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Portraits in the Square - Poetics

These are images obtained by having the subjects pose for several dozen seconds. I don't want to steal snapshots, but rather consciously involve the people portrayed through an attitude that is not aggressive, but affectionate and friendly.

The operation has its own rituals.

I spend a day in a square and invite the people who frequent it, or who approach me with curiosity, to pose for a single or group portrait. I explain what a pinhole camera is and what a one-minute pose implies. Then together we choose the shot and background. I photograph for free and the subject in return gives me permission to use the images produced. I work in 4x5" Polaroid and I have the possibility to deliver a print immediately, keeping the negative. I keep the subjects' name, surname, address ...   and a human relationship that sometimes continues over time.

At the same time, a small "Pinhole Circle" is set up around me: a photographic exhibition made up of about ten 60x80 panels on easels; a display that illustrates the initiative and explains the basics of pinhole photography; images and boxes with a hole; a 50x50x100 cm "camera obscura" through which to observe the surroundings; and friends and collaborators who help me or talk to people. The modes of operation are obviously slow and this allows me to build relationships.

The resulting photographs are not stolen shots, but testimonies of attempted, constructed and realized relationships. The subjects are not robbed of their image, but rather offer it with great seriousness and participation.

Both I (photographer) and the subject, through the long pose and the effort and attention it requires, regain an awareness of time that is too often lost.

I photograph using HAL, a 4x5" interchangeable focal length camera that I designed and built in collaboration with my friend Giuseppe Alzetta. I wanted an instrument that was all my own, from start to finish, so as not to be constrained by an overpowering technological unconscious that I had to adapt to. On the contrary, to use a machine in my own figure and likeness, whose performance and use is not a cold barrier between me and the subject. 

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