tell them no, you have never taken a picture at a fashion show in your life at that point embarrassment/delusion/astonishment are printed on the face of the person speaking to you, that is convinced of not having the faintest idea of what you do…)

    To come from this place, as I was saying, and arrive in France (where moreover photography was invented here, lets not forget that…) to find institutions capable to understand our “art” is humiliating and comforting at the same time.

    Ultimately: a place to go if you love photography, a must.

    A place where (even!) photography is treated like a sacred thing:

    Then Arles, like all the villages in Provence, is beautiful:

    It is even possible to watch the corrida on television in the bars, without having to go in the arena:

    Photography is present everywhere, indeed in the official circuit of the festival, as well as the off circuits, but also in the street:

    You can even discover that the photometer really exists! (by the way: -10 points if you have never been to Arles):

    There is a high risk of collapsing due to fatigue and heat. But with certainty: there will always be a photographer that will witness the fact. Or even there will be a photographer that will photograph the photographer that is witnessing the fact:

    Ok, but lets get to the core: the photographer.

    I saw some great material. A lot. And a lot of really interesting authors.

    I would like to mention two of my favourites.

    The first one is more “commercial”. Extraordinary fantasy, inventive, the capacity to amaze by telling really simple yet magnificent stories. I am speaking of Gregarie Alexandre

    The second author is Isabelle le Minh. It is impossible to describe in words the highly educated universe (in two captions she even cited Alighiero Boetti and Ugo Mulas!) and extreme depth that this artist has created. A visionary world that confronts the territory of perception with the stimuli and consequences as unpredictable as destabilising. A rich and fascinating world:

    2 Comments »

    5 luglio 2012

    TPW 2012

    Last week to take part in the TPW classic summer workshop, in program from the 29th of July in Tuscany.

    You know what?

    Don’t sign up.

    Its not fun at all.

    You suffer.

    You touch arguments that you don’t want to touch.

    You change and nobody is ever happy changing.

    You cry a lot and laugh very little.

    Its not a holiday.

    There are plenty of workshops for a few bucks with naked lassies waiting for you. Go to those.

    Really, its better that way.

    Don’t come to my workshop.

    Because I want people that want to get involved, as I get involved.

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    In the image above Francesca Checchina Cortevesio photographed by me during the TPW 2010

    12 Comments »

    4 luglio 2012

    FROM A GREAT ART DIRECTOR

    Hello Settimio, it was a great pleasure to meet you in Florence and I haven’t forgotten your proposal to write about the famous shooting in Cape Town. Not being sure on the tone, the length and the use I’ve attached the text to this email instead of posting it directly, so you decide what to do with it, if anything.

    A hug and see you soon

    Alessio Ranallo

    This is a photograph by Settimio Benedusi, taken a while ago for a fashion campaign. Really nice.

    Composition, location, models, styling, even the prop is carefully studied and the lighting is the one and only that Cape Town, where the photo was taken, delivers. Contrary to the trending madness, a backstage video was not made. Therefore I do not have that typical footage of agitated assistants wielding light meters and reflective boards, makeup artists who retouch smiling, models that burst out into sudden laughter and everyone is making funny faces and funny poses. These are videos made to show the client how he has spent his money, as if the final result, in itself, wouldn’t be enough to justify it. A video like this, as I was saying, was not made for this production but if it existed it would NOT show the scenes mentioned above (not even the photographer-art director pair examining, shoulder to shoulder, the layout extending their arm pointing with the index finger somewhere on set) because what happened that day was very different from the normal routine of a shooting. I wish to tell the tale, seeing that I was there, because it reflects on some of the unpublished behaviours of our Settimio, as well as some basic issues of photography, for the peruse of professionals and amateurs who follow the blog. If we had shot a backstage video you would have seen that the convening of the staff, rather than the canonical 9am – or perhaps 8, since the location was distant – was set, comfortably, for 10 o’clock (and already here I began to have my doubts… ). If that “behind the scenes” was circulating on the web it would show that the make up artists was combing and was doing the make up, but without smiling too much because he wasn’t surrounded by too many people. Yes, because the rest of the crew, giving into the photographer’s cool-hunter approach (and in his company) they had left in the meantime to go to the cool-market-only-open-on-a-Sunday, right to pass the time while waiting for make up. And because lunchtime was around the corner, they had the opportunity to enjoy some local organinc specialties, after making some arrangements with the make up artist and the model, by then ready, to meet on location in one hour from then. Luckily the video was never shot because the client would have had a fit in seeing the photographer, who arrived on location at about 2 o’clock, did not hesitate to take a nap on the armchair with the whole crew waiting on him. At about 3 o’clock, with zero images in the bag, as the art director and account manager I asked myself if it wasn’t my duty to go berserk and make a hysterical scene, but the way in which Rossano, Settimio’s assistant/squire, was showing me the palms of his hand and closing his eyes led me to the “zen calm” option. At 4 o’clock, raising respectfully my index finger, I asked Rossano if it wasn’t necessary to point out to the photographer that there were about a dozen shots left to do before 6 o’clock so he then, with a few pokes and expert words woke up Benedusi, whom emerged energetic and motivated from his sleep he ordered, stretching, the armchair to be brought on set. And here began the Settimio-show: in a sort of creative trance 12 beautiful images where produced in less than 2 hours. How was this made possible? Thanks to the knowledge of the cornerstone of creative photography. Above all the light. In all the (brief) time during the job not one light meter nor a reflector board was seen going around. Of course the light over there is unique and perfect but what a difference with those photographers constantly busy checking the light meter! Master the technique (if you are not as good as Settimio exercise by doing tests) and you will be able to focus your energies on creativity and on your aesthetic and narrative intentions. Then the composition. Being able to cope well with a good location is also avoiding excessive “changes of situations”. Subtle changes in the point of view, if the context is interesting, reinforce the perception of the environment and the consistent sense of the story’s aesthetic. Useless to try too many different “backgrounds”. Finally, the management of the model. And here the famous backstage video would have been useful. Because Settimio has the capacity to make his subjects do exactly what he wants. He sets an intense relationship, almost physical (in the Christian sense) with the models that seem to become puppets of which he pulls the strings. The secret is simple: give clear guidance. It sounds simple, but one of the differences between a mediocre photographer and a good one is that the first addresses the model with vague, useless and misleading requests. Words like “be more natural”, “too fashion!” related to the pose to be taken can create uncertainties to some adolescent East European or Amazonian meanings hardly translatable into movements of the body, at least for those that didn’t graduate at New York’s “Actor Studio” or at Milan’s Scuola di Teatro Piccolo. Not to mention the pearls heard on some sets (I swear) like “too old lady!” to a 6 years old model. Or the more obscure “too editorial” and “less catalogue” of which I’ve never understood the meaning of it. No! With the models – without exceptions – need only minimal indications but precise, like “raise your chin”, “look right”, “lift up your hand of so many centimetres”. Of course to do so you have to have a clear idea of what you want from the pose and attitude of the model but we have already said, isn’t it, that this is what makes the difference between photographers. Working this way, free from uncertainties and in full control of the set you can concentrate on the fundamental creative goal, finishing in a time well below the average. Of course, it is more difficult to shoot the the famous backstage videos where the photographer fiddles with the art director in front of the laptop or scrutinises the sky to predict the next passage of the clouds which will change the light but the client might appreciate the work for the final result more than for the staging around it. And by the way the South African organic food is really good!

    9 Comments »

    4 luglio 2012

    FSA

    Its not about copying.

    Its about having the culture to tell what you want to tell in the best way: in this case the jeans.

    And what better way than to talk about the quintessential leader of the workers, inspired by Paul Strand, and then perhaps the most important movement in the world of photography and that is the FSA?

    Photo by Walker Evans 1936

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    Photo by Paul Strand 1951

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    Photo by Peter Lindbergh 1994

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    Photo by Diver@Aguilar styling Filippo La Bruna per RIDERS 2012
    2 Comments »

    2 luglio 2012

    O/PEN PICS

    Tomorrow, Tuesday the 3rd of July from 18:00

    Paolo Ranzani, Marino Ravani, Angelo Cucchetto, Roberto Tomesani and the undersigned

    at obbiettivo reporter (Via Natale Battaglia 34  Milan)

    The subject of the talks will be “photography and language”

    It will be the launch of the competition for photographic culture’s O/PEN PICS.

    Free entry.

    See you there!

    6 Comments »