JAZZ & SACRED SOUL KITCHEN (AND SOUL PHOTOGRAPHY)

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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.

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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).

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CARSON MCHONE – THE FULL PHOTO SESSION

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Carson McHone, Rough Trade East, London, January 31, 2019_00

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.>

– IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BUYING FINE ART PRINTS PLEASE CONTACT EXPOWALL GALLERY

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WHEN ART COMES FROM THE STREETS

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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.

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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.

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F/50 PROJECT “EYES ON THE STREET”

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Eyes on the Street, a new f/50 The International Photography Collective photo project with fellows Keith Goldstein and John Meehan. ENJOY!

SEE: Eyes on the Street!

THE MORANDI BRIDGE, GENOA

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Genoa, December 20, 2018: a whole day dedicated to a photo project. Subject: the collapsed Morandi Bridge. I was in town with a friend, creative designer Federico Ramponi. Guiding us via WhatsApp, the Genoese La7 journalist Paolo Colombo, who suggested most of the places we shot from.

With these 29 b&w shots, I want to play the sense of movement of pain and loss against the granitic immobility that dominates the ghost neighborhood’s streets and buildings under the bridge.

I tried to narrate the neighborhood with its bridge from different angles. The hills around the Polcevera stream have proved excellent observation points and allowed me to have a wider and more complete view of the disaster.

Once at home I realized that my shots possessed a sort of camouflage ability: while I was shooting, I continued unconsciously to see the bridge still intact in front of my camera. The horizon, the electric cables, the houses and the neighborhood with its silent architectural geometries have become substitutes for the missing section of the Morandi Bridge.

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EAST END: FROM JACK LONDON’S EXPERIENCE TO BANKSY’S DISCIPLES

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The original idea for this photo project was to go looking for Jack London’s traces/footprints in the East End area – London visited the East End ‘hoods in the early twentieth century (see The People of the Abyss, 1903). Topography excepted, nothing remains of that early XXth century London.

Starting from the area of the docks and the London Docklands Museum (immortalized in the first two shots) I pursued my research in Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Whitechapel; very soon an initial disappointment was superseded by the curiosity for the “punk” scenarios/scenes that opened up in front of the lens (I shot with FujiFilm X30 and Fuji X100).

Maintaining a historic storytelling, I physically abandoned the first decade of the Twentieth Century and pushed myself closer, towards the present days. So, I discovered the disciples of Banksy (they could be disciples or… might very well be Mr. Banksy himself operating under new pseudonyms), along with melting pot scenes and punk/street attitude.

No Jack London traces were found, but I consider the famous American writer guided me in a subliminal way during a three-days photo walk. Without sinking into the abyss as he did – at the time, Jack London lived eighty days in the slums with the poorest people in London – I pushed myself beyond “the easy job” and I started to collect photos that interacted with each other (in pairs), turning the visual sketches into a document. Each couple of frames is a single voice in a wider story where social and architectural geometries blend or merge into each other.

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