Monday, December 27, 2010

Horse Days

A new selection of "591 Days" photographs is on display.

The "Horse Days" of 591 are here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry & Starry Christmas

Star Trails in the North

I must admit it will be very difficult to most of us to stand outside in open fields in a day like this with our neck bent up to the sky, looking for feeble signs from distant stars. There's so much to do: opening gifts, eating and drinking, playing with our kids and calling distant far relatives and friends. Beside this, the sky in north Italy is today as cloudy and rainy as a dull November day. Yesterday my children were asking how could Santa drive his sled through the clouds. I said he has the smartest and mostly skilled reindeers of the world! :-)
Hopefully the new year will bring us some of those unique neat, blue and inviting January skyes we know about but in the meantime let's look at this one and tell me if North Pole isn't the right place for an old fat & ... good man named Claus.

Star Trails in the North

Let me wish you all a Merry & Starry Christmas.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Source of inspiration

The very first light of the coming day is visible outside the window of my kitchen. I had high fever all night long. Couldn't sleep at all. Waiting for a painkiller to make its effect I'm surfing around the web and just came across this video. I could not resist the temptation of linking it here. It has apparently very few to do with photography but it's so inspiring ...

Urban Abstract from Musuta on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two years gone

591 Photography Blog Anniversary

I remember as it was yesterday this same day two years ago: I was in Stockholm, closed into a tiny hotel room in Kungsholmen, with heavy rain tapping on the window panes. I had sent my first contribution to Ulf some hours before and he was ready to unveil his long planned project. Just like me there were some other aficionados from all over the world waiting to look at how the very first edition of this new photography blog would have looked like.

This evening, after two years spent travelling up and down in norther Europe countries I'm part of this project. Yet, I'm not completely satisfied of the way I've been working so far, of my meagre participation. My job drains all my strengths: I leave to photography just crumbs. Nevertheless, I don't give up and keep on at my current pace, wishing for better times.

Some months ago, under Ulf's guide, we decided to set up a commemorative exhibition. Each of us was asked to select nine unpublished pictures and send them for the collection that now has been just unveiled under the 591 space.

I'm in Karlstad now, in the middle of Varmland region in central Sweden. Outside snow is falling down. The lake banks are freezing, I can't listen anymore to the trains passing by and I'm tucked again into my hotel room.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When we were kids ...

I've found the following post on the New York Times blog "Bits": Kodak’s 1975 Model Digital Camera.

Courtesy: The New York Times

It talks about the way the reportedly very first Digital Camera ever made was conceived. It's a short reading worth the time you'll spend.

Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pola Days on 591

On braking the rules

It's time to dedicate ourselves to the old Polaroid dream. No matter how quality, framing and subject are, Polaroids or their recent digital nephews, Poladroids, still hold that special appeal that comes from braking the rules, drifting aside, broadening the outlook and going out of our comfort area.

Photo, (C) Tiberio Fanti

591 has just started its Polaroid season. Plenty of images are flooding the blog. Today I got my selection on display & I'm quite happy about the way it looks.

Thanks Paolo.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Francesca Woodman

A new exhibition in town

Francesca Wodman (C), Yet another leaden sky, Rome, 1977-1978

Walking through the desert streets of the self defined "industrial & financial heart" of Italy, these days, is pure pleasure. The late days' rainfalls have cleared the sky as I never was able to see in the last ten years of my life. The foggy and grey town buildings have turned into a kaleydoscope of colors: in some extent it feels like being in Scandinavia!
As the town is empty is much more difficult not to notice the large pictures of a young girl hanging from the tip of a door that cover every corner of the streets. A long waited exhibition of Francesca Woodman is being held at Palazzo della Ragione, facing il Duomo, the downtown Cathedral.

Francesca Wodman (C), Untitled, Rome, 1977-1978

So, back in town after a long and suffered vacation, once out of my office, dribbling through groups of japanese tourists heaping to listen at their guides' speech, I reached the old building and treated myself with some remarkable and inspiring works to see.

Francesca Wodman (C), Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-1978

Further details:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Midsommar Break

It's half past ten of a splendid sunny Thursday evening, here in Goteborg. I'm sitting at the desk of my room, up on the XVIII floor of the west tower of Gothia Hotel. On the table I have spread coke, peanuts, cables, notebooks, restaurant tickets, bus tickets, train tickets, taxi receipts, a mobile, remote controllers, a compact camera and this diabolic tool into which I'm pouring my current thoughts.
Outside is still day. From the window panes I have in front of me a splendid stretch of colours from deep blue to red that I wouldn't be able to express with a B&W photograph (as I'm used to do) reminds me to be in Scandinavia.

Photo, (C) Tiberio Fanti

It's my last evening here before my holidays. I'm tired. I'll stay put here to watch the light dimming on the town. I've been working and travelling so much this week. Today I crossed the country from Karlstad, up in the middle of everything, to a ghostly town named Hallsberg (which, to me, listening to the local pronunciation, sounds like "the mountain of the devil") to wait for another train that led me here. Tomorrow I'll get back to a hateful, steamy and damned hot Milan.
I was wishing to give a call to Mr. Urbano and see where he's going to rest his bones, this summer, but I failed. I've been shadowed by some colleagues now and then. Not a good reason, I know. I'm not good at lying. That's my greatest regret.
Well, I urgently need for a long Midsommar break. Now it's time to have some sun & salt burning my skin. Back in couple of weeks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

On the run

On being present in asbence

I've spent most of last month travelling abroad, distant far from my home and my office walls. In nearly the same way, now that the first half is gone, also the current month won't be that different. Packing and unpacking luggage, changing power adaptors and bed from day to day has slowly become part of my life.
I'm close as much as I can to my family on Saturdays and Sundays: just the time for refuelling each other, going around for shopping and planning the approaching holidays. I rely on my colleague to pour some water to my office vegetation as well as I rely on my wife for my shirts being perfectly ironed and looking starched.

There are moments when I try to figure out what is the current perception that those who live beside me have of me. I'm feeling like an absent presence.

On the run (Oslo)
Tiberio Fanti, (C) 2010

Thinking to this a Pink Floyd track rolls on and on in my mind, in an endless way, as if that music had been recorded on a mobius strip.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Next Challenge Ahead

Looking for a new tool

I’ve been away for a while. Away from almost everything, except my job: the family cash cow. Of course I’ve been travelling a lot: Sweden, Norway, UK, Belgium (yes, low-cost transfer flights offer this additional chance, today) … but this is not the core reason for my absence. It’s been like entering a tunnel and being concentrated on my duties until I was out on the other end. I realise this only now that I’ve found an hour to sit on the couch in my living room and watch on TV at the final phases of the last stage of Giro d’Italia. Yet, while I’m watching at the riders to climb on pristine white snow covered valleys of the Italian Alps I have the computer fanning and puffing on my laps.

Beside family issues and a diet I should start before it’s too late, I’m thinking to my next challenge and to the residual chances I have to succeed.

Facts are that, after several years spent using my regularly licensed installation of PhotoShop, the cost reduction program that my company is waging struck my workplace and left me without a digital darkroom.
So, under suggestion of my colleagues from the SW team, I tried an installation of GIMP ( and see how it feels working with this new open-source and free image manipulation tool.

The results of my first attempts have been shocking and terrifying. After moving around for some time with the mouse pointer into the menus and the popping up windows and trying some elementary steps on a sample image I felt like a fish fallen out of the bowl. I could witness that everything was there under my eyes but to some extent it was looking different, with different ways of getting to the same results. All the automatisms acquired with years had been blown away in a matter of minutes. Uncertainty ruled on the tips of my fingers.

It didn’t take me much to figure out that the first thing I had to renounce was being able to sit and develop a toned black and white image with the same easiness I used to work in PS. As a first instinctive reaction I franticly opened a browser and looked for GIMP and the ways it offers to develop a B&W image and from that a split-toned image and eventually a duo-toned version of this. I was actually wishing to find a magical hidden button somewhere but I was soon disenchanted. I got instead a multitude of articles were the basics of B&W conversion and toning were explained in details, but all were addressed to people who have plenty of time to invest on self-teaching. Not exactly the kind of user I’ve recently become.

As a second desperate chance to play I remembered I had a copy of PS Elements somewhere in a drawer: one of those DVDs I got in my D300 and D40 kit boxes, along with tons of useless adaptation cables. After plugging the disk into the reader I discovered that I needed a user key that I wasn’t able to retrieve anymore. Hence, I turned to see if the online version of PhotoShop ( was good enough for my aims. Needless to say that this desperate trial did not satisfied my ambition as well and I had to renounce to duo-toned once again.

So I had to go back to GIMP as it seems to be the only reasonable chance I have to put myself back on track. Beside this, I like the idea of the free software foundation and, for free, I can’t actually complain for any misalignment with the reference tool. It’s just that time is short and I can’t wait for the day when I’ll be back, up & running.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The world from above

How little this world is!

I'm living half way between Milan downtown and its larger airport, Malpensa. It's a strange day. I haven't heard a single aircraft preparing for landing or boosting its engines after take-off. The sky is so silent ...

Sergels Torg (Stockholm)
Tiberio Fanti, (C) 2010
It was sufficient for Mother Earth to blow out some of her inner soul from an Icelandic volcano for stopping half (or one third, or one fourth, ... I can't say) of the human kind from flying around the northern hemisphere. If you want to see the world from above, today, you'd better climb one of our tallest building a cast your sight down.
Eiffel Tower - Tiberio Fanti, (C) 2010

These days remind me those after Chernobyl disaster. It was the end of April 1986; I was about to finish the High School and get my graduation. I remember our teenagers' fatalistic attitude on the traditional picnic of May 1st. There was something above our heads that we weren't able to see. So it is today, in some extent, but it's actually quite different.
I feel this volcano is trying to give us the chance to see the world once again with a different perspective and new questions to answer. What would the world be if we could no longer trust on these fast connections? Would the currently available technology be sufficient to overcome a momentary (or longer) absence of the skyways?
I'm also feeling envy. I was in Stockholm last Wednesday but my boss called me back to Milan, late at night. Soon after my take off, Arlanda airport was closed down. Those colleagues of mine that remained in Sweden one more day are now travelling by car across Europe, attempting to get back soon in Milan. Quite a unique chance, indeed, but ... none of them has a camera at his side!
A strange day indeed!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

On the road again

"Leaves are falling all around,
It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged
for such a pleasant stay.
But now it's time for me to go.
The autumn moon lights my way."

(Ramble On, Led Zeppelin)



What's next?


My luggage is packed again and standing still, waiting for me to cross my apartment door. Winter season's about to finish. A new Spring of flights and hotel rooms is ahead of me. I'm getting tired and no longer able to abandon myself this modern times migration over the skyes of the european countries. If it wasn't for a certain "The call of the wild" ...

Photograph, (C) Tiberio Fanti

Next week I'll be in Goteborg: the "Project" is calling me there. But soon after I'll have some time to spend in Paris with my family. No, no relax. You can't define relaxing a week spent walking up & down the alleys of Paris with two small children and a restless wife. I fear I won't even be able to use my photographic gears.

What is amusing anyway is the idea of a different travel, a real one: traveling with no other aim than spending time, letting it flow like sand from lousy hands.
To help me starting this travel soon ther's the late discovery of a website named "
Paris 26 Gigapixels" which is run by some guys who, last September 2009, climbed on the top of one of the most prominent building of the French metropolis, Saint Sulpice church and shot something like nearly 2400 images in two hours and a half. Now these are all stitched together to form the largest image currently available about Paris.

It takes very little to get lost and pleasantly wonder through the thousands of copper-red chimneys of the roofs. A visit is worth, I think.

The 80's reinvented

Poster, (C) Vera Fehér

The 591 exhibition for the incoming spring is about to open. Mr Urbano and some of his collaborators have worked for long time to select the hundreds of proposals received, organize the repository with its three categories and prepare for the event. The poster above is from Vera Fehér, one of the nine 591's souls.


Yet another photobook.

Time left at my disposal has dramatically shrunk lately. I'm no longer able to work into my digital darkroom at night as more and more often I'm doing something else at those late hours: working. It's nearly a couple of years that I keep telling myself this is just a phase that's going to finish and soon I'll have plenty of time to do whatever I want and give way to my latest intentions and projects. Needless to write how the end of this tunnel is still far to be seen.

Yet, in the last couple of weeks, I have found time (and will) enough to gather a set of nearly fifty photographs taken around the banks of Göta älv (yö'tä ĕlv`), the river passing through Goteborg, develop them in my preferred way (i.e. with the duotone Black and White process I've already described here some time ago) and put the result in Booksmart, the application SW downloaded from that allows me to edit by myself any kind of book.
Following this stage, I will order a print for myself and leave the book in my Blurb bookstore, in case someone else was so brave to spend some money for it.

It will take some more time before the complete work is done. Writing words is much more difficult and time consuming than simply choosing photographs and ordering them.
For the time being, I think I can anticipate the front cover, as I'm pretty sure I won't change it in the future. It shows the bridge (Älvsborgsbron) passing close to the historic Klippan district where I use to walk late in the evening, when I'm in Goteborg, provided that the atlantic weather allows me to do it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Low Q, Hi Fi

I'm reporting here a short series with words I published on 591 few days ago. It's all about images quality and the message laying underneat.

On the importance of the apparently insignificant

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wished to have your gears at your side but you couldn’t rely on any other real means for fixing the picture in front of you than your eyes, an unsharpened pencil (and the backside of a business card) or, in the most favourable cases, your no-more-last-generation mobile phone?

Yes, your mobile, that small buzzing thing slipped into your inner jacket pocket that’s able to take images of questionable quality like the first digital consumer cameras did ten years ago.

I remember my first “light capturing device” was a Kodak that was sold to me as able to deliver “up to” one million pixels. With some elementary maths I foresaw I could have printed high quality images up to 3”x4”, just like the dimension of an instant camera prints.

Today things have sensibly changed and that “up to” has turned into “no more” and low-end products have widely outclassed those numbers. As a matter of fact, my bruised three years old mobile phone has a small hole on his back resembling the stenopeic aperture of a pinhole cam and its images quality is no better than that of my old Kodak was able to grant. Feels just like ten years haven’t passed.

Last Christmas I unsuccessfully tried to switch that machinery on. So I left that “toy” to my son, to let him play and act like he’s always seen his father to do.

Bad exposure, few pixels, unclear aims resulting into ephemeral images. Yet, in some cases when I’m travelling, at work or in some other “controlled” environment I can’t stop myself by picking this small thing out, turn myself to the subject and press the shutter button while I mimic as if I was dialling an SMS, looking up for a number or simply checking for unanswered calls.

And when I put my phone back in my pocket I wonder: what was it necessary for? Was it just to have in turn some images that are worst than al old Polaroid left going mouldy for years in a basement?

I don’t know. I can’t answer. In most cases I just can’t avoid to take pictures and store them as if they had the same dignity of their descendants taken with the latest digital reflex. There must be for sure a psycho-therapeutic reason behind, but this is not convincing me at all.

Now I should find a way to share and let other people to feel and appreciate what I can perceive from these kinds of imperfectly-born documents: spontaneity and immediacy of these frozen in time events; surprise, ingenuity and intimacy of unaware subjects. Could these values ever be sufficient to balance the poor quality of what I’m holding now in my hands?

Photos © Tiberio Fanti

P.S. All images were taken with a "can't-remember" mobile cam.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Web pearls: part II

Twin Lens refleXions ...

This is another pearl recently found on Vimeo. I already signalled it to 591 but it's worth leaving a trace here too.

This time the video is about how to "seriously" take a boring thing like photography and start from scratches building a camera on our own.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Web pearls: part I

Polaroidetional ...

Surfing on Vimeo I recently ended up into this little piece of wonder.

It is a promotional film made by Polaroids in early 70's explaining, with an almost poetical touch, how the instant photo system used to work and could be used to get images that today we might achieve after sitting hours in our lightroom. I think these are ten minutes well spent.

Well, this is also the first time I bring something into this blog that is not exactly dealing with me. It has the double intent to remember me good things I've seen on the web and to share these "pearls" with anyone else on the other side of this screen.