Gabriele Zago’s photography is a journey to faraway places

Gabriele Zago’s photography is a journey to faraway places

Giulia Guido · 2 years ago · Photography

We are not alone and we are not all the same. We often use to forget that there are communities and places that have survived the disruptive force of globalization, which unifies and flattens every aspect of society.
Gabriele Zago is an Italian photographer who has focused his work on research and documentation of ethnic groups, territories and populations that, although threatened by what we call progress, manage to preserve traditions, customs and values.

What Gabriele offers us is a journey into distant territories that, among glances that tell a thousand stories, has the objective of making us know what happens in the world and make us discover realities far from our own and therefore of immense value.

Gabriele Zago’s photography is both discovery and testimony, thanks to which we are transported among African tribes, or even to Papua New Guinea where he realized his latest project entitled “Colors still remain“.

You can see the shots of this project live from November 27th in Turin, where Gabriele will exhibit for Ph.ocus – About photography in the “Please, Take Care” section.

Color still remain

Waiting for the beginning of the exhibition, Gabriele Zago tell us more about his work. Don’t miss the interview below!

How did you approach photography? 

I have a traditional artistic education, I grew up through freehand drawing and therefore with a more academic language, but I have always been interested in visual arts in all its declinations. However, it was thanks to the travels that I found in photography the medium that most represents me. When I am lucky enough to explore new territories and get in touch with new situations, I feel compelled to immortalize those moments already knowing that that photography will not only describe an instant but will be the beginning of a process that will evolve into something new. 

With your photographs, you take us to faraway places like Ethiopia, Madagascar, Benin. What stories are you looking for? Which stories do you want to tell? 

My research focuses on photographically documenting ethnic groups, territories and populations threatened today by progress and globalization. The photographs that I use for my projects come mainly from travel experiences.

Deception valley

I choose destinations that can enrich my culture and put me to the test, not only physically, but also psychologically. I look for themes that are often little known in the West in order to make my work an instrument of diffusion and information. My shot, therefore, does not want to describe the subject but brings to light the reality that the subject is forced to face. 
I am particularly fascinated and stimulated by the African continent, but I had the opportunity to visit all 5 continents in search of creative ideas. From one of the most recent trips, the one to Papua New Guinea draws inspiration for the project “Colors still remain” that I will exhibit this year as part of Ph.ocus – About photography by Paratissima, presented for the first time by Galleria Ferrero Arte Contemporanea in Ivrea.

Which role does post-production play in your creative process?

My works are born as reportage shots, but post-production is a fundamental element of my artistic expression.
The manipulation of my photographs through graphic devices shows, in an evident and emphasized way, those socio-political processes that are often not visible or do not reach our reality. These are not just photographs, but shots that clearly give back to everyone a process of modification, upheaval and alienation suffered by the subjects and the territory in which they live. 

It is obvious to say that during your travels you have a very different type of equipment at your disposal than a photographer in the studio. What, in your opinion, is the necessary equipment for this type of photography? 

During my reportage trips, I always travel extremely lightweight, most of the time with only one piece of hand luggage. This also determines the volume of the equipment I carry with me. I always travel with my inseparable reflex camera and a couple of lenses that I can use depending on the situations I find myself in. I would like to take a wider choice of lenses with me, but due to the extreme conditions in which I often find myself, they would only get in the way. Since they are not cutlery photos, it would be very difficult to change lenses depending on the situation, with the risk of losing the moment. In some cases, even the smartphone has helped me to capture some situations that required more discretion!
The technical support for me has a secondary role as the focus of my research is not so much the technically perfect shot as the resulting graphic rendering.

Is there a shot that was particularly complicated to take? Tell us about it. 

I must admit that every time I find myself in reportage situations the biggest difficulty to overcome is the tension of not being able to get the “right” shot. My travels bring me into contact with such rare and unique realities that it is almost always difficult to capture them objectively.

The reasons for these “difficulties” can be the most varied, from people’s distrust to cultural differences and religious taboos, without often neglecting the adversities of weather and geographical conditions. Often reaching the most remote tribes has forced me to undertake even arduous crossings of several days in a canoe under the scorching sun or dangerous storms.
For example, in many African tribes photography is seen as a tool that steals the soul; in some remote areas of North Vietnam still strongly subjugated by the war, the zoom of the camera frightens like a weapon; in Benin, photography can become an instrument of blackmail in voodoo; in Papua New Guinea many tribes do not have the slightest perception of why their image should be trapped inside a black box.

Color still remain

In all these situations being able to photograph in a natural way the subject is very difficult and often I had to give up shooting in order to respect the culture with which I measured myself.
In reconnecting to the project “Colors still remain”, great difficulty was also represented by the socio-political and geographical nature of Papua New Guinea, a very unstable and dangerous territory where the beauty of the tribes and their rituals mixes with the violence and guerrillas that must be faced and accepted daily in order to approach these incredible communities.

Gabriele Zago’s photography is a journey to faraway places
Photography
Gabriele Zago’s photography is a journey to faraway places
Gabriele Zago’s photography is a journey to faraway places
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The 11 new murals of the T.R.U.St project

The 11 new murals of the T.R.U.St project

Tommaso Berra · 3 days ago · Art

Taranto for the third edition has called together some important street artists, with the task of giving the city new works of public art and putting the spotlight on the tradition in street art in the city.
T.R.U.St (Taranto Regeneration Urban and Street) has involved international artists, bringing to thirty-three the number of works created since 2020 in the city, for an exhibition route that touches all the main points of the city.

Among the names that have put the tag on Taranto’s walls are Super A and his cartoon style, the color energy of Spanish artist Anna Taratiel, Etsom and his reimagining of one of the city’s symbols as the dolphin. Claudio Morne offers his sentimental take on figures of reference for the city; Vesod, on the other hand, played on the boundary between figurative and abstract. Other names include Aches, and Joys’ lettering study. Also JDL, IOTA, Alessandra Carloni and Dadospuntocero’s hyperrealism dedicated to climate change issues.
T.R.U.St is again this year one of the certainties to discover the state of street art and its ability to create a dialogue with the urban context and the whole community that lives it.

T.R.U.St | Collater.al
T.R.U.St | Collater.al
T.R.U.St | Collater.al
T.R.U.St | Collater.al
T.R.U.St | Collater.al
T.R.U.St | Collater.al
T.R.U.St | Collater.al
T.R.U.St | Collater.al
T.R.U.St | Collater.al
The 11 new murals of the T.R.U.St project
Art
The 11 new murals of the T.R.U.St project
The 11 new murals of the T.R.U.St project
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The Milan of “miracles” – interview with Guè and 5tate Of Mind

The Milan of “miracles” – interview with Guè and 5tate Of Mind

Tommaso Berra · 1 day ago · Art, Style

Milan is the place where things happen, the city of ‘miracles’ in the words of 5tate Of Mind, a brand that has launched its new collection dedicated to the city, which celebrates the entry into the brand of Guè, a symbol of a certain Milan at least as much as the Madonnina. It is precisely the Madonnina, together with the Biscione and a well-defined iconographic repertoire, that has mixed with the street world that has been part of 5tate Of Mind since its foundation in 2011. Founder Jimmy Spinelli explains that “Emme-I Miracles wants to recreate the character of a city and an entire movement, the miracles of Milan are seen through the eyes of the street, which does not wait for them but tries to make them happen“.
The collection was born years ago when we associated the brand motto with various cities, starting with Bologna and a JAY-Z cover. We wanted to give each city a team, without renouncing two aspects that even today are essential for a brand: credibility and authenticity with which ideas are born and transmitted“, the founder told Collater.al at the launch event in the Atipici store in Milan. 

In this collection, a direction is indicated that tries not to deviate from the path traced by hip-hop of its origins, there are garments and elements that reinterpret elements of the underground tradition since the 90s: “authenticity is important, timeless style has seen iconic garments and elements that return and are reworked such as a collegiate sporty style, technical-military style and the use of graphics on hoodies and t-shirts”, elements that appear on Miracles garments in orange, black and grey.

Giacomo Berti Arnoaldi Veli, a partner in the brand together with Guè, talks about how the aim is to ‘reconnect with the communities in the cities that are part of the movement of which we are an expression’, then adds that 5tate Of Mind has a ‘connection with the world of music and cultural movements that hardly other brands have. We are really connected with musicians from north and south and will do so in the future through events and faces that belong to the scene. Emme-I Miracles is not a collection that follows a movement but moves in unison with it, it represents and at the same time is part of a movement.
In the background some of Guè’s hits from recent years play, he has arrived in store and we ask him to tell us about the project too.

Some symbols of Milan are taken up in the collection, what is your symbol of the city?
Milan has famous symbols everywhere but there are many others. One of the ones I am attached to is Parco Sempione, it shaped me a lot in the 90s, there was a mixed humanity and I got into hip hop through the graffiti and writer scene that frequented the park.
The Milanese are portrayed in their stereotypes, that too is a symbol of Milan, as is the fact that it is the most European city in Italy and the mecca of hip hop, if all the major artists live here there must be a reason.
 

5tate Of Mind | Collater.al

The collection wants to be a unifying element for the scene, what is the aim of Emme-I Miracles?
The collection aims to pay homage to an original style, which is where we come from, I came into the project, we started from Milan but we will pay homage to other cities.

What do you like about rap music today?
There’s no one direction and I like that, so there’s no one drift. Everything is rehashed and it’s a cycle that comes back, a more original sound is coming back and it’s successful, Marracash does hip hop for adults and it works, kids on the other hand interpret the genres of now and it’s normal. There are many facets and many are successful, I prefer certain sounds but I don’t condemn anything, I listen more to reggae and Jamaican dancehall but everyone brings something new to their projects. Everything ends up in a blender and that’s interesting, then in the end one already listens to what one wants, there are interesting things everywhere.

Spotify’s Wrapped recently came out, which artists did you listen to the most?
In Italy the one I listened to most was Paky, on the chart I also had light artists like Bad Bunny, who I have always appreciated, and Drake, who although he has disappointed me with his latest projects is perfect for more chill situations. Among the underground I had Joey Badass, he was quite strange my Wrapped.

PH: Andrès Juan Suarez

The Milan of “miracles” – interview with Guè and 5tate Of Mind
Art
The Milan of “miracles” – interview with Guè and 5tate Of Mind
The Milan of “miracles” – interview with Guè and 5tate Of Mind
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Kensuke Koike, the alchemist of the image

Kensuke Koike, the alchemist of the image

Tommaso Berra · 1 week ago · Art

In Santeria Paladini 8 in Milan, on the occasion of the series of meetings organized by Curiouser and Curiouser was guest artist Kensuke Koike, or as he better describes himself, an “alchemist of the image.”
Koike’s work starts from painting; it was in Venice, during his years of studies, that due to circumstances he decided to shift his attention to photographic images, especially those yellowed and abandoned by time, which would lead him to develop a style close to collage, but also to kinetic art, and magic.

Photography for Kensuke Koike is an object to be transformed, which is why he does not consider a photographer, whose creative process is the result of a moment, of speed of execution. Koike also takes months and months before he is able to find the correct combination and arrangement of elements, in a creative method typical of Japanese art and ritual in general.
From his archive of some 80,000 photos he then begins a journey through sepia-toned subjects and faces, which are cut, torn, superimposed, combined, rotated, giving new meaning to unknown stories. It is the simplicity of how Kensuke’s works work – well documented on Instagram – that draws the viewer in. The way the works unravel and deform create videos that we might find in a “satisfying” section, a result achieved by the precision of the cuts, the manic study of composition and movement.

Kensuke Koike, the alchemist of the image
Art
Kensuke Koike, the alchemist of the image
Kensuke Koike, the alchemist of the image
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Milan’s new “Paladins of Dreams” in Wish Mi project mural

Milan’s new “Paladins of Dreams” in Wish Mi project mural

Tommaso Berra · 1 week ago · Art

As of Saturday, November 19, the Via Spaventa neighborhood in Milan has two new “Paladins of Dreams,” these are two figures painted by artist La Fille Bertha together with the boys and girls of the UIA project “Wish Mi: Wellbeing Integrated System of Milan.”
Over the past few months, together with ActionAid Italia educators, the artist and the boys and girls involved in the project identified themes capable of telling the identity of an entire neighborhood, but also the dreams of the new generations living in it.
The artwork presented filled the Milanese neighborhood with energy not only thanks to the bright colors and the artist’s geometric and minimal style, but also to the action of the boys and girls, who, after coming up with the concept of the work, took cans and colors themselves, contributing to the creation of the mural. 

Wish Mi showed art as a tool for participation, sharing and dialogue between residents and the city. The talent of La Fille Bertha helped push further the imagination horizons of the boys and girls, who in turn opened an imaginary of symbols and subjects, in a mutual exchange that culminated in “The Paladins of Dreams.”
The nature of the project, co-funded by the European Commission-European Regional Development Fund and developed by the City of Milan, ActionAid Italy, Milan Polytechnic Foundation, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, and ABCittà Cooperative, is to define the needs and dreams of an active community, whose dreams must be represented by the context that surrounds them and by figures that are totems of hope, just like the paladins represented in the work.
After the mural created in 2021 by Mister Thoms in the Comasina-Bruzzano neighborhood, Wish Mi 2022 returns to reinterpret the role of Milan and the young generations that inhabit it through public art. A wall that will be the backdrop to the walks of an entire neighborhood, it will be the background and starting point of stories yet to be written and dreamed. 

Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Wish Mi | Collater.al
Milan’s new “Paladins of Dreams” in Wish Mi project mural
Art
Milan’s new “Paladins of Dreams” in Wish Mi project mural
Milan’s new “Paladins of Dreams” in Wish Mi project mural
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