NOC Sensei

“Gimme that Sunshine: La Street di Mauro Benedetti

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Translation of the article:

I don’t really like dividing photography into genres, even though it’s practical. Two photographers meet at an open day that allows you to try out the cameras. “What are you doing?” “I do street and you?” “What a coincidence, do I do street too, what do you work with?” OK friendship made.

Then if you go and check, you realize that basically everyone has their own idea of ​​Street Photography, their own way of practicing it, and there are even those who say that it is not a genre. Since we talk about it so much, it must also exist, just as I am convinced that the Martians exist since they have been talked about and written about for many years.

The best known and most significant work is considered The War of the Worlds by HGWells, published in installments in 1897 and in volume in 1898, tells the story of the invasion of the Earth by cruel and technologically advanced Martians who, invulnerable to terrestrial weapons , they are eventually killed by the bacteria in our atmosphere.

The fact is that street photography exists and is also a teaching subject, Angelo Ferillo speaks to us adequately.


“And images classified in this category convey many, too many and just as too many are those that are not actually street …

It was born from the desire to go to the street and photograph everything that had been left out until then.

Scenes of everyday life that have the characteristic of being told with a single click. Places where something happens … “

Here it is precisely that “Places where something happens” to leave me a little perplexed, especially in the practical feedback, observing photographs of various authors.

I wonder what really happens and above all if that something that happens has a value, if it is something significant, worthy of being photographed.

Far be it from me to want to go into the territory of documentation, I would be bogged down, the street is something else.

So I say quite simply that there are authors and street photographs that I like and others and others who do not suggest anything to me, do not make my attention linger too much, probably the fault is also mine.

I like to think that there is a “Border Line” photograph, not easily definable, and that often that “not exactly definable” attracts me.

These days we often talk about DDL Zan, gender fluid and so on.

I consider all this an enrichment, an opportunity to express oneself freely that cannot and must not be conditioned by others, just as they obviously do not affect anyone.

So what I consider “border line” photography is an expression of the free individuality of one’s way of feeling, outside of rigidly pre-established schemes.

Be that as it may, I like my friend Mauro Benedetti’s photographs, they attract my attention to linger, to explore them by navigating them with my eyes.

Often nothing special happens in his photos, or if it happens I hardly notice it and I’m fine with it.

I am attracted by the environment it represents, by some of its “choral” images, by the flowing without useless or worse sarcastic anecdotes of the people who live there, by that colorful, American “Gimme That Sunshine”.

A little irony, there is also a smile. Why not, but there must be sweetness not useless cruelty in the look. We are all people and we all deserve respect. In this, Mauro is undoubtedly a Lord, probably by genetic inheritance. So I leave it to him to talk about himself, to talk about his photograph.

“I was familiar with photography from an early age. My father Enzo (from the stands they addressed him as Sir) was the captain of Palermo soccer team, wherever I went with him there were always photographers. My grandfather was a traveler passionate about photography: at home there was a continuous transit of cameras of all types and sizes. And photographs everywhere. For my fourth birthday my grandfather gave me a camera bought in Germany, which I remember only for a photo of that day. In 1971, when I was 11, I used all my savings to secretly buy an air rifle and a Bencini Comet 404. I did not imagine how much the two objects could have in common.

In my high school years in Rome, I started photographing random scenes with a Yashica SLR found in a drawer, using a friend’s darkroom for development and printing.

I remember that I did not have a precise idea, except that of creating “non-news” by shooting random urban scenes, perhaps by replicating the graphic language of journalistic reports.

Those were complicated years, with almost daily political demonstrations, but when I happened to find myself at an intersection where a politician had just been kidnapped, I only had school books with me.

My photographic activity was interrupted during the university period – 2 years of engineering and 4 of economics – to resume, with a different approach, during my working activity in the finance sector, which over time brought me to Milan , Amsterdam, London and finally back to Rome.

Every year I have organized one or more trips to places and cultures as far away and different as possible from my daily environment, very structured and aseptic, experimenting with an approach to travel reportage in which geographical and human experiences are superimposed.

I have gone several times to Africa, Central and South America and the Far East, but over the years I have discovered that I am magnetically attracted to the vast spaces of the West and South West of the United States, which have become a recurring destination for long summer trips in which I have traveled thousands of kilometers often in absolute solitude.

My relationship with photography has radically changed following three subsequent events.

The first, and also the main one, was the chance meeting with my current wife, Claudia Palmira, a New York multimedia artist, who literally kicked me towards new visual gradients.

Through the “pushy” study of Renaissance painters (I hated painting …) Claudia made me discover the dramatic message of chiaroscuro, which I began to experiment (awkwardly) in photography through the search for “triangles of light”, within which to insert figures human beings able to convey an emotional or tense message.

Claudia also introduced me to the experimental art scene of New York, a city that has become the background of much of my photography, and – above all – allowed me to make my photography visible on the web.

In New York I accidentally met Livio Mancini, a documentary photographer of whom I became a partner in the visual communication agency Makro Press.

During a reportage in Palestine, I learned from Livio how to build images that express the vision and emotions of the moment, combining a strong aesthetic component capable of capturing the observer’s attention.

Also in New York, which is now my “second city”, I had the opportunity of 10 full time days, one of the most tiring of my life, with a Magnum photographer who had me apply a “layering” of the images based on the visual weight of colors, shadows and relevant human expressions, aimed at creating complex and basically enigmatic compositional balances. His extremely frank, indeed ruthless, comments from him are lessons that still resonate in my head every time I bring the camera to my eye.

I can’t say how much of this path can be found in my photographs, but each is mainly defined by its own limits.

My passion for photography began with the landscape and subsequently extended to the representation of human behavior, mainly through a form of documentation of human oppositions that I define as “urban reportage”.

In addition to being a means that pushes me to observe more carefully, I consider photography a means to describe and interpret, in a personal way, some aspects of reality that stimulate my visual and aesthetic curiosity, also through the search for ironic or emotional angles. with which to give depth to the pure graphic representation of a scene.

My photography is mainly spontaneous, I capture the flow of moments in the instant they arise, perhaps because it is the way my eyes perceive the surrounding reality.

Sometimes the message is the sensation of vastness and majesty of the natural landscape, or the irony inherent in formalized behaviors to which we are now accustomed or, again, the character that each human being plays, more or less consciously, on the stage of existence. urban.”

Mauro Benedetti