"10K Steps" is an ongoing photography project born almost by chance.
It's a series of candid street shots taken during my daily walks in the city of Pisa.
All the images of this project have a peculiarity: they are taken (and edited) only with my mobile phone.
I have always scorned the mobile as a way to capture images, but in the last months I've gotten used to take long walks, taking with me only the phone: it turned out to be a very versatile tool to capture lights and shadows of my adoptive city.
The name "10K Steps" is only symbolic, actually the daily steps are many more!
Snow and umbrellas
The series was born a bit 'by chance,' not being able to predict a snowfall, a very rare event for Pisa. It was in fact almost 8 years that the snow did not appear in the city, and decided to do it in style, even if only for a few hours.
The morning I took the pictures I pointed the alarm before dawn, because the forecasts gave almost for sure the snow...and so, left the house, I had the privilege of being one of the few to walk in a snow-covered and unprecedented Pisa, in a magical and surreal atmosphere.
In the 10 photos of the series I decided to include three landmarks of the city, taken in an unusual guise: the Lungarni, the splendid Piazza dei Cavalieri (my favorite), and the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli.
To act as a common thread for the photos of the series the presence of umbrellas, colored and not, with which the "daring" isolated passers of the early morning try to shelter from the blizzard.
This series has won the photography competition 'Raconte-moi ta ville' organised by the french city of Angers, twinned with Pisa since 35 years. The organizers, the association Angers Jumelages in collaboration with the Service des Relations Internationales and the Amicale Italienne de l’Anjou have invited me for a weekend in the city, showing me the beauty of the place.
At the end of my stay, Saturday 26 May 2018, there was also the vernissage of the photography exhibiton at Illy Caffè, in the main square of Angers. A perfect place to present the winning images of the series 'Snow and umbrellas'.
Autumn in my soul
"To await a pleasure, is itself a pleasure".
Paraphrasing a famous quote of the past, sometimes the moments before the 'grand finale' of an event or a celebration can be far better and more exciting than the climax in itself.
The set of this project is Lungarno Pacinotti in Pisa, that runs between the main 'Ponte di Mezzo' and 'Ponte Solferino', on the right shore of the river Arno.
Many historical palaces run along Lungarno Pacinotti: Palazzo Tobler, Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Prini-Aulla, Palazzo Alla Giornata, the Royal Victoria Hotel, Palazzo Agostiini, the former 'ALbergo delle Tre Donzelle'...
The occasion for shooting this series is the celebration of the Luminara di San Ranieri, city's patron saint, that falls every year the evening of the 16th of June.
In the weeks before the Luminara facades of palaces and historical buildings seem to speak a secret language, being decorated with white wooden boards, called 'biancherie' in italian.
See Secret code project below to know more about this ancient tradition.
The day of the celebration people start to crowd the parapets hours before the official beginning of the festivity, in order to guarantee a better place to see the fireworks.
In this chaotic and cheerful moltitude you can find group of friends, big families, couples of old tourists, photographers, playing children, solitary men and peddlers, workers squads and balloon sellers...
The public attending the show becomes itself the show.
Pisa like you' ve never seen it
-Work in progress -
It's a long time that this idea is whirling around in my mind and this project is tightly connected with another one -Pisa Looking up- still work in progress.
While looking for captivating spots to add to my 'Pisa Looking Up' project, walking through the narrow streets of Pisa city centre, I started thinking: <Why not to create a more extreme and powerful vision of these streets, of these carachteristic corners (both unknown and more well-known) of the city where I live?> .
The idea is to merge the more easy way to 'capture' the city and its alleys with the more unusual one, that is actually to take looking up views of the city and sky geometries, that are not at eye-level.
The result is something like a gallery of 'improbable architectures' (a tribute to Escher impossible architectures) , where the viewer is a little bit confused by what he is looking at: you can see the street in front of you but at the same time you can look what you have at your feet and over your head!
The 'making of' of the series is a bit complex: I usually take a free-hand (i don't use tripod) sequence of images of a street starting from below and coming up, trying to remain the more aligned that is possible. Then I mount them together with the help of a photo editor software, correcting all the visible imprecisions. The sequence is usually composed by 5 to10 images, according to the elements that I want to put in the final photo.
The main challenge is actually to check every final image to discover errors in the mounting, then I correct them using the original photo of the sequence. However it's not excluded that I missed something! :)
Probably most of these 'inconveniences' could be fixed with the use of a tripod but the final result is satisfying enough to prefer the comfort and quickness of a hand-free sequence for the moment.
"There is a period of the year in which palaces and buildings in Pisa's Lungarni seem to speak a secret language: doors and windows are decorated with strange wooden frames, a mysterious code of signs and symbols..."
The month of June is certainly for Pisa the most fascinating period of the year, when the city and its citizens breathe a mix of excitement and expectation, waiting for the evening of the 16th of June, the evening of the Luminara di San Ranieri, city’s patron saint, that is celebrated the day after, the 17th of June.
In the weeks before the Luminara, hundreds of white wooden frames called ‘biancherie’ are hanged on windows and doors of houses. Originally these frames should highlight the structure of houses, following accurately the shapes of doors and windows, but today they have been replaced by simplier but maybe more curious and creative shapes.
The night of the 16th of June, these boards will host thousands of little candles, called 'lampanini, for the celebration of the ‘Luminara di San Ranieri’ and Lungarni (the two sides of river Arno) will be enlightened only by the light of the small lamps, creating an extraordinary sight.
I decided to dedicate an architectural project to the ‘Luminara di San Ranieri’, focusing on the preparation of the event and not on the more well-known part, the evening of the festivity.
Looking all these wooden boards, facades seem to communicate, talking to each other with a mysterious language made of strange signs and symbols, the secret code of the title.
'Secret code' has received an honorable mention in category Architecture: Buildings at Moscow International Foto Awards 2016.
This project has been featured in several online magazines and blogs:
The series of images from 'Secret code" project has been published in a Daily Mail article about the celebration of Luminara di San Ranieri: Striking images of Pisa
What if a facade could express a concept, a mood, an idea, a dream?
Welcome to Fantasy Motel! A geometric, hypnotic, architectural trip into my mind.
I have a great passion for architecture, especially contemporary one, and graphics.
I love facades and all the stories that buildings have to tell to us.
Behind the appearance (the facade indeed) of lifeless and soulless stone, a building can express a feeling, a mood, a concept, an idea or maybe a dream.
This is the background of my project "Fantasy Motel", which takes its title from the original structure, the basic pattern for all the series, a floating Motel in Amsterdam, shooted in my recent trip to the dutch capital city.
The starting facade had neutral tones and regular patterns, which easily allowed me to express my fantasy, playing with colors, repetition and positioning of windows and curtains.
The result is a series of hypnotic and captivating straight facades, which try to convey through their geometries some simple ideas and some deeper concepts.
The project has been published in Designboom Fubiz Divisare Architettura-Italiana Archi.ru Tendencias Magazine Journal du design Catalogodiseno Archatlas Fools Journal Lumières de la Ville Lamų slėnis Kot Sifir Krebib Ellf House VBenzeri
I have been interviewed about the project in Dailybest.
The upper city
I have always been fascinated by stark contrasts and extreme monochromes, both lowkey and highkey, at the same time I usually try to capture everyday life with a special consideration for its minimalist and surreal side.
The distinguishing element of this series is that the city where it's located is depicted from an unusual point of view, an unconventional and upper level where no human being can be seen, where only flying animals live and reign, the upper city indeed.
This series plays with the urban landscape, presenting it in an unconventional way, giving it an abstract look and making it unrecognisable.
It could be my city as well as any other city, although some acute observer could recognize certain elements of the one where the series takes place.
Building facades could be wrongly considered as 'still life' images, at a first glance they are only stone and concrete without soul.
From age to age architecture has been used by men as a way to express a wide range of concepts: from power and influence to devotion, reflecting as a mirror the historical, political, religious beliefs of the period.
Today it can range from simple creativity and inspiration of the architect to a way to face different social and environmental problems.
But at the same time buildings are living entity themselves, speaking, through their relation with the human presence inside, their own language made by bright/soft colors facades, open and closed windows, curtains and hanging clothes.
Buildings and houses stand maybe for centuries while everything around them change: not only the city but also their inhabitants; all these changes, all these different lives inside leave a sign, a mark into the building.
Architecture speaks to us: there are so many stories just to be discovered behind windows and walls of houses, stories waiting only to be told.
The images of the series are taken in Livorno, a beautiful seaside town of Tuscany, full of charme and mood.
'Living Architectures' has received a honourable mention in category Architecture: Buildings at IPOTY (International Photographer Of The Year) 2015.
Here's the link: Honourable Mention Architecture: Buildings
This project has been awarded the first place in category Architecture: Buildings at MIFA 2015 and has been projected at Fotoloft Gallery (Moscow) from 3 to 10 November 2015.
Here's the link of the winning series: 1st place Architecture: Buildings
The series has been awarded the third place and Bronze Star Medal in category Architecture: Buildings at Neutral Density Photography Awards 2015.
Here's the link of the winning series: 3rd place Architecture: Buildings
Expo and clouds
A tour of the world in...20 pavilions! Expo and clouds' explores the architectural beauties of the pavilions inside Expo area under a deep blue cloudy sky.
The purpose of the project is to present the dualism presence-absence through some architectural examples that show how the human figure can be invisible, making the architecture almost abstract, detached from human component, or might be perceived even if not directly visible, up to the manifest presence. But even if manifest, the human presence finishes to merge with the architecture and blend with it, in a last attempt of the latter to rebel against its creator.
In the short term I want to continue exploring this theme, going through architecture and the connections with its human inhabitants.
Photos are taken in different european cities (I indicate which one in the caption, after the title), I hope to export this project outside Europe soon!
When I travel or visit a city, I usually "look up" with my eyes, looking for captivating geometries and interesting details in architecture that can be added to the project.
Little people, big places
The littleness of human being, the magnificence of human structures.
I was always mesmerized by the great, huge structures built by man through the centuries, in a continuous effort to reach the sky.
Structures in respect to which the man reveals himself in all his smallness and insignificance, but at the same time the first evidence of the greatness and importance of human being, because we must not forget that without man these architectures would not exist.
The project 'Little people, big places' tries to explore this relationship between man and architecture, that shows itself sometimes as a mute dialogue, sometimes as a one-way communication from architecture to unaware people, sometimes instead as a unidirectional communication between people and seemingly indifferent architecture.
Images of this ongoing project are taken in various european cities (Barcelona, Lisboa, Berlin, Rome, Pisa, Milano), visited during my trips.
The deafening sound of silence
Former psychiatric hospital, Volterra, closed in its pure form of asylum in 1978, after the approval of the Basaglia Law, that formally took to an end the system of mental and psychiatric hospitals.
It's a travel into what remains of this world on its own, where the presence of former 'guests' of this structure can be still felt.
In the years following the abandonment the garden, the rooms and the hallways of this city inside the city became a sort of art gallery, thanks to wall paintings and graffiti.
Think of a wonderful 'tropical' beach close to home here in Tuscany, with no need to take an airplane, breathtaking colors and contrasts, a blessing for landscape and 'postcard' photography...
And now think that all this beauty hides (not even so well) a disturbing reality.
Just take a look at the dunes behind the beach to discover the origin of this artificial paradise.
Few prohibitions, limited only to the area immediately near to the factory canal that spills into the sea tons of industrial waste every day, for the rest a beach perfectly accessible to all and very popular, with a lot of pay parking.
The more I document myself about this beach and more disturbing elements emerge, that almost all the regulars of the place already know, but maybe not enough.
Marie Elisabeth Lüders Haus, Berlin. Cold architectures, lonely beings.
Early January in Berlin. It was a cold and windy day. The weather was very changeable, so one moment before was raining, the moment after the sun went out from the clouds. Few people were passing through this giant buildings, making the contrast between man and architecture much more impressive. In this project I have tried to present the mood of the place in this particular day.
Featured in 'Rinse.io: stories behind photography', I make mine one of Rinse staff sentences: < Can architectures feel in the gloomy windy day? >