H.M. goes to Arles

date » 11-07-2024 22:46

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tags » amnesia, molaison, h.m., photobook, photography, storytelling, arles, luma, dummy, award,

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It's difficult to concentrate in very few lines the mix of emotions coming from seeing my last photo book H.M. showcased in Arles for the LUMA Dummy Book Award.
Thank you for all passing by, giving me feedback, showing interest and opening doors to new collaborations. It has been a real honor being selected among 200 books coming from all over the world.
This is just one of the never ending beginnings, a segway to keep exploring, learning and improving in this beautiful journey.
Ciao Arles, grazie di tutto!

p.s. a special thanks goes to Massimo Mastrorillo and David Mozzetta who have helped me on the editing and design phase.


A story to tell_#5 Antonella Monzoni


I have always thought every single event is linked to the one just coming before and those ones immediately following. A kind of chain of events where you can catch the true meaning only when you try to connect all the dots.
Especially with Photography. I start running a project and eventually I discover some technique, places, people that bring me to something (or somewhere) else in a continuum where I keep learning and feeling realized.
Why do I tell you this story?
First of all because it is something I truly believe and I encourage you all to keep walking in Photography, study and learn and, eventually, all dots will be connected and you will find your own way.
Furthermore I take the opportunity to tell you a real life example of what I am just saying:
I have a subscription to a photography magazine called "Gente di Fotografia". I really like it and I subscribe largely in advance the forthcoming issue for the following year. 1 year ago I went to Mia Photo Fair (a Milan based fair of contemporary photography) and, as usual, I do my subscription to that magazine. It happens to me I meet a lady, lately I would have discovered her name was Antonella Monzoni, member of the editorial board of the magazine. We start chatting and I get my own magazine. One year after I am in Parma to attend Colornophotolife a photofestival based in Colorno, close to Parma. I was there with Marylena and we both are strongly attracted from a photographic book named "Madame". Within the book there are so many "dots" part of our common life, the reason why we are both connected to those pictures: a story of a French woman (Henriette Niépce), strongly charming, getting immediately the attention of Mary, being her half French and in love with those atmospheres. There is also a nice link between the origin of the Photography (Henriette Niépce is the great grandaughter of Niecephore Niéce, one of the founding fathers of the Photography). But there is also a nice reportage of a beautiful house on the countryside, like the one we are looking for and willing to buy to change our life. After having paid the book, the author comes to the shopping point and, guess what, she is Antonella, the lady of Gente di Fotografia I just mentioned before.
As usual I ask her to sign the book, as I am always doing it with any author I meet along the path. I also ask her a kind of advice, as am I used to do with any photographer and I discover she started her career in photography quite late in her life (approx when I started) and she is specifically focused on humanistic reportage, expressing through an intimist style. She is expressing what I am try to, she started late as I did and she has a received several recognition you can find, jointly wih her works, in this website.
"Ferita Armena", "Madame", "Volevo essere Mina", "Il matrimonio di Luba, Ucraina", "Lalibela" are just some of the work I strongly encourage you to have a look as I also strong encourage you to look backward, follow your dots and build your own world in Photography or anywhere else.

"Andrea su questo pianeta" - Exhibition

Hi! Nice to share with you I have been selected to attend "Festival della Fotografia Etica" within the OFF section to present "Andrea su questo pianeta".
I am sure all of you know the story very well..but let me just give you a quick refresh:
"Andrea su questo pianeta" is the story on Andrea, my nephew, who I spent several months with, telling about his life, his habits, what he likes.
Andrea has a kind of disease within the autistic spectrum but he is also a guy that is able to teach you as a "Petit Prince" could do.
He is on this Planet to show you how easy things can play an important role on our own life. Sometimes we are in hurry and we do not even take care of what we love the most. We do not stop by thinking about essential things in our day-by-day.
Andrea is on this Planet for this specific purpose!
You will find this photographic exhibition from October, 5th to October, 27th to Teatro delle Vigne, Via Cavour 66, Lodi (MI).
I wish to find you all there. It will also be the opportunity to buy the photographic book that will help to give a donation to Cascina Biblioteca, Cooperativa Sociale", a special community taking care of Andrea and other guys and ladies as him.
So please join, come to visit and do not forget:
"L'essenziale è invisibile agli occhi"


A story to tell_#4 Aaron Schuman


Few days ago I went to Micamera to assist to a book-signing event. Aaron Schuman was presenting his last piece of work named "slant".
As soon as arrived we immediately went downstairs in the cellar of the shop. Several rows of chair, a bit of humidity and a slide projector were waiting for us.
Aaron started a authentic lesson of "how to build a photography project". Indeed he told us about his childhood, growing up in a small village of Massachussets, Amherst, before moving to England where he currently lives and work.
He told us a story I want to share with you since I think it's an inspiring input on how to translate something catching your attention into a photography project.
Aaron showed us some abstracts of a local newspaper of Amherst where you can find, on the very last pages, police announcements reporting strange or dangerous event happening in the small village. Those articles are very funny and, at the same time, cold-hearted reports, aseptic chronicles where policemen are literally quoting strange events reported from Amherst citizen:

2.48am an Ann Whalen Apartments resident awoke to find someone on her balcony looking into her bedroom. The woman later told police she thinks she may have been dreaming prior to calling 911"

Aaron decided to collect those articles. He also involved his parents, still leaving in Amherst, to send him, on a regular basis, those cuttings of newspaper.
At the beginning he was curios and fascinated about the way people are reporting facts, what's beneath the apparent stillness of a boring village. He thought how to translate those pieces of paper into a photography story. So he decided to start a deep research on photographers used to combine text with photos. He found several approach to it: from the journalistic reportage of Weegee to something more poetic such as Alec Soth is his book of 2015, Gathered Leaves.
And here it comes the first important takeout to be kept in mind: no matter what you are photographing you should always study and learn from others. In each and every photo you take you put all your books, film and music you encountered along your life.
Now back to the story I want to tell...
He then explained us the role of text: either to describe the image or a poem to juxtapose to the picture, reinforcing each other. Eventually he decided to follow the path of images where the subject is not exactly matching with the text but, on a certain extent, those images are evoking a possibility, a different view, sometimes a surreal representation of the article reported. This decision has not been take by chance or simply because it was nice to put it like this. This decision has its roots, again, in the childhood of Aaron. Indeed this small village where he grew up is the same place where Emily Dickinson born in 1830. Emily Dickinson, one of the most spokesperson of modern lyric poetry, was famous for her own style made of asymmetric rhymes, emphatic digressions, use of capital letters, a distinctive sign of her work. And here it comes the link and the decision. Rhymes of Emily are named "slant" exactly because those verses are not perfectly sounding each other but there is something dystonic.
So that's the reason why of the name of the book.
I have been very impressed on how Aaron has been able to tell us a story about his origins, his childhood, the place where he grew up through the architecture of this photo + text project.

I spent before leaving few minutes with him chatting a bit about his view of photography. He gave me his advice on how to carry on my passion (one day I could make a story around all the inscriptions I am collecting on photography books...).

Before leaving I wanna share with you a short abstract of an interview done by Aaron to Alec Soth. I found it very appropriate on the way I live photography and about the way this book has been made:

"I long for stories.
They satisfy.
Novels and movies satisfy,
but photographs often leave me
feel like something is missing
I'm trying to work on this

"Addormentati in fretta che io ti aspetto" - Exhibition

date » 05-05-2019 10:56

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T H A N K Y O U !!
Yesterday we have had our exhibition in Milan where I presented my work "Addormentati in fretta che io ti aspetto", a intimate research of my grandmother memories presented through a 35mm slides projection and an installation of objects and old pictures coming directly from the garret of my grandmother in Garessio (CN), a place where half of my origins come from.
It's always emotional when a project come to an end. Ideas become reality, they turn in physical prints, installations and everything gets a dreaming atmosphere.
Everything has been possible thanks to our "muse" Silvia Bigi and our team of friends and photographers: Antonio, Matteo, Simona and Massimo, Margherita and Nicolò forming the Collettivo Milano (jointly with me.
Friends, curious, people passionate about Photography-
A deep thank you goes also to Punto Foto Group that allowed me to convert my digital files into 35mm slides, a unique service in Milan. I strongly recommend to all of you ().
Now it is time to think about future projects...Jonines is almost one month to come..
The picture I like the most?
The next one I am going to take..


A story_to_tell_#3 Andrei Liankevich


It's already two years in a row I am trying to organize a trip in Lithuania to attend a Midsummer celebration, called "Jonines".
Jonines is a pagan tradition, happening in many places in Europe, mainly Northern-Eastern countries but not only there. It's a way to welcome the Summer solstice (June 23rd, the brightest day in the year with the highest number of sunlight hours). It's made of dances, rituality, folks customes starting late in the day and lasting all night, the shortest night of the year.
Few days ago I went to Micamera, one of the (or probably "the most") important photography bookshop in Milan. When entering, just on the right, there was a small exhibition and, among of the pictures, I found Andrei Liankevich book called "Pagan". It's like when you have the feeling things do not happen by chance. It was there "waiting" for me. A strong B&W collection of the different pagan celebrations and traditions in Belarus. I really appreciate it not only for the emotional connection with the experience I am going to live shortly but also because I found interesting the editing, mixing beast fetish and powerful human portraits shot in grainy films. Nice way to mix out of focus people (who are they? is it all about us? will our identity be lost?) and a constant love for the Nature, our mother Earth, reminding me some visual Haiku of Rinko Kawauchi (pssss..have a look to a story to tell #1 on Rinko).
After having bought and reviewed several times the book, I wrote to Andrei. We exchanged mails and I discovered his works you can find here Andrei Liankevich is a Belarusian photographer, born 1981 in Grodno and based in Minsk (Belarus).
Andrei Liankevich has presented his photographic oeuvre in more than 60 exhibitions in Europe, Asia and the USA; e.g. collective exhibitions such as “She has female name” was presented at the Museum of Modern Art (Vienna, Austria) and at the Zachta Gallery in Warshaw (Poland), and he showed “Unknown Country” photo project as part of the Third Month of European Photography in Uferhallen, Berlin (Germany).
Going through his website I found particularly inspiring Goodbye, Motherland // 2011, more specifically the idea to combine pictures of War scenes with pieces of fabrics. Andrei gave me his own view of it:
"The idea how people after the horror of the war come back to "normal" life and create aesthetically beautiful crafts makes me think for a long time. The fact, that folk traditional crafts are made by people , who killed, who saw dead bodies or survived from hunger. How this two completely different sides of life comes together is the question without answer for me. If we'll try to tough "Memory" - the situation has the solution: man's memory blocks negative memoirs not to make us crazy, to continue "normal" life- this is how evolution instruments work. That is why i decided to combine Belarus traditional ornaments from the crafts made by people who have seen war (WWI or WWII) with USSR war archive photos."
Very inspiring!. Ready to start for my trip in Lithuania, full of new ideas and with a new "friend" of mine. Thank you Andrei!

A story to tell_#2 Alain Laboile

date » 29-01-2019 00:05

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tags » alain, laboile, biography, photography, french, photographer, japan, storytelling, fawn, aurores, family, cats,


Today the story I want to tell you is about the power of dreams.
Everything started back in July 2018. I was in Arles, visiting one of the most important festival of Photography. I was there with some friends of mine and we were really breathing photography in each and every corner of the village (I really suggest you to be there once in life to live an immersive experience on photography). It was very hot and we were walking around since the morning. We stopped for a while on a small square where a local bookshop was selling some old books (photography books, of course) and new ones, limited edition hand-written by authors.
I found there "Aurores", one of the not-so-common color photography book of Alain.
I studied a bit of this French author, born on May 1, 1968 in Bordeaux, France.
He is then a photographer but, first, he is father of six.

In 2004, as he needed to put together a portfolio of his work as a sculptor, he acquired a camera, and thus developed a taste for macrophotography, spurred by his passion for entomology.
Later on, he pointed his lens towards his growing family which became his major subject : a life on the edge of the world, where intemporality and the universality of childhood meet.

Now you will ask me: "wasn't it a story about power of dreams? What about Alain?"

He is the human being proof we (everybody of us) could turn our reality into dreams. No matter the age you have. You could (should) start today building it.
One day I will visit him in his home in Bordeaux. I really would like to see and live the beauty of the mess of his masterpiece of family.
I still remember his own words when we met during "Le temps retrouvé" personal exhibition on November 29 Arts in progress Gallery, in Milan.
I have asked him "what do you think could be the best advice for a beginner, like me". I remember I asked him this simple question in a very bad french.

"voyager léger"

"this is my warmest recommendation for you:"

"voyager léger"

"Get rid of anything is useless and focus on what really matters."

I hope one day I will meet him again to tell him I have been able to put in practice his own suggestion.

[Note of the author; you can find some pictures of mine when I met him in Milan. I was so happy that I started shaking my hands as I am always doing when I am nervous. Marylena, my love, took a picture of it. Without knowing it she has been able to capture the real essence. She has been able to "voyager léger". Chapeau!]

A story to tell_#1 Rinko Kawauchi


First time I "met" Rinko Kawauchi it was one year ago, more or less, while visiting an exhibition in Carla Sozzani art gallery.
I have been fascinated by the tenderness of images and cover of the book Illuminance.
During that period (and also nowadays, by the way..) I was focusing on the heart of capturing simple things and getting rid of anything not "useful" to convey messages I was thinking about.
I realized afterwards that Rinko Kawauchi photography is all about "haiku".
"Haiku" is a kind of minimalist poetry, meditation done through simple sentences, telling the Nature and the day-by-day surrounding us.
Moving from poetry to Photography the concept does not change so much.
Rinko is able to transmit that sense of simplicity, joy for basic things, power of nature, birth, existence, spirit.

When I travelled in Tokyo, summer of 2018, I desperately tried to met her in person without succeeding. I think (I tried to convince myself...)she is not willing to spend time with strangers. She really want to focus on what really matters.
That's the picture I imagine of this Japanese photographer, shooting mostly in 6×6 format. It's easy to recognize her pictures: mastering natural light she is able to give back smooth portion of her world.

“It’s not enough that the photograph is beautiful. If it doesn’t move my heart, it wont move anyone else’s heart.”-Rinko Kawauchi
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