Interview with Maxi Magnano
Q: Hi Maxi, welcome to Pellicola! Tell us something about your life and yourself.
I read somewhere that your personality changes when you switch language. I'm not sure what I'm like in English. I'm turning 29 today. I'm growing old in every possible language.
Q: When and why did you start taking pictures?
I can't remember when I started taking pictures, every memory of what could have been the first picture I took has a previous, older memory attached. I remember taking pictures of my parents on a trip when I was about six years old, but in this memory I already know how to handle the camera, what it's for, where to point at, what will happen when I shoot. I guess the original moment and the original reason are lost.
Q: How do you choose your subjects or locations?
I walk. I wander around. I believe displacement is very useful. I go to places I don't know.
Q: Many of your shots instill a feeling of solitude or melancholia. Empty armchairs, empty diners, like someone was there 5 minutes before and left right before your shot. Does this view correspond with your aim?
Sometimes I think about taking pictures of the people who work or live in the places I photograph. I'm too shy to ask, so the result is empty pictures. I like what you say about someone having just left the scene. There's an abscence that defines the scenes. Void and absence are necessary for every code to be understandable.
Q: Your use of light is very accurate and refined, how lights influence a picture and how important is your shots?
Light affects our mood, I think. I like to shoot at night, when the artificial lights generate spaces of darkness. It's harder for me to take pictures in plain daylight, when everything is lit. Shadows are just as important.
Q: Why do you still shoot film? What is your favourite set up film/camera/lens?
I shoot film because I don't want to see the pictures right away. I don't think it's better or "more real", I just prefer to wait, to forget what I shoot and then find it again. I use a reflex camera and I also carry a little automatic camera with an incorporated flash.
Q: What does make a great photo for you?
The unintended side. Great pictures have a lot of space left by the photographer for us to watch. They have a dimension that's not under the photographer's control.
Q: If you could meet a great photographer who will he or she be?
I like the work of many photographers but I'm not sure about meeting them. I like the pictures, I'm indifferent to the human author.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects?
I'd like to travel around Argentina, photographing little towns, hotels, restaurants. I don't have any concrete projects. Maybe publishing some of my pictures on physical editions.
Q: Suggest us a film or an album.
An album, Guided By Voices' Bee Thousand