This project started when the Amaro Ramazzotti brand launched a photography competition called “Obiettivo Milano – scatti di una città che cambia”.
The aim of the project is to bring together two different perspectives of the city: the external one, characterized by its architectural outlines, and the more intimate one, the essence of the people who live there.
This intention is achieved through the use of the double exposure technique. The two aspects, on the visual level, emerge in a manner that is almost sculptural and unambiguous. The result is a series of chimeras composed of architectural features and portraits which retain sharp outlines, creating a clear yet surreal atmosphere.
The November weather typical of Milan inspired and also facilitated the outdoor photo shooting. The high–key effect helps the architectural subjects to stand out against the plain, smooth sky.
The studio shots were carefully staged to simulate outdoor lighting. The subjects were placed against a white background to obtain a partial silhouette effect, while the contours of their eyes, nose and lips are highlighted thanks to the use of a single overhead light source.
Twelve subjects were selected for each of the two categories. Regarding the studio subjects, it was essential to maintain a coherent logic in positioning key elements (such as the eyes for example) and shooting the photographs so that the Becherian concept could be conveyed, together with almost geometrical repetition within human subjects.
The double exposure technique (or, more generally, the multiple exposure technique) is based on a simple paradigm: where the colour black is dominant the artist has carte blanche. Indeed the black parts are those that have not caught the light, so they are still potentially receptive.
Both in the digital and in the photographic film version the frames can be put together with the help of a few tricks. The challenge in “Profili di Milano” was to exploit the geometrical structures of both faces and famous buildings, combining them to create an optical balance.
There are two different kinds of merging in the series: one in which the outline of the human profiles delimits the architectural structures (interiors were deliberately chosen), and one in which it is the white background that erases that posterior edge of the portraits, in such a way that it is the architectural profiles (this time exterior) that define new contours.
The “Profili di Milano” subjects themselves constitute the boundaries of the composition: indeed they stand out against an intangible and potentially limitless white background. This feature, together with the absence of a border on only one of the four sides, makes this project suitable for mounting on supports of different types and sizes.
The visuals can be appreciated in detail if the images are large and presented singly. Still the project was designed as a series, so it would also naturally lend itself to being presented in frames arranged side by side. In this way, the differences and peculiarities of the subjects, which at first glance may seem quite similar, are revealed.