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Photography is a way for me to record the world around, and to express some messages when I decide to create a specific series. I furthermore want to divide it according to the tool used, as I love to shoot not only with a digital camera but mostly with some analogic ones (Olympus XA2, Canon AE1 program) and Polaroids (SX70, One step+).

Why Polaroid Photography?

It’s a question that I heard periodically when I am taking pictures.

One of the aspects that fascinates me most in this postmodern era and of a diffuse culture of the image, is the enclosing moments and print them on film without the possibility of modification or post-productions.

Since I came across an old Polaroid 600 of the Mondadori in the open air market in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio in Florence in May 2015, my first polaroid, I wanted to undertake almost exclusively this way of documenting the world through the lens, my vision and interpretation of what surrounds us and how perceive it, under a very specific reason that I have understood. Almost all the photos I shoot of people I end up leaving it to them, because if I kept them for myself I would be only a sad collector of happy moments. In this way instead it becomes a shared moment, there is a fruition of the widespread, expanded moments.

My photography is divided into some series of Couples, travels, “This is not Porn”, daily life and much more.

I love photographing couples in the street, especially of elder ones. It makes me think “for how long, maybe years, someone does not photograph them?”. I see them, sometimes, sitting on the benches. The lady usually with the right hand to the face, as if to reach the thoughts on the cheek. The man, eyebrows frowned, holding his pipe or cigarette in his mouth, clutched in the grip of a dumb expression and downward, immersed in the daily newspaper freshly bought in the morning. A scene in which I came across often, almost repeated as a stamp several times printed on the green sheet of the urban pine forest. How long have they been aspoken? When did the magic break?

So, if I consider it to be the case, I approach smiling. Break the ice, let them relax, and then, like a prayer (but alive, not as a sterile rhyme) I say to them:

“Close your eyes and scroll back in time. Think back to when you met for the first time, when he laid eyes on her, his scent, the light in her eyes. Think of him, at the cutting of his hair, the color of his jacket, perhaps striped or maybe blue. Think and go back to where you were on the evening of your first date; the park, the street, the ballroom. The turntable or the orchestra to fill a room or flowers in a gazebo in the spring, the laughter of people in the distance, the barman smiling and winking at you.“

Here, this and more, depending on the emotion or the inspiration of the moment, to get them back to that day, until I see a smile sprouting on their faces, before tense, now blossoming in an intense warmth with tight eyes, to the rhythm perceptible of their chest covering every other sound inside and outside them. Only then I invite them to open their eyes, leaving them awake in that re-born memory, and looking at each other deeply. They turn around and I click. This is the Polaroid for me.

Because I leave them a material piece of that day, a feeling that sometimes we take for granted or we do not see anymore, lost in everyday life. Is it probably just my idea? It doesn’t matter, think about this:

When a person goes through a crisis, be it personal, friendship or couple, he thinks more than necessary, with the risk that it becomes an obsession or that nothing else exists, expanding sometimes small issues and turning them into ghosts. huge, often non-existent. This is also how friendships and relationships end.

If I understand this, I evaluate the situation. If is the case, and to not disturb, I approach and try to drag the person or the couple to magical moments, smile, look, click.

The meeting usually ends with some exchange of opinions, if the case wants it lasted at least ten minutes, the photography has developed in the dark and I can also take a picture (and every time I think about “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction“). Most of the time, however, I do not have this opportunity, but I’m happy anyway, maybe even more, because I will not be a spectator of a precious memory that instead they will enjoy more.

I wanted to tell this vision of life around us and how I see it, because of thousands photos that I took, I have kept only a few hundred for me, almost none of those are about couples, but I was pleased to share it with those who are reading this story.

Leonardo Santetti

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