Simarght

The new Turin artistic scene

1 FEBRUARY 2017,
Max Petrone by Simarght, detail
Max Petrone by Simarght, detail

Simarght is part of a new phenomenon which has recently lighten up the city of Turin again. An artistic exploit she has decided to photograph from a very fascinating and personal perspective. We had the chance to meet her after her recent victory of the Meet McCurry Prize and the EXYT - Expose Your Talent exhibition in Milan.

‘I see what I see. See it with me.’ is your motto. It is, therefore, natural to ask you if it is important to share your vision with the final user of your images, when you are deciding what to photograph.

When I photograph I try to capture the person or the object in front of me and I try not to think that much. I rely on spontaneous shots. What I see then is only what I want to see. I don’t feel the need to search or create something else. It is only afterwards, while choosing which pictures to publish, that I find myself evaluating which shots can be good enough to represent what I saw and felt. I ask myself: "Is it possible to see today what I saw yesterday?" rather then: "What will people see tomorrow?" It is the same principle you can find in photo-reporting: telling what you saw and how you saw it, from a very clear point of view. I report and choose exactly in the same way. Through this process I avoid all pressure linked to ambiguity and misunderstanding, that are very strong in other communication means, in my opinion. As Elliott Erwitt used to say: "The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don't have to explain things with words".

You have recently followed very different types of events: from concerts to festivals to fashion catwalks. What do you think is the main difference in shooting such varied dimensions?

Very little difference, in fact. Spaces and lights change and still remain fundamental, although my approach is always the same, because my vision is. After an explorative glance, I start to adapt to the circumstances respecting the movements and the timing of the subjects in front of me. I often find images thanks to intuition in just a few seconds and I capture them while, some other times according to the context, I’m forced to wait for the one I feel is more appropriate. Patience is something I have had to learn for this purpose. It might happen that a single picture is more captivating for social media purposes, but apart from that narration is also important for structure and content. I try to offer both, but it isn’t always possible or useful.

What photographs convinced you to start being a photographer yourself?

They were not mine. They were taken from family albums in a friend’s house. I didn’t have as many as her. I didn’t even have an entire album, only some pictures lost in a drawer. I thought it was my duty to shoot more, remember more. For my holy communion, my present was a lilac polaroid camera which immediately ended in my cousins’ hands. Just one polaroid shot out of ten was left. In middle school I used a compact one, shooting memories which still need to be completely ‘developed’. Some time afterwards, my first reflex allowed me to experiment, growing up in a period when the photography path was more and more evident. The necessity to stop in order to remember has always been there, together with the awareness of being the only one to be able to do it in a certain way and using a certain language. It is still like that as the tendency to be impeccable goes along with intense self criticism for me.

What do you think is the leitmotiv in your pictures? Is there a fil rouge you think is evident when you find yourself editing your own work?

There are the details. Hands, rings, shoes, pleats, a portion of a face or an instrument. Mine is a constant search for details, instinctive and almost primitive. Details are hidden preys, there to be found. Recently, I have been using equipment which allows me to be very near my subjects. This is of great help, as it is in line with my daily way of observing the world: very near but very discreet.

Can you tell us about your future projects?

I am working on shooting places where music is born and developed: recording studios and rehearsal rooms. The city of Turin has favoured many connections and for the new year I have scheduled many live acts and collaborations, as well as new ideas to implement.