Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last decade, you’ve at least seen Salvatore’s strikingly bright flashwork, if not heard his name. He’s one of the first people that comes to mind in adding a significant contribution to the modern flash zeitgeist. Of course, we are really happy to have him join our team. Please welcome the venerable, Salvatore Matarrazo!
FF: Sal! So happy to have you aboard man, your photos are so unique to you. How did you develop this style? And how do you seem to do is so effortlessly?
SAL: I’m happy to be on board, this really is an exceptional group, I respect each of you, for me it’s really an honour. My style so up close with the flash,is born of a need, but it quickly became a passion, now I can not help it, it’s a drug for me. I also I started like everyone else, without the flash, but in my city Viareggio, there are so few exceptional things, but the people are great, really quirky, and beautiful characters, so I decided to photograph them. Now for me it is very easy to get close to people, in some cases even at very little centimetres from my subjects, oddly enough, despite my robust size, I’m very fast when I do it, and after the photo, I’m very kind, I stop with them and explain what is my job…
FF: But also how important is story and context to your work? Are you strictly aiming to show great faces and details or are youtelling a story with your work?
SAL: I am very attentive to details, expressions, eyes, faces … in some cases my background is very dark in my pictures, there are small fragments, which leaves to identify what to me is enough, sometimes I love decontextualize the scene to give more power to the portraits, are very attracted to faces is almost an obsession for me. If a photo there isn’t expression I want, even if it is formally beautiful I trash immediately. I think the context of my photos is my style, my world, I do not do documentary photography, I believe to be a portraitist.
FF: Your work is very consistent, and where do you seek out inspiration for your work?
SAL: Many would say that I am inspired by Bruce Gilden, but I think I’m much more in line with the picture of Mark Cohen, this for when I started. Now I follow my line, there are too many photos on the web, and you are likely to fall into the trend, I see so many photos of various authors, seem all made by the same hand, I do not know if this is good. I go on my way, right or wrong.
FF: We are intrigued to learn more about your Darwin project, can you tell us a little background and share some imagesfrom the project?
SAL: My project (Darwin is “Street”) is a conceptual work, where I compare men and animals with photographic diptychs, we are all part of the same material and in Darwin I try to say it in a very ironic, is a job to look at the smile on the lips, but sobering. I want to make it happen, I went to fairs and Tuscan zoo, I took photos instinctively, trying not to force too much meanings. I let that it’s slide even during editing, and came out spontaneously.
Between the lines, in this work there is also a secondary provocation, many critics on Sunday in Italy, they will give a great deal to do to say that the “Street Photography”does not exist… But if I have photographed animals in a manner not exactly like a nature photographer, it means that a certain”Street” vision exists and how. I closed the project with the image of a monkey and a photographer, I like to joke. There will be other chapters of Darwin, now I’m working on the second, no more animals this time, but there will be other diptychs. “Darwin is ‘Street'” was shown for the first time in Suwon in South Korea, and this summer I plan to do an exhibition in Italy… I’m also working on a zine, I will have news soon.
FF: So you have been featured in countless interviews, published books, had your work in multiple galleries: what is your ultimate goal with street photography?
SAL: Interviews and publications are great satisfaction for me, but the greatest satisfaction is when I go out in the street to take pictures, I also love to see pictures of my colleagues. The Street Photography for me is a lifestyle, a passion. I also met good friends thanks to this passion, photographers who share the same passion. My goal is to be able to express myself through photography.
Check out Sal’s “Darwin Project” on his own website!