Global Landscapes - Interview with Stefano Parisi

How and when did you take up photography? Did you attend any photography class?
«I started to take pictures when I was 20 year-old, mainly because I wanted to have photos of my travels, my greatest passion. Over the years, I've attended various photography workshops and also studied on my own. From the very beginning, though, I've always tried to enhance my skills by attending as many photography exhibitions as I could – a very good school! – and collecting books, rather than focusing my attention only on my technical skills».

What's your technique? Do you use a lot of photo-editing?
«My experience as a photographer can be divided in two parts: in the first one, I mainly did reportage photography using black-and-white films and then sending the films to the best printers in Milan. In the latter one, I took colour digital photos, mainly focusing on landscape photography – but I kept sending the films out for printing. I don't rely too much on photo-editing tools, I don't want it to affect the composition of the image. In general, I'm quite instinctive as a photographer and I don't plan my shots in advance: I “see” an image and I try to capture it. I'm definitely influenced by the great masters who've inspired my work over the course of my career».

Can you name some of them?
«I could list dozens of photographers I love and who've influenced my artistic language. When I was shooting in black-and-white, I used to look at Gianni Berengo Gardin, William Klein and – above all – Gabriele Basilico. Right now, my work on landscapes is deeply influenced by the great Luigi Ghirri and by those artists who participated in Viaggio in Italia in 1984, a project that really left its mark on Italian contemporary photography».

Can you speak of the photographs selected by Alidem? Let's start from the black-and-white shots...
«Some of them belong to the series Australian Roadhouses (2006), where I tried to capture the unique charm of the roadhouses in the Australian Outback, a place where one can drive for hundreds of kilometres without seeing anyone else. Some others are part of Carnevale di Ivrea (2007, The Carnival of Ivrea), a work I'm really fond of. I tried to look at the event from an unusual perspective, black-and-white instead of colour, wide-angle lens instead of tele-photo lens – all in order to better capture the spirit that characterises the battle of the oranges, the highlight of the carnival».

What about Global Landscapes?
«Global Landscapes belongs to the colour series of the same name. I've been working on this project for many years and its focus is on humanised landscapes. My aim is to show how globalisation had an impact on different countries and continents, to point out that this ongoing process has already cancelled many of the differences between different places of the world. All landscapes look the same now. Urban and natural areas are the background for items that look surreal, “out of place”, but that we also associate to our daily-life. Looking at the pictures, the scene looks familiar, normal, but in the end we just remember of the details that didn't seem to fit in, like an ugly image painted on the side of a van».

What are you working on now?
«I'm still working on Global Landscapes and I'm also selecting and printing the images from Expo 2015. I'm also shooting some jazz concerts, as jazz music is another one of my passions. I do hope I'll be able to hold an exhibition about it».