Diffused light, splendour, essence. White shirts inundated by the sun, in the background the sea in turmoil and a breeze bringing confusion. There’s a wind that reaches you. You shiver in summer, wrote a famous poet. It’s this thrill that transpires in the glances of the women captured in these photographs: a proud, determined look, gazing towards the future. The project associated with these photographs is Upcycled, promoted by the Italian brand DROMe towards sustainability in the fashion industry.
The eye behind the camera, capturing these shots, is Gabriele Rosati, a young talent rapidly ascending the scene. But don’t call him a “photographer”, the label is too conventional and reductive of his curious and eclectic flair. He prefers to call himself a “collector” of places, objects, faces, moments. A collector of Everything that is observed, assimilated then re-interpreted through the camera lens.
Gabriele attended the prestigious Polimoda in Florence, where he studied Fashion Art Direction but his love of art started long before that. It started in high-school when he discovered Modigliani: a dazzling encounter that brought about a decisive turning point to his personal growth and, consequently, his young career. It is precisely this passion for the human being, evident in Modigliani’s paintings – who didn’t paint the eyes of his subjects unless he knew their souls – that transpires as a fil rouge in Gabriele’s shots.
A subtraction of weight, a taking away what is superfluous to reach what is essential, capturing the unrepeatable uniqueness of each individual. A hidden uniqueness, difficult to find, that can manifest itself through the body and its fascinating language. So physicality becomes a medium with which who is photographed and who is taking the photograph dialogue, communication between the photographer and the subject is not a closed circuit, rather it is a bridge, a channel interacting with the outside world.
One can’t miss the essence of the body in the shots taken by Gabriele for the project, of fashion designer Marco Rambaldi, “Vediamoci Oggi, immaginiamoci sempre_Diari in rivolta”. In the photo, a male figure is photographed next to common everyday utensils, in a way as if the objects transcend the forceful lines of the body. An original mix between man and object, vitality and inertia, uniqueness and seriality; once the object has lost its context it loses its banality and becomes an integral part of the image as well as a key to understanding.
A body free to move, to express itself, to explore all its potential. But what happens if this body is confined to a dimension it does not belong to? What happens if it’s deprived of its freedom, its spontaneity, its language? Gabriele tries to answer these questions through the photographs of the project dedicated to ana’stasi a, the young girl with perfect hair and sad eyes. Peaceful atmosphere, the table at which she sits is elegant and refined but Anastasia doesn’t seem to participate in the harmony of the scene: she’s absent, resigned, trapped in that immaculate shirt closed up to the last button. She’s beautiful but she seems to blend in with the wall, she’s somehow evanescent.
Anastasia incarnates those who feel trapped or just out of place, those who would run away but are obliged to stay. So, Anastasia represents the precarious equilibrium/balance between desire and obligation, the compromise between the most authentic expression of ourselves and the constrictions imposed by society. We know though, that it’s an unequal comparison because the scale always balances towards right-thinkers. Are we to be resigned then? Are we to burn till there are only ashes left? Obviously not.
In fact, those sad eyes shine with the spark of those who do not want to give up: Anastasia raises her glass and deliberately stains herself with red wine, flaunting a firmness that tastes of defiance. Gabriele chooses to make the message clearer and stronger by adding these words to the image: I was not allowed to drink wine. Never. A simple yet decisive move, silent but provocative; for Anastasia it’s simple and pure rebellion.
So basic garments become symbols of change, inanimate objects represent dynamism, carefully thought gestures express revolt. Behind Gabriele’s eye, every element loses its essence and transforms into something else in an extremely personal game of continuous de-contextualisation and re-contextualisation that clearly reiterates the message. In this discussion, memory becomes innovation, stasis becomes movement and the silence of a gesture becomes the soul’s outcry.
Can you conceive such a vision? A dimension in which everything can acquire infinite meanings though remaining true to itself, like the fascinating game of mirrors? If you are able to, then (maybe) you have understood Gabriele.
Translated by Ludovica Sarti
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