Reuben.

I saw Reuben on the train a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to to take his portrait but waited too long and he got off before I could ask. After he left, I decided to ask the girl that was traveling with him if she could let him know I wanted to meet him. I had the feeling to have very little chance, but I got a call three days after. And we finally met.

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Cutting, grinding and mowing for Leroy Merlin.


I recently had the chance to direct a short viral video for Leroy Merlin, a french owned home improvement store chain. It has been an almost entirely new experience, that I was happy to share with good friends. Many thanks to the fundamental editing work of Edoardo Vojvoda and the precious assistant help of Maurizio Polese and Teo Zanin. These friends I also would like to particularly mention for following me whenever possible and being the best  comrades I could ask for.

It has been an interesting production, as we sort of worked backwards, re-staging Vivaldi’s Spring.

We had the chance to collaborate with Eccetera, an amazing sound-design studio based in Milan. They created a soundtrack we had to match with our visuals and brought a portable audio studio on set, so we were able to launch the sound effects live and made them immediately match with the actions – some of the other sound effects were added in post.

I would like to thank for the enormous amount of care they put into this project and for believing in my work: Anna Ambrosi (my light in the darkness) at LUZ. Also, of course, the team at MC Saatchi, Michela (big sister) Alessio, Francesco, Giulia and Antonia for their hard work.  I apologize in advance if I accidentally left someone out.

Below a snapshot taken on set by Maurizio’s iPhone.

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Director / Mattia Balsamini

Editor / Edoardo Vojvoda

Photography / Mattia Balsamini + Edoardo Vojvoda

Assistant & gaffer / Maurizio Polese + Teo Zanin

Sguardi d’atelier / A photo exhibition.

Marcolin has been producing and exporting italian luxury eyewear for more than fifty years. This company started from as a small artisan workshop in Cadore, Veneto – with the simple yet revolutionary idea of embellishing the frames with different metals, instead of regular plastic.

This March, the company will present an exhibition featuring portraits of artists and makers worldwide, who use their eyewear in their daily jobs. From Australia to Siberia, from the U.S. to Italy, a team of photographers were to sent to capture a day in the life of these people.

I was honored to be assigned to the Milan chapter , photographing fashion hair stylist Davide Diodovich – a very talented and kind man (here is a link to his website).

Below are some of the portraits I took of him when I visited the studio. These and many other images from all the other participating photographers will be displayed starting Tuesday, March  5th at Spazio Edit , in Via Maroncelli 14, Milan.

A huge ‘thank you’ goes out to Davide, Gioia, Orietta, Susanna, Maurizio and Teo.

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Austerity Christmas Giveaway.

This year I’ve been asked to be part of an amazing collective of photographers.

Guido Cecere, an avid photography lover, curator, teacher and of course photographer, invited me to participate to this production. Every year a group of photographers – including some of italy’s most relevant authors – gets together to produce a 2013 photography calendar. It is somewhat a tradition to put together this project, which is a greeting for the year to come.

This edition’s theme is See Better – to be interpreted in the broadest way.

I am honored to be in it, also because I am the youngest and less experienced photographer of the group. The images are diverse and stunning. Below I have included some of my favorites by Enzo Tedeschi, Lorella Klun, Mario Paviotti, Sergio Scabar together with mine. There are also three ongoing exhibition to present it, featuring these same images, in Pordenone (Teatro Verdi), Udine (Teatro Nuovo Giovanni) and starting december 22nd  in Pieve di Cadore (Museo dell’Occhiale).

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It’s always nice to get presents – but on christmas it’s even better.  So I would like to give away 10 of these calendars to whoever is interested. Just send me an email with your address, I will ship it to you. Yes, even if it’s abroad.

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Well, happy holidays, I hope you like it.

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Ogni adolescenza.

È ora di tirare le somme – oggi in italiano.

Con lunedì ho concluso la mia prima esperienza di insegnamento ad un workshop di fotografia in collaborazione con La Tempesta e Il Rivolta. Un workshop è diverso da una lezione. Lo dice la parola stessa, c’è del “work” da fare. Ci si sporca le mani. Cecilia Ibañez mi ha coinvolto in questa esperienza che lei gestisce ormai con grande disinvoltura da anni. Lei la Tempesta l’ha vista crescere da vicino. Io invece l’ho vista crescere da “utente”.

Questa è la grande differenza. E di questo volevo scrivere.

Sono nato a Pordenone, ho scoperto la musica della mia città ad adolescenza inoltrata, sono arrivato un pelo tardi, credo. La prima volta che ho ascoltato La Testa Indipendente dei TARM ero al mare, stavo aspettando la corriera per tornare verso casa. Non ci potevo credere che gente così vicina a me potesse parlarmi tramite la musica, di cose che sentivo così mie. Faceva sembrare tutto ancora più vicino, ancora più forte.

Come molti altri coetanei sono andato anche a ritroso nella scena di Pordenone, riscoprendo Futuritmi, Tampax e tutti gli altri. Ma il fascino più grande ( o forse è meglio chiamarla sindrome da fratellino minore ) l’ho vissuto guardando al Post-Great Complotto.

Ieri viaggiando con Cecilia in macchina ci siamo ritrovati ad ascoltare un intervista a Davide Toffolo su Radio 2, dove qualcuno ha definito i TARM un fenomeno sociale.  Io sono d’accordo, e credo anche che tutto il movimento delle band da loro supportate e prodotte in questi anni si stia definendo come tale. La Tempesta non è solo un’etichetta, è finalmente il nome che possiamo dare al movimento nella sua interezza.

Provo riverenza per questa scena, ho deciso di guardarla per quanto mi è possibile sempre dal”esterno. Ho paura che se mi avvicino troppo potrebbe sparire la magia. La pelle d’oca. E allora la distanza rimane, mi avvicino ogni tanto, scatto qualche foto. Ma poi torno a casa e rimango ad ascoltare.

Grazie Cecilia, grazie Davide, grazie Enrico, grazie Luca. Grazie a tutti quelli che fanno vivere La Tempesta. Nei prossimi giorni inizieremo a pubblicare le immagini che hanno prodotto i ragazzi del workshop – alcuni bellissimi lavori. Tornate a leggerci.

Qui sotto una piccola anteprima delle immagini della serata. Hard Core Tamburo, Umberto Maria Giardini e Pan del Diavolo.

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Hands and Silence.

Almost two years after the beginning idea, the result is in our hands, tangible. I’m very exited to let you know the book we’ve been working on with so much energy, has been published and will be available in two weeks.

Modern portraits of old craftsmanships has been a long term project that just got to the end. I by the way would like to thank everyone who helped bringing it to life.

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This book is the result of research and a journey in our province lasted a year and a half. We visited more than 60 workshops meeting the last representatives of trades that are endangered. We portrayed them in their workspaces, where the final customer usually does not have access. Women and men, witnesses and architects of a world that, despite the difficulties, and the modernization continues to exist precisely, where it has always been. A reality that today more than ever shows us the way to an innovative succession planning – looking to the future without forgetting past.

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Below a short making of video by our good friend Edoardo Vojvoda, that follows the printing process and serves as invitation to the presentation event.

To our italian friends – who could be able to be at the presentation event: we will show the book and talk about it -together with the writers and  the institutions who supported us, on December 5th, at the Pordenone library, Piazza XX Settembre at 8.30pm.  The book will be available for purchase that night and by December 6th, in bookstores. It will also be soon available for purchase on the web, shipping worldwide.

Here is the link to the event. We really hope to see you there.

In and around the storm.

Should photographs tell stories?

I would answer “yes”. Not that it is always necessary to do so, but it’s often a good thing. Depending on what you are trying do to or who you are working for. Using photographs to let others see what they haven’t seen, or understand something they’re are not able to explore is just like talking. And photographing in a way that others can understand could be a goal.  

If I read more books I get better at writing, If I look at other people’s photographs I get better at shooting.

There is another way of getting better: letting others present us their approach.

Cecilia Ibañez is an old friend who is good, in the simplest and most linear way, at sharing ways of seeing from a different perspective and create projects that shine with clear and rich contents. Last year she published a beautiful book, Dentro la Tempesta (literally, Inside the Storm), a collections of photographs and personal notes taken between 2007 and 2010, spent following some of most relevant independent (yes I said INDIE) bands of our country in their tours and studios. Three years of her life are in there. And it’s magnetic, not only because I love almost all of the bands portrayed in the book, but because you can feel the connection, you can see the string that keeps all of these photographs together. That for me is most powerful way to communicate, flow from a thought to another, seamlessly and effectively. Dentro la Tempesta is strong and simple book, if you’re interested you can get it here. I look at it from time to time, to tell myself, again and again, that shooting is like speaking, not every word should be yelled, not every image should be bold. There is room for pictures that capture you and other that just help you flip to the next page. Every single one of them is crucial. That is why this book works.

Below I’ve photographed some pages.

A couple of years ago, Cecilia started creating workshops about storytelling.  for the upcoming one, that will be held at La Tempesta al Rivolta on December 8th, she asked me to manage the editing and retouching lecture.

This is a beautiful workshop that will evolve in four lectures, pre-production (the creation of a project) , selection, editing and post-production, shooting and final reviews. I recommend it because it’s worthwhile and affordable.

If you would like to learn more feel free to email me or cecilia at info.ceciliaibanez@gmail.com

You can also find more information on Cecilia’s workshops at this link.

Hope to see you there.

Find New Codes.

Back from a 3-day adventure at Padova Vintage Festival. This year, a very special one.

It has been mind opening to live at close contact with true vintage experts, and learn, once again, that looking at the past is not only a matter of style, but a matter of being in love with values of different époques. Where fashion is only the surface of something much deeper.

One of the most controversial speeches in my opinion has been held by Andrea Pezzi, an ex MTV and RAI host and author who now works as strategic consultant for brands worldwide. Many attendants were disturbed by his approach to the whole concept of “vintage”, as he is against the idea of “taking a pair of pants and ruin them up a little in order to give them an story” or even worst “to wear stuff that has been worn by someone much more interesting to get an attitude”. Despite this, what remains from his approach is the fact we need to look forward, stop copying from the past and find new codes to be prepared for the future.

As always maybe, the truth lies in the middle and a great response to mr. Pezzi’s thoughts are given this good article which deals with the concept in much more depth than I could explain here. I also recommend to watch this short interview (in italian!) recorded shortly before his lecture.

I need to publicly thank everyone who worked on it and made me part of it, for making everything smooth. In particular Andrea Tonello, Paolo Orsacchini, Carlo Battiston, Stefano Baccarin and Martina Candotti and all the staff of the press office with the majestic skills of Con Altri Mezzi, the fastest live-feeders in northern Italy.

Below a short selection of portraits I took of speakers and public for the written articles.

In descending order: Andrea Pezzi, Carlo Pastore, Andrea and Anne, Pif, Corrado Pizzighello, Saturnino.

The Condition.

I repost a blog entry by good friend Edoardo Vojvoda. What happened? A short movie project I helped out as gaffer on has just been released and is now going through festivals. The poster is a shot I did of a custom designed bottle by Federico Manias while the soundtrack is completely original, produced, written and arranged by Edoardo Pedrotti & Stefano Salmaso and recorded by so many amazing friends of our city at Altracoustic Studios in Pordenone.

This is Edo’s original post:

“Two years ago, when I was living in California, Greg, René and I decided to shoot a short movie before the end of the University year. Reel Loud, a Silent Film Festival in Santa Barbara, was coming on, so we planned to shot a silent movie in 16mm to show at the festival.

Two years later, I find myself in Pordenone, with a short movie shot with the Canon 5D, dubbed in Italian, subtitled in English, with an amazing Original Score and Poster. How did we end up here? I don’t really know but I like it.

Half of my friends collaborated in this movie. I love you guys all.

So…where is the short movie? It’s going through Festivals, so it’s not public yet. No worries, it’ll be out soon. In the meantime. here’s our wonderful soundtrack.”

Insert your Heart and Brain {HERE}.

It took much more than looking at someone doing it.
It took me (only) a couple of years of unsatisfied feelings and confusion.

Feeling like you are missing the point, or more precisely, that you are doing some of the right things, but not enough of them to be completely happy.

I’m taking about photography. I am not saying I’m completely satisfied with my work, but I’m ok enough to know which way I have to keep trying. I know which direction I have to work the most. To get better I mean.

I thought this epiphany would have been smoother, at least I was really sure I had some ideas. I had NO idea. Not too long ago I decided to start over, and it was a good decision. It will probably have to happen again and again in the years to come.

The reason why it came to me is because I kept processing, until I realized part of the answer is in the way I interpret other photographer’s work.
When people ask me what was like to be working next to David, I always think about being precise. Never let anything to the case, be prepared. I’ve never seen such an efficient crew around a photographer. That same attention to detail can be (should be!) translated on smaller productions as well. David LaChapelle does one thing particularly better than many others in my opinion, he thinks better. It may take three days to build a set that corresponds to his vision, but that is exactly why the final images look great.

You know when people tell you “get the picture right already in the camera” ? I’m sure you’ve heard it before, at least once. Did you think about it? I mean, did you really think about it? It doesn’t really matter whether your shoot produced or very low budget, either way it will make the difference. Maybe not everyone will be able to see it. But who matters will, trust me. And most importantly you will know, you’ve done that shit right.

I haven’t gotten to that point, it’s a goal. I am not even 100% sure it needs to always be that way (there must be exceptions), but you need something to look up to. For me that “something” is the research, preparation, focus and precision the people I worked with put in their art.

I want to quietly thank everyone who helped me understand this. If we’ve worked together you, are definitely on that list. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to learn.

I thought it would have been nice to share some backstage about this. These are some of David portraits of Uma Thurman and Katy Perry on which we broke our backs on, building up, moving, lighting, refining, laughing, sweating, getting yelled at, to get it just right. Every little detail in these images is real and well thought, in their own way these images are honest.

Build the set, tear it down, clean up. And do it again. Hopefully for the rest of your life.