Empty Counter Maximiliano Magnano Ultrashop

More about Maxi Magnano

How did you choose your means of expression?

I think it was out of boredom. I felt I was wasting time every day at a job that I didn’t like at all. It happened to be next to a Nikon store, so I just bought a digital camera and started learning. I had no idea at the time that I was making such an important decision. It actually defined my life.

Is this medium secondary to or closely linked to your subject?

There is a link. Photography can deal with memory. Many things would be completely lost without it. Through my pictures I try to suggest the idea of a world that is disappearing. It seems to be an ideal medium for this subject.

What material do you use and why?

I use 35mm film cameras, mostly reflex. I prefer the dynamics of film over digital photography. It’s a slower process. It forces me to take less pictures of the same place or thing, so it’s easier to me to consider every picture as a definitive piece.

How does a work session take shape?

I don’t work in sessions because I can’t separate taking photographs from my daily life. There isn’t really a specific time in which I work, it is intertwined with everything I do. Photography to me is a daily discipline that helps me remain focused and pay attention to my surroundings and the way the light is affecting them.

Can you explain to me how your work has evolved since starting out?

I became more precise by finding out which elements suit the world that I’m trying to show. I am also more aware of the equipment that I need to get the results I want. In a way, this evolution worked as a discard process. Besides this, I gained in confidence. I accept that I’m a photographer and an artist now, without hesitation.

ON A
PERSONAL
NOTE

Do your origins and culture play a role in the works that you produce?

Yes. Even if I try to avoid the cultural, yet all too common places that photography depicts, culture is playing a role there, at least in a negative way. Also, many of my photos were taken in a seaside town in Argentina called Mar del Plata. There is a lot of specific cultural language there, I guess some of it can only be understood by people who grew up visiting this city every summer.
I think my origins play a very clear role in how I choose the elements that appear in my pictures. I find myself paying attention to a lot of things and materials that were present in my childhood. I’m sure many people can relate to my pictures due to a shared culture and mutual origins.

Which events have influenced you most?

Growing up and losing loved ones.

What are your sources of inspiration?

Memory, random photographs I come across, the work of other people. It works in a circular fashion: memory can affect the way we perceive the things we see, and the things we see can trigger memories and moods.

Are there any anecdotes that enable the genesis of your work to be understood?

I remember the first time I really liked a photograph that I had taken. It was very late at night and I was driving with a friend. We stopped by an isolated petrol station and I took a photo of the petrol pump. It looked so sad. I was delighted with how clearly the emotion emerged in the photo. What I was looking for became obvious.

Are current events taken into account in your production or on the contrary do you distance yourself from them?

Not normally. I try to leave some questions unanswered. Questions such as when, where and who. This means current events remain outside the frame. Sometimes I think of my photography as the opposite of photojournalism. I try to keep the frames as uneventful as possible.

ON A MORE
PHILOSOPHICAL
NOTE

Are your works more of a dialogue, a trace or a denunciation?

I think my work tends to establish a dialogue through experiences and memories shared with the viewers and this is achieved by showing traces of past times. I don’t think of it as any kind of denunciation.

Do you wish to make viewers wonder or do you prefer to question them?

I want the viewers to feel the same way as I do about the places or the things that appear in my pictures. I’m not aiming to question them.  I hope to trigger a feeling of estranged intimacy or familiarity when they go through my photographs.

How do you view human beings, and consequently your work?

Even if I avoid the presence of people in my pictures, everything that features inside the frame is a result of human presence and human activity. I think my work shows an affectionate perspective over humanity, in its own way. Some of the nostalgia that my pictures can evoke has to do with the idea of the disappearance of mankind, with its absence. Overall, I think humanity is beautiful.

How would you compare your last work with the next?

My work is one continuous process, so I can’t really think in terms of previous and future projects. What I can compare is how I began to where I am now as a photographer. I can see that my style or my voice has become a lot more defined.

Is art poetry or social intervention?

It’s probably both. I tackle my work in a very personal way, so it usually involves a certain degree of isolation, but it also puts me in contact with a lot of people, it makes me go to new places and helps me learn about my surroundings. Even if it is not originally meant as a means for social intervention, art gathers people together and hopefully makes knowledge circulate. However, I believe it’s important to think of art as one more human activity. Giving art a privileged position among other spheres of activity can lend to a sacralisation which I don’t agree with.

IN
CONCLUSION

How do you view your own work?

I like my own work and that is what makes me confident that other people can like it too. Feeling satisfied with my work triggers the enthusiasm to produce new material in the near future and to keep on growing as an artist.

What are your current and future projects?

I am working on a book right now and looking for a publisher. In the longer term, my aim is to take photos in other countries. All of my photographs are from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’d like to see what comes out of working somewhere else.

Do you have anything else to add? I’ll let you have the last word…

I am very committed to my work, so I’m very thankful to anybody who shows interest in what I do.

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