Emilia Photography Exhibition

Emilia mostra Silvia Casali Fotografia Europea 2016

Life sometimes is slow, it never changes and days seem endless and boring. On the other hand, it might happen that life speeds up and you realize that months slipped away in a blink of an eye.

This has happened the last six months. I have just realized it’s been that long since I last wrote a post. Many things changed in my life: my career, my relation with death and illness for instance.

But the call to be more creative is still there, growing stronger each and every day. And my last photography exhibition is the perfect example of “going with the flow”. The original project for this year Fotografia Europea Week exhibition was a different one.

But things were not going exactly as planned, so I was forced to change my mind and present a project that was almost there, kept in a drawer for years.

Ten photographs, ten portrays were not enough. I decided to let the models narrate their stories with videos, and I also took photographs of fragments of their homes. At the end, a small project became a meaningful one, loaded with emotions and history.

Here it is, this is E m i l i a

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Freedom

cornelle zoo bergamo italy silvia casali copyright 2015

2015 is going to end soon, and I am forcing myself to take a look back at the many photographs I have shot during these months – to find a reason to keep on working on photography, to study post-production, to recall the past that has gone so fast.

My 2015 Lightroom Archive showed many images not yet edited, just uploaded and left there. Among these many there were the shots taken during my last visit at the Cornelle zoo in Bergamo (Italy). I remember that when I imported them I found them not that interesting, this is why they were there, unedited.

But today, my perspective changed.

It might be the cold and grey winter day, it might be that I am trying to push my boundaries beyond the ordinary me trying to see things differently..I don’t know what it was, but those shots deserved deeper attention and care.

Those shots changed from a quite banal report of a day at the zoo into something different, dressed with a sadness that I have never seen before.

I would like to know your opinion about them

November 13, 2015: a night to remember

foofighters bologna concert nov 13 2015 silvia casali copyright

November 13th, 8.30 pm Bologna Italy: Foo Fighters Concert

My first rock concert after my hearing partial loss. I was worried not to be able to stand the high volume and vibrations, these last ones causing me a severe problems with my “broken” labirynth. But everything went more than fine, actually, it was an amazing experience, from the music, social” and ethics point of view.

Unipol Arena in Bologna was packed: everybody was there for the concert, not for fighting or exhibiting their immense ignorance. They were there for music.

And music is what we all got back. Two hours and a half of an unforgettable powerful and excellent rock played by Foo Fighters who were able to enchant a very wide audience ranging from kids to grown adults who were dancing and shouting as teens, as I did

November 13th, 10.30 pm, Paris France: terror attack at Bataclan

And as soon as I left the concert premise, a friend of mine sent me a message saying: Paris under attack, you might not know this..” I was shocked, and I was even more shocked when while going home I read that there were people that were kept hostage and killed inside a concert premise, Bataclan.

And all that craziness started right when I was having fun, miles and miles apart, during a rock concert.

You all know by now what happened and I do not want to add anything more to all the many comments that filling the web, the tv and the press.

Today Foo Fighters cancelled all the remaining tour dates, Turin (Italy), Paris and Barcelona.

“In light of this senseless violence, the closing of borders, and international mourning, we can’t continue right now” Dave Grohl

Personally speaking, I do not feel at ease right now thinking about my being so lucky last night, being so blessed to be able to spend such a wonderful experience during a rock concert, while people were killed, the very same moment, during another rock concert. And I bet that Dave Grohl and his band are feeling the same.

While I was editing the pictures I shot during Foo Fighters‘ concert – very low quality since they’re iPhone shots- I felt like it was a good thing to share them all, together with a very short video of the live show

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Human beings are able to create beautiful experiences, we are able to stay altogether in the same place feeling joy and happiness, and this thanks (also) to music. We must all focus our attention on the energy and power of wonderful collective experiences: let all be together in peace and happiness.

Don’t let hate kill life, don’t let hate kill music. Music is life

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Please share if you feel like this is worth, I hope it is. To me it is.

Muta Riflessione | Exhibiting at Fotografia Europea 2015

Mostra Muta Riflessione Silvia Casali ©2015 Fotografia Europea Circuito Off

In an attempt to push myself towards the “photographer” role, last January I decided to submit a project of mine to Fotografia Europea 2015, an international photography exhibition taking place in Reggio Emilia (Italy) each May.

At that time I did not know anything about how to organize an exhibition, I am still quite naive about this but now I can say that it is not an easy thing. And furthermore, what I made it was not a simple exhibition, since I had to design and make the steel and wood structures that carried the framed images.

The images belonging to Muta Riflessione (Silent Reflection) were shot in three different locations in Italy (Riccione, Dolomites and Peschiera del Garda) from 2012 to 2013, and narrated the sometimes strange relationship between manhood and landscape – new technologies have permeated our daily life, and we more often find it difficult to understand that what we are admiring is nature made through a process that lasted millions of years.

Is what is in front of us true or is it artificial? Might it be a carefully manipulated image projected on the widest screen ever made? Depending on the answer the behavior of the spectator might be of extreme care for what is seen as “unique” or total lack of respect when what is in front of him/her is considered “artificial”

Muta Riflessione, hosted by the Boiardo Hotel in Scandiano (RE) Italy, was conceived as a three act performance- The Wait, The Show and What is left. The video below shows you the whole experience

| Muta Riflessione | Mostra Fotografica from silvia casali on Vimeo.

I felt a little bit alienated when the set up was finished and the exhibition was to be opened.

It was like it was not me who shot those images and who made every decision with the support of incredible sponsors, a great friend and expert and my family. The result was something that left speachless many visitors – it was my first attempt to show my work, and many did not believe that was true. I was also very happy when I received a call from the Fotografia Europea organization informing that my work had been selected among the 327 other projects to participate to a contest. I could not believe it.

And frankly speaking, I still not believe I made it.

Artefiera #artseverywhere Photography Contest

Last week end BolognaFiere hosted one of the most important art trade show in Italy, Artefiera, whose past editions I have already documented in this blog. 

asma silvia casali

This year I was honored to participate to Artefiera as a guest – one of my iPhone photographs, Asma, ranked second in the #artseverywhere photography contest organized by Artefiera. I was thrilled, and this gave me enough endorphins to be able to forget the flu that was hitting me, take the train, go to Bologna, say something when interviewed by the Artefiera big boss and visit the trade show.

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I must admit that seeing my iPhone shot displayed on two big wall screens hanging on the main hall was very exciting – it was not that important if my photograph did not win the contest, my happiness was already at its zenith – even though I looked like a zombie!

Artefiera #artseverywhere 2015 photography contest winners

Riccione | Shades

Last June I “forced” myself to do something I had not yet even imagined to do, that is to organize a photographic exhibition. It all started with a visit to the beach where I usually spend the whole month of June in Riccione (Italy).

I noticed that the light blue painted wall of the beach huts of Zona74 (the bathing establishment were I always go) was itself creating a great atmosphere, but that the walls where a little bit empty and needed “something”. I have many photographs of Riccione in my archives, so I thought about setting up a little exhibit during the month of my stay. The owners of the bathing establishment were very happy to host it, so it was (almost) all set!

Six photographs would be enough to attract the passers-by attention without over-stimulating their attention, and knowing that usually people spend a whole week at the beach, I decided to change the exhibiting photographs every week-end. In total: 24 images to be selected among the thousands I shot during the past 3 years.

It was quite a difficult task to choose interesting images that were not too “commonplace” – orange/red sunsets represented almost 40% of the images in my archive. I wanted the exhibition to show the different shades of Riccione, those shades that are unknown to many people and that might let tourists appreciate this seaside small town in Italy not only for its nightlife but also for its soul.

I called the exhibit “Riccione Shades” and I chose four different themes:

  • Riccione, something more “traditional”, illustrating the typical Adriatic Coast hotel architecture and beaches
  • Zona74, documenting the ordinary beach life
  • Pescatori e Affini, a series of portrait of fishermen and people working at the harbour
  • Moto Perpetuo, documenting the early morning slowly walking on the water’s edge ritual, mostly followed by elderly people (and me)
  • Neutro, a collection of neutral tone images – not altered artificially in post production
  • Silences, a B&W series of evanescent sea landscapes
  • N.3, three images who shared the same post-production, aimed at depicting the roughness of the Adriatic sea.

I chose a very simple wood frame and a pretty wide passepartout to let imagination run free – the back of the wood frame was not sealed so that I could switch the images more easily every Friday.

The result really surprised me. I must admit that there is a huge difference between a digital photograph and a printed and framed one, the second makes you really feel like and artist and not someone who shots nice pictures. I pushed my boundaries even further, creating a catalogue for the exhibition.

I used iPhoto to create a hard cover photo book, had it printed via Apple services and voilà…the catalogue was ready in just a couple of days!

Many were the people who asked me for a copy of the catalogue, and many were those who did not understand that the images were all taken in Riccione – the images belonging to Neutro, Moto Perpetuo and Silences being the ones who surprised the visitors the most.

You can preview pages of the exhibition catalogue here, but feel free to contact me if you are interested in purchasing options – soon I will publish it in Kindle ebook format.

Enjoy!

 

 

Fuorisalone 2014 | ZonaTortona VenturaLambrate

The Milan Design Week is almost over, and the web is full of images and articles about what happened during these last four days.

This year too I visited Milan Fuorisalone – a faster than light visit to two of my favorite locations: ZonaTortona e VenturaLambrate.  While editing the photographs I took during those exhausting 12 hours, I noticed that there were not many objects that captured my attention. I did not find anything particulary innovative, if not for the works of young designers from Poland, Holland and Germany.

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The most “intriguing” installations were merely installations or work-of-art, not items conceived for mass production. Then a question arose: what is the difference between art and design? Isn’t it the possibility to mass produce the object? Or is it just a “virtual” difference relying on the ability of the work-of-art, unique piece of creativity, to communicate with the masses?

 

 

InMotion and Blurred | silviacasaliphotography

Stay Please silvia casali photography

Stay Please  silvia casali photography

You might have noticed that I have been quiet for a while, partly because of my health problem, but I must admit that the main reason is because I am experiencing a sort of dilemma about what to do with my supposed-to-be artistic talent.

I have not yet decided which is the talent I have to devote the most energy to, whether writing, photography or sculpting. I do not even know why I feel so compelled to take a decision among the three. One thing is for sure: I do not want to waste my supposed-to-be talent but I want to use it to create something beautiful and that can leave a track of my being on Earth. Sounds a HUGE thing, but I think that any human being has a talent and should use his or her gift -because we all have one- this way.

In searching for an answer, I have read many books -the most enlightening ones being “Finding Your Element” by Sir Ken Robinson, Drawing on the Artist Within: An Inspirational and Practical Guide to Increasing Your Creative Powers” by Betty Edwards and “Dovresti tornare a guidare il camion Elvis” by Sebastiano Zanolli. All of them provided me with great tools for a most efficient use of my brain and creativity, but did not solve the dilemma.

For a long while, I quit photography – feeling like I was not that good at and it was a waste of time. Buying a new iPhone pushed me towards this pause in “serious” photography. Shooting pictures with this mobile device is so easy, and with all the many interesting filters it is possible to create amazing pictures..so why spending time in searching for the best light, the best scene and editing when you can get great results in, let’s say, three minutes?

After a couple of months, I found myself stucked in another impasse. After having visited Artefiera 2014 I discovered that sculpting does not sell and it is not that appreciated and “understood”. Even Michelangelo will have hard time to leave a track by sculpting these days, and I am no Michelangelo at all.

Then I went back to my Lightroom archives, browsing all the thousands of images I shot during the last (and first) four years of my photographic journey. And I realized that I shot pictures that I hardly remembered of, and I hardly recognized as mine.

I edited some of them and updated my imaginando|photography experiences website adding new portfolio images and a new project: InMotion and Blurred.

This project really reflects the confusion that governs my mind, where everything is in motion and blurred. There might be beauty in these moving and not well defined subjects, but it is a very evanescent and escaping one.

Please see the whole project at imaginando.

 

Acàmia | Traditional grasòl (pork rinds) making

Ciccioli (or grasòl as we called them in our local dialect) are one of the many delicious food specialities from the Italian region where I live: Emilia Romagna. I am really lucky to live in the countryside of this amazing region and every now and then I have the chance to attend folkore events where artisans – I might say, food artists– cook delicious food in front of an amazed and pretty hungry audience.

But let’s talk about ciccioli. Quoting WikipediaCiccioli is made by compressing, drying, and aging fatty, leftover pieces of pork. These scraps are compressed using a special press where the meat is wrapped in sack cloth, then slowly squeezed over several weeks to remove excess liquid. They can either be prepared in a wet preparation that can be sliced and served, or in a very dry, crunchy, chip-like form often called ciccioli frolli.”

The kind of ciccioli I was lucky to taste belonged to the last category, the very dry chip like ones.

On a very sunny but chilly January Sunday there was a local “contest” in my village, held among more than 30 norcini (pig butchers) specialists in the art of ciccioli-making. It takes a long time for the ciccioli to get ready for tasting: they have to boil several hours (up to 6) in special “cauldrons” that can be wood or gas heated, and can be made of copper or other metals. While the material the cauldrons are made of does not affect the taste of the ciccioli, the different kind of cooking (gas or wood) makes a huge difference. I spoke with one of the judges and he told me that it is really difficult to manage the temperature of the boiling mix using wood, but when you are able to do it, then the ciccioli taste the best.

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When the mix of pork leftovers is cooked, the water has completely evaporated and they have become golden, they are drained, wrapped in a cloth and before being slowly squeezed, a special “secret” mix of drugs is sparkeld over the hot gold scraps –cinnamon being the only one I could smell for sure.

The last step is the pressing of this still hot mix inside a special press where laurel leaves are added. The result is a wonderful, soft but cruncy, tasty and delicious cicciolo that I tasted for the first time in my life. A wonder!