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Stefano De Luigi
Stefano De Luigi
Stefano De Luigi

Stefano De Luigi

Country: Italy
Birth: 1964

Born in Cologne in 1964, Italian photographer Stefano De Luigi currently lives in Paris and started his career working for the Grand Louvre Museum as a photographer from from 1989 to 1996. He has published 3 books: "Pornoland" (Thames & Hudson-2004), "Blanco" (Trolley, 2010), and "iDyssey" (Edition Bessard 2017).

His numerous awards include four World Press Photo awards (1998, 2007, 2010, 2011), the Eugene Smith fellowship grant (2008), the Getty Grant for editorial photography, the Days Japan International Photojournalism Award (2010), and the Syngenta Photography Award (2015).

Stefano works regularly with several international publications including The New Yorker, Geo, Paris Match, and Stern and has exhibited his work in New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Rome, London, Istanbul, and Athens.

Stefano De Luigi has been a member of the VII Agency since 2008.

Source: VII Photo


T.I.A
Africa is a continent.

But Africa is also a well-defined place in my mind.

Africa is unique. Every time I have had the opportunity of going there I have come face to face with incredible tragedies but also with the unwavering hope of its people.

Ever since my first journey to South Africa in 1989, where I saw Walter Sisulu walk free in Soweto after years of imprisonment, I continue to be both deeply moved and deeply shocked by all the stories I have witnessed and heard.
Every time I step onto African soil I know I will experience something deep, something that inevitably leads to a search for the meaning of life, something that, for me at least, surfaces from deep within when I am in Africa.
The questions raised call for humbleness, since often they are without answers. We know that the truth often lies in the middle folds of things.
This project aims to raise questions and provoke thoughts which could, perhaps, lead to some answers and which in turn could correspond to some truths.
I have tried to conceive this project as a poem. Or perhaps it would better be described as a ballad.
The ballad with verses which challenge and play with each other.

In the space between two facing photographs there is a story. One of the thousand stories I witnessed in Africa, one of the thousand questions I asked myself, one of the thousand experiences I was fortunate to live.

The photographs represent the two extremes of the story that links them: the beginning and the end.
I couldn't find a better form of expressive language to convey how Africa is an all-encompassing experience for any human being wishing to embrace it to its full.

A painful yet joyful ballad of my personal and ongoing relationship with this continent. This is why I have called it "This is Africa".

I should probably have called it "This is my vision of Africa" but it didn't sound the same. By no means does this mean it is the only view of Africa. I know it may seem inadequate and subjective. But so is everything in life, I guess.

So, This is Africa.



Blanco
How does the look of a blind person look like? Can the blind show joy, happiness, disappoint, pain, suffering, pity, regret, with the only use of their eyes? The absence of sight can mean also the absence of complicity behind the camera's lens? We always use the term blind to characterize a person, such as blond, fat, poor, rich. And maybe, in some way, it is the truth. It doesn't matter if it happens in Africa, Asia, or the old Europe. The fact is, they cannot see the light, the colors, the daily scenes, how awful or gorgeous they can be. The blind are a contrast. It is easier to ignore them, their handicap is hidden, but they do have it.
It's not necessary to turn the face to something or someone else, they won't see it. They seem 'normal', but they're not. They have their own world, the same and another than ours, made of different feelings, different images, different colors. And dark.
 

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John R. Pepper
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In November 2018, after participating at Paris Photo with the Galerie Sophie Scheidecker, 'Inhabited Deserts' went to Tel Aviv, Israel, representing Italy at the 6th International Photo Festival 'Photo Is:Rael'. From December 12th 2018 to February 15th Inhabited Deserts was presented at The Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai, U.A.E. with curatorial text by Kirill Petrin. Subsequently the show opened on March 19, 2019 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the Art of Foto Gallery and shortly thereafter, on April 18th, it returned to Tel Aviv at the NOX Contemporary Gallery. In 2020 Inhabited Deserts will be seen in the United States and Italy. Per John Pepper "When talking about photography, we're talking about time. The image is fixed in time. We also talk about black and white and color, digital and film, reality and punctum - the critical concept of the French philosopher Roland Barthes, denoting the wounding, personally touching detail, which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it. Is a photographer an artist or not? The ones who feel they are, modestly define themselves as artisans. Still others, who do not think of themselves as photographers will snap photos relying on destiny's outcome. Finally, there are the ones who fantasize conceptual sequences snapped in extravagant situations - most of which without interest. About photography, much has been said. There are established masters, schools of thought, and many hopes. Yet whoever is sufficiently open to a vision within himself, who has cherished and assimilated the masters, will emerge with something new. Passion triumphs when backed by culture. When looking at one of John Pepper's photographs - the one with the group of people, friends and family, in front of their home, for example - I think of Paul Strand's image in his book, published with Zavattini 'Un paese' del 1955. There is a similar gathering of characters at the doorstep of their home. Time here is not just in the shutter time and lens aperture - a sixtieth of a second at eight - but in the transformation of the people, in the process of revealing themselves. With John, however, the appearances differ from those of Strand - moved up in time as evident in the shoes and pants, the motorcycle helmet, the technology of the wheelchair and the modern necklace of the young girl. They appear happy and to be speaking to the photographer. Despite some apparently expensive upper-class possessions, we perceive they are of a modest condition. In Strand's photograph, there is no doubt they are of peasant culture. Motionless, they stare at the photographer with a serious gaze, though ignorant of the world of images. Today, image is consumerism. It goes beyond diffidence. Everyone can have a camera, a motorcycle helmet and Nike shoes. People are well nurtured; they have even grown in height. With John the scene is of movement. The characters interact with ease, and the photographer is part of the game. He uses black and white film enhanced by the fine art of printing - images stemming from classical photography. John was just a boy when he came to my house in Milan, in piazza Castello, above the studio that once belonged to Ugo. I like to think that the darkroom at that time influenced him. Who knows? However, I do believe that Ugo's work helped him to become a photographer. His reportage in Italy is filtered through the memory of many great photographers - Diane Arbus, Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, the first Richard Avedon, and William Klein to name a few. He has also traveled through Italy, in the streets and byways of youth, finding dramatic, enlightened faces in the theater of life. His portrait of the religious procession is most beautiful, with a perfect, compact, composition, among astonished angels and those bearing a religious float against a sharp background of light. John lives and works in Palermo, an outward antithesis of New York. An American born and raised in Italy, it is as an Italian that he grasps the vital spirit, the soul, and the humanity of people. His choice to live in a region like Sicily, so full of contradictions and archaic values, will surely help him in chronicling the history of change in our era. Then, apart from making art, he will have absorbed it as his own - a part of his life that will recur in defining time, space, and the evolution of the human condition." Antonia Mulas, Todi, May 5, 2012
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