In the Olympus Passion July 2020 issue you can find my article on Zuiko 75mm f1.8 lens with frames of crime-writer and playwright Sam Millar, Grammy awarded trumpeter Leon Kid Chocolate Brown, guitarist and singer Dave Blenkhorn, Black Lives Matter protest and more. ENJOY!
A photographer. A compact Leica. A house in the Marais, Paris. A musician-writer. The mountains of Morocco. A mask, one of the many masks of contemporary times. A vision: a comics character nominated at the 2020 Academy Awards. This is how the visual project “I JOKE, AND JOKE” was born.
FREE DOWNLOAD: I JOKE, AND JOKE
The crowd in the S.Siro South Stand moves and sings in unison, the team in heart and mind. But if you look closely at this three-dimensional mass, you can see the faces of the individual football supporters. Every face has a story. More than the football players’ performances, these faces have immediately attracted me and continue to attract me. These individual souls are the fuel of competition, but each also changes the dimension and profile of the mass. (All frames taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5)
Thanks to my friend rapper/actor/filmmaker Taiyo “HYST” Yamanouchi I had the chance to participate in a singer’s image change.
For his new album campaign, IndieJesto, Jesto, Hyst’s brother, not only chose to reappear on social networks with a completely different look, but he even changed musical genre shifting from rap to pop rock.
On a rainy November evening, I joined the crew led by HYST for the filming of a videoclip.
A quick briefing: they needed backstage shots in black and white and some “street” portraits, again in a high-contrast black and white; in short, they looked at creating a typical vintage atmosphere from other times.
The sets: a second-hand clothing store; a record store; the Navigli canal-sides; and a pub.
The characters: Jesto & friends, an acoustic guitar and pints of beers.
The film and photo crew: Me & HYST
Jesto’s natural attitude in his new skin made my work absolutely easy: I photographed the skin-changing live with my old FujiFilm X30 and I did it before the fans could realize what it would soon be.
Boats can remain in the harbor without sailors. Boats can be abandoned at the mercy of marine currents. But a sea-less boat must make people think. A ship with no sea attracts attention and suggests questions about its dry fate. Why does it lie there on dry land after a lifetime in the water? Who was its captain? Who were its sailors? And its passengers? The camera lens records the fate of these boats with no sea and tries to give them back a poetic fate. The camera lens imagines new ports and new sea routes for them. How many lives could these ships with no sea save?
All frames taken in Naxos, Greece, with Fuji X100 and Ricoh GX100
Storage could kill a frame. The mind of a photographer is always focused on shots to come. The shots then flee from memory until someone retrieves them. When Afterhours’ celebrative box set (book + 4 CDs) was released in 2017 I was deep in my photo projects so I hadn’t paid much attention to that record release dedicated to the band I had loved so much in the early 2000s. Two years later I bought the box set at a cheap price and I discovered that one of my shots had been included in the book.
The frame in question, taken in Milan, mid February 2003, portrayed the band in action at the Triennale Museum in Milan: it was a special live performance (2 sets) in the middle of an art installation inspired by Italian writer Italo Calvino’s book Città Invisibili. During the photo session (with a Pentax Espio) I took care to portray the scene comprehensively, showing the band really immersed in the art installation and in touch with the audience. Manuel Agnelli, the Afterhours frontman, appreciated my point of view and asked for prints for his personal archive. At the time I had some meetings and lunches with him because I was in contact with the indie label Afterhours signed with. That shot of the Afterhours’ Triennale performance is a lucky frame: it risked ending up lost in my photo archives but it was saved by a publishing project.
Below more pics from the Afterhours’ Triennale shows.
As a Jazz Ascona Festival press officer, I had the opportunity to meet many artists and chat with them. One evening while writing a press release, I was distracted by a spicy fragrance. While still trying to figure out where the good and intense fragrance came from, I heard the sound of a trumpet. It was a clear sound full of heart. The melody accompanied the growing perfume to perfection.
I stopped writing and I followed the fragrance & sound down to the basement. The darkness was lit by a light. The kitchen door was open. Pamela Pierre Brown, the Gourmet Sacred Soul Kitchen chef, was committed to the stove; a little further, her husband Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown saturated the scented gumbo air with the notes of his trumpet. That was my unrepeatable chance to capture the quintessence of jazz: a greeting and an unobtrusive gesture to indicate the digital camera I had with me. The session started. The whole kitchen was pervaded with Souls: Pamela’ s Soul; Kid Chocolate’s Soul; my colleague Simona’s Soul; and my Soul. The feeling was to be living a real jazz moment that we wouldn’t be able to find another time. No book could ever describe the scene in a realistic way. I hope my photo shooting maintained that soulful fragrance and reflected for the observer the melodies of New Orleans jazz. After all, even photography is a question of soul… Let’s jazz, let’s groove, let’s swing!
P.S. The day after musicians and Jazz Ascona staff sat in the kitchen and tasted Miss Pamela’s gumbo (and fried fish).
I’m very proud to see the interview with CARSON McHONE (and the shots I took with my FujiFilm X30) published in the Plug n’ play June 2019 issue. I’m equally proud to present on my blog the full series of b&w shots (and just one color frame) I took of Carson at Rough Trade East, London, during the Texan singer and guitarist’s showcase in early February 2019.
To enrich this post let me add Carson’s opinion on the role of photography in her career. As Carson told me: <If there’s this constant need for content then it’s important to think ahead, especially if you want some sort of coherent theme to your imagery. I am definitely not anywhere near where I’d like to be with this but recently I’ve started to really think about any photos I take or any photo shoots I do, to have some sort of unifying aesthetic or intent, so that when I do post these images to the rest of the world I can feel like it’s a representation of the art and not just cheap engagement.>
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