Contemporary Elderly, Louis De Belle and the beauty of the third age.

Contemporary Elderly, Louis De Belle and the beauty of the third age.

Collater.al Contributors · 5 years ago · Photography

We are in Milan, in Corso Sempione 33. In 1953 the architect Piero Bottoni designed the INA Palace, which is much more than a simple building, it’s a proposal for a new way of living the city life, where the private space is combined with the public space: the terrace, the commercial ground floor, shops, offices, a communal garden… A very innovative project at that time, with two different facades, a rationalist and an expressionist one. Here on the ground floor Stefano Branca di Romanico opened Galera San Soda, and after the first exhibition by Goswin Schwendinger, he’s now presenting Louis De Belle’s first exhibition titled “Contemporary Elderly”. A project about the third age’s aesthetics

Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al

Contemporary Elderly is a series of colorized photographs of older people shot in the streets of Milano. An insight into the status of senior citizens in modern times, through close-up crops on postures, clothing details and specific gestures, emphasized by the selective process of colorization – a method of manually adding color to a black-and-white photograph.

We asked Louis De Belle some questions about his work.

What is the colorization technique?

The photos are taken in black and white, then digitally colored. It’s a technique from the past that we decided to re-use in a contemporary way. The result are 14 images, in which the spot colors merge with the image, keeping shadows and light.

Where did you take it?

I tried to go to the places most frequented by this generation: markets, bars like La Coloniale or Marchesi where they meet to drink a “bianchino” or a coffee. We are in normal contexts, the intention was to portray people of this age because they often seem to have appeared in our daily life, but here they are the protagonists.

How did you approach them? How did you photograph them?

Walking down the street in Milan in the summertime, trying to find them in a natural way: the people are never posing, it’s street photography, which nevertheless rises to another level due to colorization. In each image, there are never more than three colors.

“Contemporary Elderly” is an exclusive project for Galera San Soda?

Yes, Stefano and I share a curiosity for the third age. The work is a celebration of our friendship but it’s also linked to the city of Milan and to this rationalist building…to the innovative life proposed by Piero Bottoni.

…And the blue carpet?

The carpet in the collective imagination is an old element, the idea was to use a material that led back to the cliché of an elder’s apartment. We have chosen a blue that changes the space but remains detached: it’s a calm and safe color, which allows images to float in a monochromatic space.

Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al

How did you print the photos?

They are UV prints on plexiglass. It’s a perfect support to the colorization, with plexiglass there’s no glass and so there’s no reflection, it’s plastic, a pop material. The polished aluminum frames bind to the interior layout starting from the INA building fixtures up to the gallery furnishings.

Steno, how did the idea of ​​the third age come out?

It was 10 years ago, our relationship was about music and then we went further. At 21 we liked to emulate the elderly, followed routines, Gilbert & George were our points of reference. When I returned to Milan after London I opened the gallery and wanted to do an exhibition with Louis to close the circle and return to our common passion. The selection process was complicated because many photos did not do justice to the final series, we want to praise and not do something tragicomic, we wanted to evoke an apparatus of sensations linking them to the gesture of the body.

Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al
Contemporary Elderly Louis De Belle | Collater.al

Text by Bianca Felicori

Contemporary Elderly, Louis De Belle and the beauty of the third age.
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Contemporary Elderly, Louis De Belle and the beauty of the third age.
Contemporary Elderly, Louis De Belle and the beauty of the third age.
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The freedom without veils in Birdee’s shots

The freedom without veils in Birdee’s shots

Giulia Guido · 4 weeks ago · Photography

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly / Into the light of the dark black night, sang the Beatles more than fifty years ago, and it is this song, and its message of freedom, that inspired Jamie Johnson in the choice of what is now her stage name, Birdee. Birdee has been shooting since 2014, when she started with self-portraits. Today, her photographs taken mainly in analogical form are able to analyze the themes of femininity, strength and grace.  The young girls who are the protagonists of her shots are beautiful, carefree, suspended but not for this reason they are not determined and tenacious. Moreover, the fact that we almost never show their bodies in full and often hide their faces helps us to identify with them. They are nobody, so they can be anyone, even ourselves. 

Scrolling through Birdee’s website or her Instagram profile, you will notice that in addition to female figures there is also another element that always comes back in her shots, real water. It almost seems as if the graceful bodies of the girls who shoot are transformed in contact with the waves of the sea or a swimming pool. The little bubbles that caress the skin give light and life to the images. 

Discover a selection of Birdee’s photographs below. 

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The Weight of Memory through Ana Topoleanu’s Shots

The Weight of Memory through Ana Topoleanu’s Shots

Collater.al Contributors · 4 weeks ago · Photography

Ana Topoleanu is a Romanian-Mexican photographer who blends elements from her origins into captivating visual narratives. Her journey into photography began as a means to express her thoughts and capture the essence of the world around her, a passion ignited after completing her studies at the University of Sociology in Bucharest. Since then, photography has become more than just a craft for Topoleanu: it is her universal language and preferred form of expression. Inspired by the diverse cultures of Romania and Mexico, Topoleanu’s work invites viewers on a journey of discovery, urging them to pause, reflect, and appreciate the beauty that exists in both the ordinary and extraordinary. Her photography delves into themes such as the role of women in society, the complexities of motherhood, and the power of human relationships and memories. Today, we discuss “My Pillow”, a project that reflects on memory; let’s see how.

Ana Topoleanu’s My Pillow

One of her most touching projects, “My Pillow,” is a testament to the emotional depth and complexity of her work. The project began during the last years of her grandmother’s life, who accompanied her during her formative years. Topoleanu fondly remembers her grandmother, affectionately called mamaia, as a source of love, guidance, and inspiration. As her grandmother’s health declined, Topoleanu embarked on a photographic journey to preserve the memories of their time together and honor her legacy.

Topoleanu felt that this approach lacked the depth she wanted to convey. Through continuous refinement and introspection, the project evolved into “My Pillow,” a title deeply rooted in memory, representing a poignant moment before her grandmother’s passing. While working on My Pillow, Topoleanu focused on capturing the ephemeral nature of time and the inevitable passage of generations. Each photograph served as an attempt to freeze moments slipping away, reflecting the gradual fading of precious memories and the profound impact of loss.

For Topoleanu, “My Pillow” is more than just a photographic series: it is a labor of love, a tribute to her grandmother, and a reflection of her personal journey through grief and healing. Through her lens, she invites viewers to explore the universal themes of love, loss, and the enduring power of memory.

The Weight of Memory through Ana Topoleanu’s Shots
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Marta Passalacqua and the sad side of summer

Marta Passalacqua and the sad side of summer

Collater.al Contributors · 4 weeks ago · Photography

Summertime Sadness is called Marta Passalacqua‘s photographic project that reveals the sad side of summer. Born almost unconsciously, Passalacqua’s shots place colorful elements in dialogue with desolate settings. Summer has not yet begun, or has just ended. The photographer provides no spatio-temporal indications except for a few clues. A deserted beach with closed umbrellas, then cloths lying in the sun. Or even unlit showers. Human presence never appears but is instead replaced by “objects that smell of saltiness,” placed in a suspended and infinite time that seems to never end. «Summertime Sadness” is the poignant melancholy that catches us, often unprepared, in the middle of a sunny afternoon. It has the flavor of moments already experienced and others still waiting for us, unknown,» reads the curatorial text of Liquida Photofestival in Turin, where Marta Passalacqua will exhibit from May 2 to 5, 2024.

marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al
marta passalacqua | Collater.al

Courtesy Marta Passalacqua

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Marta Passalacqua and the sad side of summer
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Perspective, Suzanne Saroff distorted photography

Perspective, Suzanne Saroff distorted photography

Giulia Pacciardi · 4 weeks ago · Photography

In her latest series Perspective, the photographer Suzanne Saroff, creates distorted images of colourful food using glass objects and vases filled with water.
Images play with light and shadow, appearing fractured, divided into several parts, shrinking and incredibly distorted.

With tools and techniques such as refraction, directional light and vivid colours, her photographs offer to everyday objects alternative visual paths.
In fact, through shadows and fragmentation, they seem to become something more than what they really are.

Follow her on Instagram to stay up to date on her beautiful photographic project.

Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 1 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 2 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 3 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 4 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 5 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 6 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 7 Perspective, le fotografie distorte di Suzanne Saroff | Collater.al 8

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