HI FOLKS, with my Winter Midsummer (Milan during Covid-19) photo essay a new collaboration starts with Paula Nora Seegy’s Artespressione Gallery, Milan. The project’s curator is Matteo Pacini who is following it as it develops.
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.
From the bistros to the streets, what the Parisians let you see is just a part of their everyday life. It’s a mind game – an “allowed theft” of moments and forbidden frames – that starts in the mind of the photographer. Paris as a hallway in a high-school: relate to a few schoolmates and ignore the rest of the world inside. Little Leica C Typ 112 is the perfect “invisible mate” to explore a reality which is apparently flat. High contrast black and white is the patois language allowing you to quickly understand and live the different situations around you. Everything that is happening in front of you can open the curtains of reality. A coffee with a friend; an ecological rally; perfect architectures and reflections; street art sketches; passers-by ad commuters. Even where the dark explodes, a blink of light survives for the photographer. Paris is… what the Parisians let you see, between the shadows and the lights.
Thanks to my friend rapper/actor/filmmaker Taiyo “HYST” YamanouchiI 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.
Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás wrote: <A man’s feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.> This quote came to my mind as soon as I met Vancouverite songwriter Bocephus King at Ponkj bar in Milan.
That’s the reason I decided to take a bunch of shots before the live show began: I was curious to see what his eyes could tell me and how they kept surveying the world.
A few shots were enough to obtain amazing postcards from Bocephus King’s world.
Then there was a friendly chat – I’m a Vancouver lover.
The concert has begun and Bocephus King’s eyes have continuously surveyed and narrated the world. His feet were at the same time in Canada and in Milan when he started to sing Bonnie Dobson’s Morning Dew…
By its own nature jazz music is traditional/ist but jazz also knows how to find new directions for the future. During Ben Williams & Sound Effect’s recent show at Jazz Cat Club Ascona, jazz music has brilliantly proved it is capable to possess a vision that goes beyond the teachings of the past. In Ascona, composer, singer and bass player Williams presented his own idea of jazz. He enchanted the audience with a sonic melting pot: neo-soul, sampling, but also Beatles, Radiohead and Bob Dylan covers turned on the show. At the end of the performance, an emotional “The Death of Emmet Till” rendition showed how much the past is necessary to move in the present and imagine a cultural and social future. (All frames taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 + Zuiko 75mm f1.8)
Occasionally I decide to go out with an old 35mm camera… This happens now and then. I don’t have a wish to feel like Cartier Bresson, you see?
Maybe it’s because of Paris itself that I took out my Yashica GSN Electro 35 and went down in the streets of the Marais.
One hour was enough: the old Yashica GSN weighs a lot, but its autofocus was fast enough to capture the different souls of the neighborhood. 35mm “language” is different, perhaps today few understand its aesthetics… (a Rollei RPX400 roll film loaded in camera).
Surviving time is not an easy task. Tom Barman – a voice somewhere between Bob Dylan and Eddie Vedder – succeeded with the dEUS and then with TaxiWars. During their latest show in Milan, Mr. Barman and TaxiWars pushed post-rock into the arms of free jazz, bewitching the audience. On stage, the songs from the new album, Artificial Horizon, opened the window and cleared the air of rock music. The band did not give up to a desire to feed their fans; TaxiWars played loud to convince those who still weren’t convinced of their music. In a rainy Milanese night the magic came true. Everybody survived the Nineties.
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
To celebrate his birthday… Three unpublished frames (taken at Università Statale di Milano, early March 2009) of Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava from my Rock Music Archives. For fine art prints please contact Expowall Gallery. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. RAVA!