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  • 30 gennaio 2013

    GIANNI BERENGO GARDIN AT TRE OCI

    tomorrow opens in venice, at the beautiful TRE OCI venue, the exhibition of one of the giants of photography, gianni berengo gardin.

    unfortunately I won’t be able to make it, but I highly recommend you go there: for the great gianni, for the TRE OCI and, last but not least, for the unusual venice giudecca.

    I propose again these three photos that I took this last summer at dolce berengo, a little video, which I think it is instructive, and an article by erwitt today on repubblica.

    if france has HCB we have GBG!

    GO BERENGO!!!!

    4 Comments »

    28 gennaio 2013

    PHOTOGRAPHIC MAGAZINES

    photographic magazine have been important to me since when I was about 15/16 years old. like a lot. they have certainly contributed to the little or much I know about photography.

    in those days especially PROGRESSO FOTOGRAFICO was incredibly good: coming from a humanistic culture and finding someone who would approach photography with the same culture was, in my memory, disruptive. I still remember perfectly well an issue dedicated to “figures of speech” in photography. figures of speech! the awareness that the rules in languages could be applied to the image made me understand what needed to be understood, that photography is a language..

    I remember like it was yesterday, and I remember it with great emotions, the day in which, after having written the letter by hand and sent it in a stamped envelope, I found it published on my favourite magazine! and then the answer.. <3

    as you might have noticed a few posts below evidently in those days I enjoyed writing (and reading, the two are inevitably linked!) more than nowadays. this is the published letter

    I am aware of the current strong crisis in the publishing world, and therefore also in the one dedicated to photography: I do not think it is possible anymore to make magazines like they used to (another great magazine that I’d like to remember is PHOTO, that in spite of being very franco-centric, it was very nice).

    there is a lot of crisis but the magazines are there and I think it is right to buy them and read them. this month I gave my modest contribution to the magazine FOTOGRAFARE, with the cover and an editorial inside.

    thanks to elisa contessotto for the nice interview!

    10 Comments »

    23 gennaio 2013

    ONE, NO ONE AND ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND

    for quite sometime, when I do a casting, I like it, in the end, I take my iPhone and snap a little photo with her comp card in front of her face.

    I like the idea of hiding a person with the character, telling that the person is ONE, that her media representations are ONE THOUSAND, and deep down she is and should be a model (in the original meaning of the word, paradigm, example..) just for NO ONE.

    5 Comments »

    18 gennaio 2013

    WE RECEIVE AND GLADLY PUBLISH

    as they say in serious magazines, we receive and gladly publish:

    Dear Settimio

    I am milanese, but above all I am from riccione by adoption.

    I am 34 years old and have been attending this city since thirty years where my family and I are very attached.

    I have only partially seen some photos that as in all your work they document reality… and for those who like me is a psychotherapist in contact with the world of psycosis, the reflection of reality and fantasy is our everyday life.

    often I recourse to your pictures as a very powerful and effective narrative tool to help patients to tell and retell their stories.

    I would really like to buy your album of riccione autographed by you. it would be an important object that somehow also tells the story of my family, past, present and future.

    I would be very grateful if you or someone of your staff were able to meet my request.

    thank you and forgive me if I’ve bothered you.

    GC

    perhaps (perhaps?!?) it has little to do, but I am going to add a little photograph I took with my iPhone and a note

    photography has a HUGE quality: it’s sincere.

    yes, I am strongly convinced that photography is sincere.

    in the sense that one can write that he likes this and that, but then photographs really what he likes.

    and then they say they like schopenhauer, but if you shoot crap it only means that, in reality, you like crap…

    3 Comments »

    16 gennaio 2013

    ONE DAY WITH ELISABETTA CANALIS

    there are millions of photographs of models or famous celebrities attending fashion shows, all the same.

    every season, when I approach the milan fashion week for the corriere I think of how to resolve the situation in a new and original way, avoiding the usual photographs which everyone has seen already.

    this year it was easy! thanks to her kindness and availability, I followed elisabetta canalis for a whole day, host of two shows, DSQUARED E DIESEL BLACK GOLD.

    actually one of the first photographs was of me taken by her, with her iphone:

    then I took many of her, with my canon.

    These are my favourites:

    all the others and the story about the day on my blog of the corriere della sera!

    3 Comments »

    14 gennaio 2013

    RICCIONE: THE BOOK

    I just received the book commissioned by the city of riccione for the 90th anniversary of the founding of the city. I know too well, reading around on the internet, that this publication has caused a lot of controversy, on whether it was opportune making it and the quality of the result.

    normally I’m not so much into justifying my actions, but I believe it is appropriate in this case, given that public money has been spent (in truth, as far as I know, more or less, the project was sponsored by a bank …) .

    but let’s talk about my work. I was asked to recount the city of riccione in the now, in the present, in the present, in 2012.

    I gave it a lot of thought, how to solve it. we discussed about it a lot and talked, with stefano and denis, the two people who accompanied me on this adventure. in the end we thought the best thing was to let the people talk: their faces and their clothing would have told the story of an italian city in 2012. if you think about it, Pico’s photo that ends the book, apparently taken in the 70s, reveals his historic with the girls’ clothing, who then will have  seemed – to the respectable eyes of the contemporaries – two crazies.

    here is the photo in question:

    it was decided then where to point my lens, towards the people, photographed in 7 landmarks of the city (the beach, the spa, the acquafan, the city centre shopping, avenue ceccarini, the historic centre and the coccoricò)

    I’ve already written in the past about how, at that point, I decided to shoot it, I’ll repeat it now: trying to be as neutral and invisible as possible. I know that photography is NEVER neutral, but I did my best so that it was as much as possible.

    I never wanted to, even for a second, take a good photograph: and believe me, it would have been very, very easy. I’ve never built up any scene, I’ve never dramatised anything.

    I wanted to do the simplest thing that photography can do, to document. I read somewhere that I didn’t even bothered removing the rubbish on the floor in the photos at the disco, but it was there! and yes, I am a little ashamed (for treason), but while taking the pictures I had him in mind.

    these photos are not at all retouched, nothing for nothing. they tell the reality, that IS the reality. you may not like it, but then you do not like the contemporary, which is a theme any of us faces daily.

    the before is always the most romantic, but the now is increasingly true.

    thanks to denis curti, stefano bellavista, simone bruscia margherita cenni and the whole town of riccione with its mayor massimo pironi.

    3 Comments »

    9 gennaio 2013

    THE HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY

    I found, at the bottom of a drawer of youth, an execution (it was a free theme I suppose) whose title was “ photography: document or art”.

    I am not sure how old I was, it doesn’t have a date, but I was at the gymnasium, so 15/16 years old. perhaps 17.

    we have “deciphered” and transcribed it.

    here it is:

    Photography, since its inception, has been drawn into two misunderstandings or prejudices that constantly influenced its course throughout history.

    These misconceptions are the objectivism and what claims to be impossible to create a true art because of an alleged contamination of the technique and mechanics that are the basis of the photographic process itself.

    These are two assumptions that have proven false over time but still possess a number of proselytes: about the supposed impossibility of making art because of mechanical contamination there are many who say it is impossible that there must be an intervention by the photographer in the process and that this must be reduced to a single passive presence.

    I would answer the question by saying only that the technique is essential for an autonomous discourse, but it is also essential to an original vision and above all personal that would serve technology to our will.

    For example, Raffaello says “Learn your craft, the trade is not enough to become an artist, it is true, but the trade [the technique] is necessary. Do not just eat to live as a man, but you can not live if you do not eat. Art in Italian means first of all trade”.

    Therefore the technique is necessary, which may however be subjectively filtered as Rinholds tells it: “In spite of the mechanical means of reproduction involving a number of objective reasons, there were many photographers who have shown their photographic style. These people already know what they want and leaving their original idea is carried through the entire life-cycle until the final stage of printing.”

    This first prejudice that I have briefly analysed actually can be found when you are in front of certain stupid photo amateurialism, faced with a situation that you really see the photographer interlocked with certain temptations of technical virtuosity that lead him away from his real and personal aspirations.

    About the objectivity of photography the problem is more complex and involves all the progress that photography has had in its existence.

    In fact, “objective” can stand for “faithful” and this syllogism has led to many misunderstandings not only in the photojournalistic field but also in the artistic one. In fact, most people have always thought, consciously or more often unconsciously “photography is objective, and is faithful to reality and so all you see in the picture is exactly as it existed in the photograph.”

    This bias towards photography was particularly felt at the time of its birth and throughout the 1800s while in our century it has had more than one floor decisive move coming within the limits of the so-called artistic photography.

    Let me explain it better: as photography was born it surprised immensely with its ability (supposed) to see the reality as it appears. In fact, the picture found its first practical applications as well as in portraiture, which has its own particular social motivation, not so much in reportage but in the document: the exotic document of facts, unknown or far away places.

    Thus we see, for example O’Sullivan wander in America to show the most peculiar and curious aspects, as well as W. H. Jackson or R. Fenton photographing the Crimean War or various photographers from Europe to explore the far eastern lands or the wonders of Egypt.

    The photographs these photographers brought home amazed the public that became even more convinced of the miraculous power of pictures: this belief developed into a school of thought that is still alive today and would like the photograph only as a document of reality. Of our lives.

    All studies critics now insist only on this: paradigmatic example is the American critic S. Sontag that makes this thought her bases.

    Even the so-called artistic photograph and the one not taken under precise commissions is analysed as if subjected to this standard and great photographers are analysed solely as documentary filmmakers.

    This concept leads Sontag to sociological considerations that I think can not be valid for any type of photography: here is an example of what she writes in her essay “On Photography”: “Each photograph is a memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in mortality, vulnerability and mutability of another person or thing “and still” looking at a photograph means first think how much younger I was (or it was) then. Photography is the inventory of mortality. Just a flick of the finger to grant a moment posthumous irony. The photographs show people who are there for a specific age in their lives”. Or it confirms that photography is giving a prevalence, an importance to something over another.

    All this is true, absolutely true, but be careful, only for one type of photography (which is the most widespread at all levels): a photograph taken to astonish in its contemplation and, above all, to astonish others; the beautiful picture, nice to look at, but everything in a passive and not active because the photograph won’t be pleasant and beautiful per se, but the object photographed (concept also well mentioned by Turroni in his essay “Guide the photographic criticism “).

    The normal and calm amateur photographer photographs not so much to express his true inner drive, but to have a safe and decisive witness of his vision of a given fact or a certain something. And so in ten minutes he’ll go from shooting fiery red sunsets to photographing old ladies with “many fine wrinkles”: all things that are not related if not by the desire to surprise and amaze the photographer.

    But there is another photography, very different from that analysed by Sontag. In fact the complete opposite. Its the photograph that we can truly say that the great A. Stieglitz invented, the American photographer who lived in the early ‘900. He created the concept of “equivalents” that not only precisely led to an original photo but also to a total new way of thinking and doing photography.

    The concept of “equivalents” is simple: when Stieglitz, for example, was photographing clouds, those clouds were not for him the closing point of his photographic investigation but the beginning, since they represented something different, abstract, on another level.

    The photograph became true expression, true potential, active and creative, real investigative tool, we can also say, philosophical.

    Stieglitz fact, for example, said: “I was born in Halsocken. I’m an American. Photography is my passion. The search for truth my obsession. “

    Our in this is very similar to painting in fact in his own gallery, the “291”, introduces the avant-garde painting of his time.

    Stieglitz’s photography is the one on which Sontag throws herself onto who, always in her essay “On Photography” talking about Evans writes: “Evans wanted his photographs were cultured, authoritative, and transcendent. But since the moral universe of the thirties is no longer ours, today these adjectives are almost unbelievable. No one can imagine how a picture can be authoritative. No one asks anymore for it to be cultured. No one understands anymore how anything, let alone a photograph, can be transcendent …. “

    Thus two distinct types of photography are created, shall we say, one artistic and the other documentary.

    This division, however, is often not based on precise patterns while what I would like to achieve is to give schemes almost scientific to differentiate sharply the two sectors. To make this more streamlined lets call the first artistic photography A, while the second, the documentary one B.

    As a substantial division lets begin by saying that A is the pure expression of feelings and human passions, while B is a documentation of situations. If someone told me that even in B you could catch a glimpse of the feelings of the author of the photographs, I would answer to these objections by noting that these feelings surely are noticeable and detectable but only by reflection because of the way, the technique in which the photographer has photographed and therefore interpreted the given situation, but it is not a genuine expression, its criticism!

    Moving on, we will say that B is the killing of the photographed object (as R. Barthers argues) because it, once photographed and analysed by the viewer, is completely consumed, its function is exhausted.

    In A instead of the object is the starting point and thus it is vivification.

    As a consequence of these last considerations we also say that A captures the moment in which the object becomes the subject while the B captures the moment in which the subject becomes the object.

    In addition, we can also say that A brings out the emotions while B brings about the notions; also A represents situations that are totally unrecognisable and subjective because in this type of photography you photograph not to show others and themselves a something new or lived, but to express personal feelings that need only satisfy the author. In contrast, B represents situations which necessarily must be recognisable and objective.

    Another important consideration is that A does not have and should not present a situation as it is, but teases, alludes to trigger in receiver a VERY PERSONAL act of EMOTION. Instead, B does not tease at all but instead it tears decisions, it confronts well-defined facts that in their turn give precise convictions.

    On this point, for example, Fulvio Roiter says “photography does not have to refer, nor suggest, it must show with clarity.”

    If we now move on a plane of linguistic analysis also in this case we are faced with substantial differences between the two types of photography. First, we say that B is related to extraphotographic factors (language, culture, etc.) that profoundly affect reading, while A contains all morphological units. Therefore it is deduced that A is a unicum, with its own particular code, which is the photograph itself, while in B all photographs of the same sky are tied to a particular code. So we see then a very important thing ie that A is completely universal while b is universal only on a primary level. In A, the only thing you should be aware visually is what is represented in the primary level (for example, a man who has always lived in a cave will never be moved by the picture of a cloud, which he has never seen: in this case takes over the photographic document).

    Therefore we can deduce that A is the means of communication while B is a communication system and therefore language (see distinctions of Mounin). And while in A the primary and secondary level are the same, in B they coexist.

    We have seen then how diversified the two types of photography are. It is not simple to distinguish them, since it is said that a photograph does not belong to exactly one group or another and I think it is sufficiently useless to analyse it to put a photo in a particular section, albeit intermediate.

    However, it is absolutely necessary to make a judgment of this kind with regard to an author, to examine not only one picture but many that if they belong to B they will be linked by a single reading code, while if in A they will be together by a lack of code.

    Giving a judgment of value on the two types of doing and understanding photography taken into account may not make much sense, and it is certainly wrong to state categorically that a particular type of photography is better or worse than the other.

    But I will not refrain from mentioning a small excerpt from Zibaldone Leopardi: “The present, however it may be, can not be poetic, and the poetic, in one way or another it always finds itself consisting in the distance, in the undefined, in the vague “…

    14 Comments »

    7 gennaio 2013

    POSTCARDS FROM THE SEA

    a few days of the holiday spent by the sea, which I photographed at every hour, shooting and retouching with my iphone.

    PS 01: I am worried, is my passion for photography growing?!?

    PS 02: its true, I copied the title of the post…

    2 Comments »