Interview #388: Andrea de Franco

Born in 1989, Italy.

q: Give a short introduction of yourself:
a: I am currently studying Illustration in Urbino, a very small renaissance city, elevation 451 mt. I come from Francavilla Fontana in Southern City, a city in between Salento (lovely seaside) and Valle d'Itria (lovely countryside). I’ve some kind of a fetish for books; I own nothing but books, brushes, musical instruments and cameras. I try my best to cook properly and I am trying to make a living out of the stuff I love.

q: What’s been keeping you busy lately?
a: My school lately took most of my time. Working on illustration is one hell of a wonderful thing! I just started to make my first animation works. I have stopped taking portraits for a long time and took only snapshots for some months, but I promise I’ll start again in the next few weeks. I have fresh Kodak Ektar in the fridge.

q: It seems to be a growing kind of aesthetic where the artist or photographer very carefully decontextualizes their images and reduces the subject to it’s “essentials”. Paolo Roversi mentioned, “Photography is more about subtraction than addition for me; I try to avoid all distractions and submit my subject in its own aura and presence.” Do you feel it relates to your pictures in any way?
a: I think that moving stuff out of context is typical and almost inherent to any imaging process. The simple gesture of making an image causes it to relate to a whole new surrounding. That’s part of the reason why all my pictures have some sort of frame or space around it. It’s so mesmerizing to create relationships in between pictures, I have to say I most of the times feel like I’m not good enough to have a proper control of it. My white frames are some sort of lifesaver from this perspective.

Those Roversi words are, in my opinion, quite typical and reasonable for a studio photographer. Studio photography is heavy, bulky, long, slow, and I understand how difficult is to obtain a sense of lightness and fleeing elegance to it, but I prefer to be more on the ground and open to. I do not like to rebuild some kind of reality or esthetic out of nothing - which may easily mean to simulate it. I’m more satisfied with building something out of scratch or from basic elements, like a living room with a couch and a lamp, a countryside road nobody cares about or some noisy place. Subtracting shapes from a person is another exercise I’ve enjoyed and played a bit, especially with my friend Maura. The idea of reducing a body, such a complex envelope of flesh, mind, emotions, past and future, etcetera, into a scheme of light and shadows that may just partially or deviously reveal itself - that’s some kind of fun. One my photographs I’m most proud of quite literally follows this concept. I like it because it’s questioning and thought-provoking, rather than nice or beautiful.

Given the sense of abstraction and subtraction in a studio environment, the same Roversi spoke about, I think I’d experiment on optical qualities of photography in a studio environment. I would need a tripod, some prisms, interesting textures or colors and a mirror though!

q: What camera equipment do you use?
a: My cameras are a Pentax K1000, a Mamiya C330 and a Linhof Technika 6x9. I had a beloved mju II that broke up some weeks ago. I don’t know when I’ll have enough money to buy another P&S but I’ll definitely do.
I also have strong preferences on films and developers. My workhorse is Tri-X, developed in rodinal and printed in Maco Ecofix or Tetenal Eukobrom. Most used colour films are Ektar, AS-color (a german discount film) and expired Portra.

q: What was the last good film you saw?
a: I really enjoyed Altered States by Ken Russell, Le Ballon Rouge by Albert Lamorisse… saw the last movie of the X-Men franchise as well and got totally bored. Tonite I’ll watch Gravity by Cuarón, I hope those big-named actors did not ruin it.

q: Any artist or photographers that inspire you right now?
a: Truth Study Center by Wolfgang Tillmans is the book on top of my wishlist at the moment. I am also enjoying a lot the books he put on download on his website.

I’m also looking forward the first two books from the publishing house Skinnerboox, held by Milo Montelli.

I’m always inspired by my huge friends Antonio, Gabriele, Daniele, Marzia, Lorenzo. Other recent discoveries: Amanda Jasnowski, Ilaria, Lùa Ocaña, Alessandro Ruggeri and Pavel Samokhvalov. Other young evergreens: Claudia Moroni, Mark Peckmezian, Èriver Hijano, Masha Svyatogor, Alexey Dubinsky, Jonathan Jacques, Thomas Albdorf, Mariano Brizzola, Sylvain Emmanuel-P., Marija Strajnic, Dany Peschl, Can Dagarslani, Charalampos Kydonakis, Jeremy O'Sullivan, Paula Aparicio. Masters: Brassaï, Werner Bischof, Nadar, Guido Guidi, Gabriele Basilico, Andreas Feininger, and the guys that took photographs in the antarctic expeditions in early 1900.

q: Any new music to recommend?
a: Well in some weeks ZU (vernacular jazz-punk) will release new music but there’s nothing to hear but a little teaser.

My latest obsession has been with a lovely release by Touch, a two-track album by cellist and vocalist Hildur Gudnadottir called Leyfdu Ijosinu. Also the new album by MAST, Omni, it’s big. To venture into heavy stuff, STORM{O} released a powerful full-length whose title translation is “Suspended in void we’ll burn in a moment and the circle will be closed”.

his flickr.


About Blooks - Discovering the book as object, Mindell Dubansky (ongoing)

This blog is devoted to the subject of BLOOKS, objects made in the emulation of books, either by hand or commercial manufacture. […]

The transformation of the book is an inescapable theme of contemporary life. As a result of the advancement of computer technology, the book as we have known it is experiencing a major cultural shift and many question the future of the physical book. Simultaneously, we know that there are many kinds of books for which there is no substitute and more than ever, artists, designers, collectors, and librarians are attracted to books for their physical beauty, historical significance, structural properties and emotional currency. Interest in rare books, the book arts, the use of the book in works of art, and book re-purposing is flourishing. Blook-objects have a prominent place in this reinvention of the role of the book, as you will see as this blog develops.

See also: Blook, Wikipedia

via Andrea de Franco