Entering a New World

Interview with photographer Massimo Vitali


Massimo Vitali is an Italian photographer best known for his large-scale color images of public spaces and mass leisure events. Shot from a distance, his panoramic views show people interacting with their environments and one another, giving the viewer a sense of voyeurism. His work has received critical acclaim and is held in art collections across the world.

Where About Now Where are you right now reading these questions and where would you rather be while reading these questions?

Massimo Vitali I'm in the garden of my house in Lucca, Italy. There's no better place to be, though after being in lockdown for weeks, I'd do very well with a walk outside or lunch on the beach.

Massimo Vitali, Ponta da Ferraria Hot Pool Counter Shot 2, 2018

WAN You live between Lucca and Berlin, Germany. How do these places influence you and your work?

MV I haven't been in Berlin for quite awhile now because most of my work is in Italy and my studio and house are here as are many of the things I would like to photograph. But there have been times when Berlin was very interesting and full of inspiration for my projects.

WAN Your picture compositions look like a stage set of mass vacationers in public space. How do you see their relationship between private and public?

MV Well, there are lots of people not necessarily vacationers, but lots of people in public spaces. People in public spaces is what I'm interested in because it's where I find the inspiration for my studies on contemporary society.

Massimo Vitali, Carcavelos Pier, 2016

WAN Two of your books are titled Landscapes with Figures and Natural Habitats, respectively, both very fitting names to describe your images. Can you tell us about why you chose these titles?

MV The two books you mentioned are followed by the third book called Entering a New World, which just came out this winter. There is one thing my books have in common which is the fact that they're not about a specific subject but they are a simple chronology of my work. My work can be seen as one continuing project made with a number of little subjects and even commissions but they do fit together because there is one main idea behind all of the work. The first two titles can be applied to all of my work - they are not about one particular thing - they're about my way of taking pictures. And the newest book title comes from the fact that I have been transitioning from analog to digital more and more.

Massimo Vitali, Praia da Boa Nova, 2016

WAN Your work has taken you all over the world. Is there one place that stands out in your memory?

MV I'm not really sure because my photography is not geographic. It's about something else.

WAN Where and how do you like to spend your personal leisure time?

MV I really like my local beach which is fairly nondescript and totally boring if you asked anyone else.

Massimo Vitali, Sarakiniko, 2011

WAN What are you currently working on and where can we see your art next?

MV I'm working on going through the lockdown pretty much from morning until night. I have a show that never opened at the Ettore Fico Museum in Turin which I really would love to open soon, and obviously since I am interested in people, I would really like to somehow document the changes in the way we live after the virus.

Header image: Massimo Vitali, Piscinao de Ramos 2, 2012


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