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
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.
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.
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)
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
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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Since the first large graffiti appeared on the walls of Philadelphia in the mid-Sixties as territorial warnings by the local gangs – see Jack Stewart’s Graffiti Kings. New York City Mass Transit Art of the 1970s (NY: Abrams, 2009) – street art has had a double “social” meaning: the first is the author’s; the second is the meaning that passers-by give to what they see.
As with a song – in particular topical/protest songs – the skill of passers-by in appropriating street works becomes the core of the street’s independent art system: the feeling that the artwork arouses stays on the wall in a lasting way and can also condition the author and influence works to come.
The dual nature of the street work – whether a painting, a graffiti, a stencil, etc. – places the photographer/observer in a condition of knowing both sides of the coin.
Observing a street artwork in a neighborhood instead of another makes a huge difference. Knowing a street artist and seeing him at work in the street helps even more to understand how in the last three decades an independent/underground art became the center of attention for collectors and art galleries all around the world.
The series of black and white frames (taken with mirrorless cameras Fuji X100 and FujiFilm X30 and without the use of additional lights) were recorded in two moments: during the night, while artist Osmo Kalev created his work; and the day after when the work, whose title is RIOT, was already being lived by passers-by and curious people in the neighborhood – stickers and tags add new perspective to the work.
Three plastic men skaters (by ToyBoarders Skateboarders) run around the house: from the fridge to the terrace they challenge gravity. (Shots by FujiFIlm X30)