Delaware County. Philadelphia County. Camden County. Cape May County. These are just some of the places that appear in the shots of Billy Cress (or William Cress), a self-taught photographer born in Springfield, Pennsylvania.
Billy’s attention, and consequently his lens, are captured by the places around him, trying to give life to photographs in which peace, calm and quiet are the master, but at the same time, you can feel the presence of man.
The empty streets, the abandoned buildings, the objects left on the edges of the streets are the signs of a world populated and linked to men in which, however, they appear only rarely, almost by chance.
Through his shots, Billy Cress shows the world as it is, or at least as it appears to his eyes, without wanting to tell a story at all costs, just like in the photographic series “When the Neighborhood’s Not Looking“, which later became a photo book published by the independent publishing house Aint-Bad.
Discover a selection of Billy Cress’ shots below and to learn more go to his website.
In Italy, it was the first days of January when some newspapers started talking about mysterious pneumonia present in China.
Then, in the following weeks, while the situation was getting worse, the attention of the press on the subject became more and more present, turning the newspapers into a real daily bulletin on the number of victims, which just today exceeded 1000, on the number of contagions, over 42 thousand, and on the progress of laboratories all over the world desperately engaged in the search for a cure.
In the meantime, the first security measures have arrived from governments, from blocked flights to checks with thermo-scanners in airports and stations, to the compulsory quarantine for tourists coming from China, where the population has been strongly advised not to leave their homes.
But, what happens when the entire population of a city of over 24 million people locks themselves at home for days?
This is what is happening, for the past month, in the most important cities of China, where companies and shops have closed to prevent, or at least reduce, the possibility of contracting the new Coronavirus that is bringing one of the major superpowers in the world to its knees. Among them, of course, is the largest city in the country, Shanghai. People in the deserted streets can be counted on one hand and among them, luckily for us, is Nicole Chan.
I say ‘luckily’ because thanks to her, her work and her shots we have the opportunity to see what the current situation of the city is, but we also have the chance to have a retrospective, a representation of Shanghai more unique than rare, impossible in other circumstances.
The images that make up the photographic series entitled One Person City (一个人城市) were taken during the Chinese New Year – January 25th – which for the first time did not see endless crowds populating public spaces, did not see the classic parades that we try to reproduce in our cities, did not see people celebrating. The scenario is surreal, post-apocalyptic film-like, and like any scenario of an ongoing tragedy has the power and strength to frighten and attract us at the same time. The images of deserted shopping malls, clear six-lane streets, ferries with no one on board, empty crossings are scary, but they couldn’t be more beautiful.
Without the presumption of making artistic shots or with precise aesthetic research, Nicole Chan, who has dared to walk the streets of Shanghai, has succeeded in what should be the first goal of a photographer, or rather of an artist, to become the testimony of her time.
Tom Sebastiano is a photographer born in Italy, able to capture through his camera something ordinary and make it magical and poetic in the eyes of the beholder. A simplicity that touches many of the projects of the Italian photographer, good at transforming everyday habits into the center of interest. Although it may seem strange, he chose to dedicate himself totally to photography only ten years ago.
With his photos Tom Sebastiano is able to tell with a single image more than a whole encyclopedia does, he is complete in his way of shooting, he can find details to others hidden managing to fully grasp what surrounds him. Photography for the artist is a mixture of composition, light, and emotion, which quietly portrays portraits, desolate urban landscapes, and inanimate objects. Interest may fluctuate in an infinite variety of subjects, but the concept always remains uniform and still.
“Animate” is one of his latest photographic projects in which the protagonists are objects that we all use every day. A project where time seems to stop in the snapshot of the photo, where there are no spatial or temporal references. Tables, old paintings and vintage table football become the unexpected protagonists of each frame, totally capturing the attention as if it were portraying a person. His photography is planned, but not in the smallest details and often it is just a combination of places seen before with imagined scenarios.
All the “stories” he manages to capture with his lens can be found in his blog, “winter dreaming“. A unique photographer capable of capturing a thousand shades in a single shot, capable as one of his American colleagues Elliot Erwitt mentioned, of photographing without having to explain things.
“Taliami e te fazzu petra” literally look at me and you become stone is a project by Salvatore Di Gregorio, photographer of Sicilian origin as you can guess from the title. The reportage is set in San Berillo, a historic area in the historic center of Catania, one of the first red-light districts in Europe. With this project he doesn’t want to tell the lively nightlife, but to put the area, always forgotten by everyone, under a new light. A degraded neighborhood, a redevelopment was designed many years ago, but then never completely happened.
The first camera he bought when he was 30 years old. He previously worked in Rome in a recording studio with musicians of the caliber of Ennio Morricone and Danger Mouse. Later he moved to London, where he frequented a Master in Enterprise and Management for the Creative Arts. But only after being in South-East Asia, precisely between Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, did he understand that he wanted to shoot and visually document the contemporary world and its surroundings.
The title of the project is emblematic, as it was initially intended to be named after the myth of the Medusa inspired by the traditional symbol of the Trinacria. The intensity of the prostitutes’ gaze reminded it of the Goddess, who turned anyone who looked at her into stone.
An area that is a perfect example of integration, where people of all nationalities live. Salvatore Di Gregorio has been there to capture the virtues and defects, contradiction and desire for rebirth of the neighborhood.