archives / tags

narrative

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A pretty simple demonstration that you only need four photos to make a narrative.

In other words, “narrative” and “storytelling” are bullshit. We only talking about photographs, folks!

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thoughts on photography 1

I think a lot about photography; usually random, incoherent things that I tend to forget (or more often, forget the point I was trying to make). This is an attempt to make some order. A second part is half-written. It may be published sooner or later.

portrait photographers

Are they really that good? As Bill and Jefferey often say on their show, how hard can it be to take a good photograph of George Clooney or some beautiful model?

Why do we refer to Platon, Newton, Leibovitz as some sort of geniuses because they know how to set up lights and get these professionals (whose job is looking good) to look good? Not to mention the make up artists, strobists and whatnot working for them.

Basically I think that a good photographer needs to be able to make art with every subject. And I would extend my critique also to those that are on the other side of the spectrum, for example Bruce Gilden and his “Faces” — portraits of ugly people (or just people, made ugly on purpose by careful use of unflattering technique and make-up). When you have exceptional subjects, how hard can it be to take good photos?

Now compare this to the art of somebody creating vivid, interesting, poetic images out of the normal everyday life or capturing tiny specks of interestingness from a juxtaposition of sand grains over a floating leaf in the small pond or something crazy like that. Isn’t this the pinnacle of creativity?

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art photographers

The world of art photography fascinates me. I especially love those who refer to themselves as “artists”, their art being typically exemplified by boring, flat, sad photos where the “artist” himself is shown with vacuous eyes, half naked, a cigarette maybe, with another sad human or animal being by his side. Or empty landscapes showing detritus and crap with not an ounce of interestingness.

I find it wildly entertaining and maddening at the same time their ability to write so much and with so many complicated words about the void their art is made of.

I love even more critics that find meaning in these empty images. It leaves me cold and a bit angry, I admit, that some of these “artists” are even able to pay their bills with this shit they (and nobody else) call “art”.

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that guy in cuba

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Obviously I remember quite clearly this photo and the entire NYT photo essay on Cuba . I remember it because it also came up on TOP along with a pretty much sterile discussion about how truthful or not were the color rendition in these photographs:

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pretty pictures of cuba

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Last year I went to Cuba with my wife and my daughter. Before the trip I was overwhelmed with the weight of Cuba and its iconic tropes (the cars, the beautiful people, the cigars); after the trip I became annoyed with the whole thing however, realizing that the photographic essence of Cuba is as fake as the oversaturated, foamy waters landscapes that pollute the passionate photographer visual experience these days.

One little example: you know those american cars that nobody fails to mention each time you talk about Cuba? Turns out most of them they’re empty shells, the original V8 engines gone and replaced by cheap, reliable and easy to service Toyota 4-cylinder diesels. Overlooking this detail is a criminal act in my view. Photographing them like they were real american muscle cars from the 50s and not tourist traps is to betray the honesty of your photographs.

FAKE!
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late review of the fuji x-pro1

I think that camera reviews should be written either within 3 months from initial purchase or after a much longer time, like 5 years maybe. After a few weeks of use, any average photographer would know by heart button locations, quickly change the camera settings, know what’s the highest ISO and the minimum usable shutter speeds, how the autofocus works and so on. And obviously shot a few hundreds photographs in different locations and situations.

After this initial period, he is either using the camera (and enjoying it) or decided to look elsewhere. And if he continues to use that camera, he starts to find loopholes, alternative ways to go around certain defects, until he no longer remembers what was the problem in the first place — and the longer way to accomplish a task becomes the norm.

So this is the moment to write something about the camera; when you’re still excited by the toy, but you also think about the many things that could be fixed. When you can honestly tell others what works, what doesn’t, and find an argument to why you see yourself clinging to the toy until the end of times.

And that is really my plan here, to put down in words1 what I think about this Fuji X-Pro1 that I bought second hand a few months ago; an “old” camera (I believe it came out almost 5 years ago), that according to the general consensus deserves nothing better than a place in memory lane.

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backcountry pyrenees

October 2016, I finally get the chance to ride my Nicolai Mojo in a proper setting. And what a test it has been!

I have been riding for seven days straight on some wonderful trails mostly around the Huesca province in Spain, south of the Pyrenees. That means mostly Ainsa, for the more knowledgeable bikers, that may remember the 2015 Enduro World Series race.

And yes I should mention the geological significance of Ainsa too. In fact, I have been in this part of the world years ago — around 2006 if memory serves well — but honestly the emotions you get from riding on these rocks are way above those you get from studying them.

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fuji-me-too

The long Norwegian September is a period of the year when I’m still very much in holiday-mode, with my skin still burning from the southern italian sunshine, and at the same time dreading the dark winter ahead. It is a period when my congenital hatred for office life and rituals reach the highest peak; it is a period where all these first-world problems are channeled into the research of a new camera to play with1.

My trusted (and hypothetical) readers know that I have a subdued (and long-standing) attraction for Leicas. Prices and other factors have so far kept me from going that crazy route; perhaps one of these factors is Fuji, a historical brand that, a few years ago, pulled out of the blue a series of cameras and tools that rival Leica in terms of pure appeal (and probably destroys it if we consider the price/performance ratio). This is why I bought a second-hand Fuji X-Pro1 with a 35mm f/2 lens (smaller and faster than the iconic 35/1.4). All for the outrageous price of six-hundred euros. Compare to the cost of a brand new X-Pro2 or XT-1 before commenting on the stupidity of buying a 4-years old camera.

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geolandscapes

Date Tags photo Lang it

I have kept this yellow notepad for I don’t know how long.

It serves the basic purpose of taking notes but it’s tough and water resistant too. Real geologists use this kind of notepad when they’re out in the field to record events, log rocks, sketch outcrops, maybe draw funny faces too.

I am not a real geologist but I have had the opportunity from time to time to visit interesting places. I thought this notebook would be ideal to collect what I call my geolandscapes.

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capturing things

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How can you capture the wind on a photograph? How can you make the viewer feel the cold or the warmth of a place? How can you make landscape photography communicate the sense of a place? Can a photo be a substitute for the simple, raw emotions that one feels when he’s out in the woods or in the mountains?

These are the things that lately have been on my mind. I’m pretty sure it all started with something that Andrew Molitor wrote on his brilliant blog. He keeps bashing on these points but right now I will not search those two or three relevant posts but here’s the gist of it (or more correctly, my interpretation):

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worst wedding photographer ever

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Wedding photography is something like newborn photography; cheesy, kitsch and very very false. Obviously I’m talking about the kind of wedding and newborn photography which is most in vogue nowadays (i.e., the first hits you get when googling these keywords).

I just happened to read Milnor’s blog that featured an interview with some wedding photographer I didn’t know — and i still don’t know — but what was interesting was the little background story Milnor wrote so I thought about something:

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sirdal

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the molitor collaboration

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Forget what I said in previous posts. I may still have some sympathies for Laroque and Simpson and Johnston but I have reached a place where there are no more photographic heroes for me on the web.

Unless you count Andrew Molitor, of course1.

There are so many wonderful ideas on his blog, and once you start reading you realize what’s missing from the internet these days; the excitement that I still remember from the days when the web was young, when you could discover brilliance without the taint of money-making.

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a little camera

I wanted to get a Leica this time. For real.

You know Leica: stupidly expensive cameras that are more likely to be kept in a closet or worn like a piece of jewellery than actually used (it wasn’t like that before, when actual journalists back in the fifties used it as a fast, robust little camera to be used in the field).

Anyway, even if now they seem to be more of a fashion statement, I have always liked the impression of solidity, their simplicity, and that funky way of setting the focus1. But I would have never considered one for real if I had not played with the original Monochrom; that really changed something, the simple pleasure of using and holding this rather large, deceiptively simple and “dense” camera changed somehow my perception of Leicas. I will be honest and declare it right now that none of this matters when it comes to photography; but I’m talking about something else here, I’m talking about very elementary pleasures that are tangentially related to the actual making of photographs; the same pleasure that I get from using bycicles or a Faber-Castell pencil for example.

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black and white

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I have had this Nikon FM2 laying around in my house for some time now. It has not seen much action though.

You see, I started taking photos when I was sixteen or seventeen with a Yashica FX3, and I don’t really have any kind of nostalgia for those times when I had to wait days before realizing I ...

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The only type of competition I have ever enjoyed is two-wheeled racing; I have raced motorbikes and mountain bikes in the past (and I will probably continue to do so once this daddy thing wears off).

In this sort of competition there is no subjectivity; if you go faster than everybody else, you finish first. If you are slow, if ...

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bimba che salta

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C’era una bimba che saltava sul letto ieri.

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ready, set, go!

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Parco della Villa Reale di Monza, ottobre 2014.

Queste bimbe di due anni corrono sempre:

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genitori secondo cito

A maggio scorso ho assistito a una presentazione di Francesco Cito, noto fotografo italiano. Tra i vari progetti mostrati c’era anche “Coma”, in cui raccontava, attraverso immagini piatte e struggenti, la normalit√† che circonda dei ragazzi entrati in coma irreversibile.

E la normalità sarebbe quella di parenti e amici che festeggiano i compleanni, cambiano e puliscono i loro ragazzoni ...

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