Sunday, October 8, 2006

Why all this?

"Making Art and viewing Art are different at their core.
To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping the artwork."

[Bayles & Orland, Art and Fear]

I often ask myself what it means to me taking photographs. I do it almost every day, especially during the handful of spare minutes I've got while commuting from home to work and vice versa. Short time, maybe; for sure, not enough goodwill.

When I started making something to show what I was able to achieve with this dedication of mine, I was well aware that sooner or later I would have run into the need for an answer. I knew that someone was there, behind the corner, waiting to ask me: "Why all this? Why are you investing all that energy and time on photography, instead of applying to something else?"

I can't say if ever started thinking seriously to a good answer. Sometimes I fear that everything might end, once this process was completed. For the time being, before my mind changes again, I consider this practice a simple tool; it's a lever that allows me to give way to my instinct at doing something that relates me to the rest of the world, an instrument for stating: "I do this, I have done these, I'm about to do that ...", without placing my expectations too far.
So, instead of thinking to "how far" can I get with photography, I could start figuring out whether I'm able to move from where I am and begin the journey.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Tug of war

How difficult it is, keeping my website functionality in line with the quality goals that I was hoping to achieve and, at the same time, providing enough artworks to make it look ever changing and always up to date.
I've been spending late hours of my last months mainly working on the HTML and JavaScript code. In other words I've been working on the container, without taking care of what could be the content. Now, after reaching a point that currently satisfies me, I feel the urge to get back into my digital darkroom and review all my proposals: cuts, reordering, insertions, text to copy from my scratch-book, et cetera. "What's wrong with it?", you might observe.
Nothing. I'm just pretty sure to be coming back on the code as soon as some, maybe few, new photographs will be ready and issued. It's a tug of war. This continuous swing from one side to the other will never end. Sometimes I find it frustrating and distracting, as it doesn't allow me to finish one task without starting to think upon the following one. Some other times it's simply amazing, as it means that the cup where my creativity has been drinking so far hasn't emptied out yet.
I need to learn to manage this tide-like process and cope with it to get the best from both phases. That's the big challenge of this project of mine: placing myself in the middle of the rope and pulling with all my strengths both side to me.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

That's me!

Few days ago, on a typical milanese misty morning, opening my private mailbox, I found an message from a Italian photographer, subscriber of Black & White Photography Magazine.
Piero has written me his congratulations for the website, having visited these pages for the first time, after reading about it on the authoritative British magazine.

Without waiting a while I started looking for a copy of the magazine all around Milan and found it two days after. Without rushing into the pages there at the newsstand, I jumped into the underground and, after a short leafing, I could see my name and some of my photographs reproduced on the "web-watch" section under the title; "Website of the month".

Just couldn't believe my eyes. I forgot getting off the underground at my final destination and went on till the end of the line: I must have been dreaming with open eyes.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Concerning technique and imagination

Working in an environment ripe of proud and egocentric engineers, I have the opportunity to speak, more and more often, with people omniscient of all the technical aspect of Photography, except the photographs that they take. It almost seems that the public opinion is converging toward the conclusion that the effectiveness of message conveyed by a picture is somehow implicit in the quality of the picture taken. Which I don't believe at all.
I rather believe that, just like any other artistic expression of the human kind, practicing photography would be a sterile, useless and meaningless activity if we considered it simple technique, having few connections with the world surrounding us or if we only let technical issues rise above the others.
Technique is indeed very important, as far as it allows us to easily reach the results we have in mind. I would also dare to say that a good technique, not necessarily coming after a long practice, widens the photographer' sight and improves those skills which are important for the imagination to gear up and come out of the darkness.
Notwithstanding this unquestioned (and banal) truth, I feel to say once more that a good, perfect technique does not make the artist, as someone pretends to say. Art acknowledgement in photography should mainly be a matter of recognizing the influence of the artist's imagination over the image capture and elaboration. That is more and more important today, as the digital technology has removed most of the difficulties that traditional photographers met along the process that leads from the subject to the image reproduction on paper. Nevertheless, among traditional photographers, it's still spread the idea that technique excellence is mandatory for being ranked.
When I ask for details about a photograph that I like, I always get information about the film, chemical filters, lenses and so on. I never get an answer starting with the photographer feelings at the moment right before shooting. Sometimes, but rarely, I'm told about the aim of the photographer and how far the result was.
It looks as if the photographer was embarrassed to reveal his feelings.