"Puglia & Sicily were too crowded so we stayed at home" is a self-published book and project by Andy Massacesi, Italian photographer and art director.
The book, released this year, made me think at how always more often in the contemporary photographic panorama we encounter polyhedral figures, that operate in the image world, covering different professional roles. I wanted to better understand how this dynamic can impact on the creation of a personal project such this one.
- Andy, can you explain a bit how "Puglia & Sicily were too crowded so we stayed at home" came out?
The photographs of this project were taken during the summer, last year.
For a number of reasons, since a long time I wanted to create something that spoke about me…and of the place I come from.
My studies and my work often kept me away from my region, Marche, in central Italy. So I decided to slow down for once and take some time to rediscover familiar places, places I’m attached to, dear friends and memories of my childhood.
- You work as a fashion photographer, art director and graphic designer. How these activities impact on your personal work?
I always believed a heterogenous education to be very important. At the moment I’m almost exclusively working with photographs, but art direction and graphic design have been essential paths in my life, and they still are!
Today, the construction of a project and its subsequent promotion, require you to work on multiple ‘mediums’; to know the rules and the dynamics of different disciplines helps you to have greater control on your work, and a better dialogue with your collaborators.
- There are several fashion and commercial photographers that develops intense and beautiful personal projects and connected books. What are your references in your personal works?
I ‘eat’ a lot of photography, and obviously I have my photographic cornerstones which, whether good or bad, I’ll never give up. Together with lots of films, books, architecture…these make up my references. Most importantly for personal works, I always allow some time to listen to myself, and my needs; to never lose the bipolar quality of photography, made of nostalgic beauty and irony.
- In your job as a commercial photographer how much you feel free to explore and experiment your personal photographic language? Do you think that is a cage or a tool?
I certainly feel free and more of an author, when taking portraits. Ultimately it mostly depends on the ‘human capital’ which you engage with…I’m talking about art directors, agencies, directors etc.
In the Italian fashion industry - which is ‘still’ the main market I’m intertwined to - I generally feel curiosity towards who tries a more artistic approach, at the same time a distinct feeling of distrust. Resulting into a small number of niches in which a photographer can express himself.
I think that we are still attached to the visual representation of the product, losing sight of what new language methodologies can do to sell products better.