roberto boccaccino – rītdiena

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Roberto Boccaccino

Rītdiena

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In this period of my life, maybe because of my age, I often try to understand what will be my way and my future, and I always find myself talking with my contemporaries about the hard times for our generation. So when I heard about the strong economic crisis in the Baltic countries I immediately thought it would be very interesting to see how youngsters were dealing with the situation. In Latvia the changes happened quickly, and I wanted to know how that crisis modified the outlook and thoughts of the future for the young generation. This is also the reason why my project doesn’t focus so much on the crisis, but much more on mood and feelings. The crisis is just the context in which I attempted to know and show the people.

The final outcome is a work which tries to tell the sensations of that generation. They’re living these times very confusedly, neither the cause of the crisis nor feeling that they can solve it. Most young people (not all of them, I have to say) are just waiting; it’s like they are in a bubble, in a kind of limbo which is very difficult to escape, particularly because of their patriotism and the attachment to their country. The pictures tell the story of this waiting. It is not extremely dramatic or depressing, the Latvian youngsters are not really worried about the future, they just feel stuck in a down time. Maybe just like other youngsters elsewhere. Rītdiena is a Latvian word that means tomorrow.

 

Bio

Roberto Boccaccino is a freelance photographer. He’s mostly after social and geographical storytelling. After a two-years-collaboration with Grazia Neri Photoagency in Milan, today he works independently. His pictures have been published by Foto8 Magazine, Private Magazine, L’Espresso, Il Venerdì, D La Repubblica delle Donne, Euroman, IO Donna, Panorama, Stiletto France, First Panorama, Psychologies. He has shown his projects in personal and collective exhibitions and festivals in Milan, Florence, and Perugia. In autumn 2009 he attended the diploma course “Advanced Visual Storytelling” at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus. The diploma project is Rītdiena (tomorrow), where he tells the feelings, the lives and the outlooks of the youngsters living in the country with the gloomiest economic crisis in Europe.

He is currently based in Copenhagen.

 

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Roberto Boccaccino

 

79 Responses to “roberto boccaccino – rītdiena”


  • Brooding and almost oppressive atmosphere. Robert, you speak this photographic language rather well and with a very particular dialect. I like this work very much. Overcast. Moist.

  • Beautiful work Roberto. I really like the style you have and the way you use light. I really like 5 – 10, 13, 17, 18, 22 and 23, which is just about the whole essay.

  • As usual, I viewed the essay before I read the artists statement. This time, while not understanding the full storyu, the mood I got from the photographs matched very well with the background story.

    Beautiful work, I like many of the images, 5,6,11,15, and 18 through the end, (what a strong finish) conveyed the mood well. Really like 20. As Paul said, overcast, moist…but not so wet, dark, and brooding that one wouldn’t venture out.

    Very nice work.

  • love the opening shot…..
    did you go on the ferris wheel?
    quiet
    and
    moist…
    *

  • I hate to be boring or redundant, but I too–like the others so far–am a fan of this essay.

    Many images impressed, but 1 and 22 stood out for me. Congrats Roberto.

  • This “essay” seems to be made up of photos in search of a theme. “Alienated youth” is something of a cliche by now. “Waiting” is something we are all doing these days, it seems.

  • Roberto

    You have the eye of the poet, and a gentle quiet soul.

    I love this, and the beautiful work on your site. Congratulations.

    A welcome respite from the angst, anger and protest.

  • Don’t care about written words, the pictures talk their own language.. love it.. bene bene, Roberto.. anche i riti settennali!

  • Gordon, you nailed it for me, superbly suggestive work that doesn’t try to educate us, but actually invites us to interpret an unliteral vision.

    I wil just add that in the context that Roberto places his images, I find #16 , with the gentle, yet bent road curve and the lone car amidst an imposing forest quite poetic, which I agree is the word that comes to mind, seeing this essay.

  • Ha ha ha!… some really nice random shots… But what is the most impressive, it’s very creative way to connect a theme about nothing and shots from the kind of series: “I was there, I have seen this, and I was invited there”… It is very obvious, the pictures were taken without any concept in mind, and then the photgrapher sat down and created a written story… about nothing:)… nice, well done… it’s becoming a corrent trend, when getting to, or finding a real story is too complicated… Congratulations on getting published!!!

  • Anthony, with all you’ve written it’s great that it works just the same, isn’t it? Really is!

  • very nice photos! I agree with eva, I didn’t even look at the text! :)

  • ANTHONY RZ…

    you could of course be correct…and maybe it is a current trend….funny though, i can find very few photographers who are able to do a conceptual story as well as this ..very few…….tell me please, what exactly is a “real story”?

  • ROBERTO,

    I absolutely love your first shot.. this portrait is very intense… love the eyes, the intensity….

    Eric

  • Absolutely gorgeous photography and one of my fave pieces in a while here on BURN… but why can’t it just be that beautiful photography be enough?

    What tempers this piece is once again the hyperbolic essay that photographers seem to feel the need to write in order to justify their essay. Once again, why can’t just beautiful, strong, stylistically coherent photography about the lives we (and others) lead be enough? Is the whole “economic crisis” as background theme (see recent Iceland piece, another weak word/photo connection imo) just a coincidence among photographers or is there really something to it? I hope that young (or medium or old) photographers stop feeling compelled to write some sort of socio-politcal BS to go along with their photos (unless they truly warrant it) and just offer up their work to stand alone. Nan Goldin certainly never used the S&L crisis of the 1980’s to explain the work that she did!

    Anyway, unlike the previous essay this really works for me (the photos themselves). I don’t have anything against conflict photography per se, but I would rather have a photographic work that is cohesive and mature in search of a story rather than one that is disjointed and stylistically weak about a distinct subject matter. Once again it all comes down to intimacy, which I feel here in spades but nada in the previous piece.

    Congrats Roberto (just don’t worry so much about the words)!

  • CHARLES…

    at one point, i thought i would edit down the words of Roberto…less woulda shoulda coulda been more i suppose…but then again, i just let him go since whomever submits text should be reasonably responsible for it no matter what…however, just remember that English is not Roberto’s first language…i have noticed that non English writers tend to go a bit overboard here in almost everyone’s opinion…maybe i would go awry if i tried to write my artists statement in Spanish for example…just a thought…

    cheers, david

  • I just don’t get it, this whole mess about artists statement.
    I never read Sarfati’s “Austin Texas” statement.
    I never read any Nachtwey’s statement. Even if it is journalism.
    I never read Statements on Burn.

    Why should I?
    Is photography a book? Or newspaper?
    I just don’t get it?

    Why you take a camera to hand if you have to write a letter to recipients to explain why you take a camera to your hand???
    Only because there are people on your photos? And their story have to be explain very straight and carefully?

    Excuse me Mr. Beethoven, but I need your statement before I will listened your music… What is all about??

    And one more, The words I don’t have in my mind is one of the reason why I not sent a pictures to Burn.
    I have nothing to write, I amfraid.
    Especially with my poor English. (and Polish too)

    Love the pics, blind for text.

  • Grande Roberto!

    you succeeded in capturing this particular impalpable feeling of uncertainty (currently the true “zeitgeist” for the western world, imo). In particular, I love the way in which, in your images, nature (trees and plants) seems to cast a detached glance over human beings, their ugly buildings and their troubled times…the photo of the plant pushing against the walls (on your website) is great in this respect.

    Btw, your name sounds familiar in some ways, so after checking your website I could recognize your essay about Guardia Sanframondi: I really enjoyed those images the first time I saw them, featured on NYT Lens blog, some weeks ago. And your blog is great too: bookmarked in my favorites… I can assure Burnians that Roberto’s prose in Italian is direct and witty ;)

    Congratulations!

  • AHH just goes to show that a consistent post processing techniques are becoming the norm and even the purists no longer dismiss the images as being non photographs.

    Pushing and pulling colours is a powerful tool of communication, no different to text and the narrative. See Anton’s images and there too you will see the importance of work creating mood, atmosphere. Youngsters on sites like deviantArt have been doing it for years it is just that they were not articulate enough lacked a bit finesse and how to control the techniques without losing the conceptual framework.

    More and more photographers are becoming tethered to computers and cameras now have several inbuilt creative filters to speed up the process after all a digital camera has more in common with a computer than a film camera.

    Onward we go and outward go the others…………

  • DAH,

    Yes, I did recognize that to probably be the case. Anyway, not my intention to beat up on Roberto as I love the pics and find them inspiring. I just question the coincidence of two pieces about the “economic crisis” that seemingly have very little to do with such other than some moody lighting (and really not even on the Iceland piece).

    I’m just a bit concerned that photographers are tripping over themselves for their photography to “mean” something (ie in a PJ type aspect), when, as you questioned earlier, what truly is a “real” story? (or something like that.. sorry brain dead from my opening last night).

    Best,

    CP

    Ps: you won’t happen to be in NY the 22nd to 26th would you? If so a cuppa is in order… (will be staying in the Village).

  • david alan harvey

    What is a real story???… David, it could be an endless discussion – too subjective, too relative… A good single shot could be taken anywhere and if it’s really good and timeless it stands for itself… while A REAL photo – story has to be concentrated right on the target of your concrete theme… if this particular essay had been named “my wanders around Latvia” or something, that would have been OK because the theme then would be broad enough to match these random images… Well, the formulated theme of this recent essay is about crisis, young Latvians, their patriotism, attachment to their country… the “golden” words that author says at the end: “The pictures tell the story of this waiting”, author also says that this assay is about mood and feelings, not even the actual crisis:))… this, as a matter of course, moves you away even from this poorly formulated theme… and after such popular and ambitious words: crisis, patriotism etc. the theme for the pictures becomes just “waiting, and feelings” – innocent “theme” just waiting and feelings:)… what are the pictures about then? – pictures are just about pictures… and waiting…:)) Anything can match author’s feelings, waiting, mood… but it isn’t a theme… if one has nothing else to photograph but his feelings, then I strongly suggest to give up with photography and try writing a poetry… or, if he still likes to carry a camera then why don’t just hunt for single shots which is a very nice, creative, and meditative activity itself…

  • Marcin… Exactly.. Exactemente…

    Imants …Exactly…Exactemente

  • really lovely work..
    pin them to a donkeys arse and they’d still be lovely.. more interesting pined to the contemporary theme though..

    now.. those folks in the USA inspired by the F.S.A… surely just wandering about and pinning it to some guff, no?

  • antony.. isn’t photography poetic?
    with respect – your perceptions seem rather wooden.

  • “Wooden”..???… Just wooden…?
    Ahhh D. :)
    You being too nice

  • Photography for some reminds me the autofill feature on pc’s..;)

  • david bowen

    A strong photography is very poetic indeed… but only when it’s taken by a photographer or photo-producer, not a poet… Poets never take poetic pictures, they write poetic poems… maybe there are some exceptions but it doesn’t really matter… The poetic photographs you see are all taken by cold, observant and, not very rarely, indifferent photo-producers…

  • ha..
    tehre are mnay ways of wirtitng wihch can be raed..

    here is a picture of a chair.
    http://www.treehugger.com/buygreen-bravespace-hollow-dining-table.jpg
    LITTER-RALLY:

  • ¨maybe there are some exceptions but it doesn’t really matter… ¨

    so.. your ¨rule¨ is void.. but it doesn’t really matter ?

    then you say
    The poetic photographs you see are all taken by cold, observant and, not very rarely, indifferent photo-producers…¨¨

    i’ll let robert frank answer

    “Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference”

    really tony, (can i call you tony?), for someone who seems well read, you’re not very well versed.

  • david bowen

    Seems you know all of this photo-philosophy better:))… you are the best!!:))?… as I have said earlier, this discussion could be endless and pointless…

  • not me tony – frank.. please.

  • yes.. actually we agree.
    on reflection this discussion does seem pointless.

  • Anthony R Z:
    if one has nothing else to photograph but his feelings….
    —————————————————-

    That would be quite an achievement already!

  • Roberto, you have a very good head for creating an image. You are all over the place, but in mostly a good way. For me there are some great shots mixed with some rather weak ones. It is not a requirement to create a “story” when it would be just as productive to present 8 or 9 very well constructed images.

    Images 3, 10, 12 and 18 just rock my world. You have created such great texture with these shots. I am a sucker for images that take me somewhere and these do it. Great execution and a fine finished image is something we should all aspire.

  • There is no logic or lacquer to the organizing of our lives or its narrative….we step, and fall, and regain our way along the days of our lives and from that, from the multitude of events and places and patterns and weathers, from all the shapes and shifts of our lives, we somehow invent and invest a narrative, a story we name ourselves and our lives….we invent the narrative from the torn pages of the moments of our lives, we post-process the experience, we reckon something from all those things which are recognizable and unknowable until we have rendered them into a pattern we believe befits us and our wandering, wondering lives….

    it’s always slightly odd and funny to me when people criticize work for it’s seeming ‘randomness’ or when it seems like a narrative, a tale, a conception was torn after the shooting of pictures, grafted onto the story as if this were an vice of artifice, when this is exactly how we operate and negotiate our own lives….

    events collide and make, often, no sense…and we read sense and pattern into them because it’s our metaphysic,our calibration, our way of arranging things into codes and patterns and psychologies and widdled dna…but in truth, our lives are an endless variation from which, most often, we choose to spin a particular, and gossamer-like, imaginative story….we are who we are and this is our lives and reasons….but that is not the make of life, but the magisterial and, in order to survive the randomness and chaos of things, the senselessness of things, gift we’ve bequeathed ourselves….to invent, even after, an arrangement of a story of events that make ‘sense’ to us….

    Roberto’s story, to me, is just that…why is it do we need a ‘narrative’ that shows us exactly what we expect…why is it that a story that is formulated in the editing is less valid than a story that is pre-thought and organized and conceptualized prior and during the making of images….i agree with Soth, that it’s in the editing that narrative comes,not necessary in the pictures per se, and those pictures also dictate what story….we begin one way and end, most often, far afield and bless that widening ring….

    beautiful, poetic, sensitive photographs….not a day in the life of, but (for me), a life in the day of that place and those people and that photographer….

    and yes, while not necessary, i do care about what is written, because it’s all text: words and pictures, all stories…and i see both the beautifully written statements and the awkwardly written ones as part of the same stumbling around to find meaning….

    and there is meaning in a story, in our story…

    and i love the beauty and the love-for-the-living of this series…..whether it was thought up after the pics were made, or prior, or 30 seconds ago….

    the pictures work their magic on me, and that light and color bent like the sound of one’s voice against an ear, autumn’s hum crackling like dried leafy pallum….

    fly it, afar….

    beautiful thoughtful essay…i adore it…

    congratulations

    bob

  • I think there is beautiful work in here…yea, maybe it’s a bit tempered by the statement but I don’t really care since I come to Burn to look at photography.

    Still images’ power comes in their vague, suggestive nature. If you want a story in narrative sense, read a novel or watch a film. Photography essays require some work and imagination on the part of the viewer. They will never give a full picture. If the photographer is even trying to tell a story (which isn’t often the case), I don’t think I’ve ever seen a project where the finished product didn’t leave something to be desired in those terms. Photography is great for exploring concepts, and like others have said, simply studying the lives lived around us. Yes these lives can be in a particular context but I think most documentary photography does this same thing in some form or fashion, no matter what topical spin you want to put on it. It’s just not a good medium for storytelling. It’s so incomplete, sparse, unpolished. And that’s its strength as well.

    So, I don’t really care and I don’t think it matters if he decided this project was on youth and the economy before or after it was made…the pictures are still the same, and they are good ones that take me to a new place and take my imagination and curiosity to a new jumping off point.

  • ps calling the essay “Rītdiena’ comes across a bit clumsy in Latvian as it is a strong singular noun…..

  • I’m pretty sure it’s good. For about two months now, the screen on my laptop has been acting haywire. Bouncing lines shoot rapidly across it and the image bounces up and down. So when I travel, it is through this crazy screen that I see the images. They come through broken up and very impressionistic, but I get a good feeling from them. When I get home, I will look at them on my desktop with the Apple Cinema and I know I am going to like them even better.

    And why don’t I get this screen fixed? To do that, I have to send the computer to Apple and I need it when I travel and I almost constantly traveling these days.

    Now I am suffering from vertigo, so I will close this thing down.

  • Frostfrog, your logic board is about the fry. Get it sorted pronto or you’ll lose the lot. You have a desktop so you’re covered.

  • I really enjoyed this essay and, personally, thought that the intro complimented the photographs. I liked the look of the photographs and thought that the post processing was right on for imparting the mood and atmosphere that the photographer wanted to impart.

    Congratulations Roberto!

  • ANTHONY RZ…

    i see your point…it all just depends on expectations i suppose….and how we view singles and collections of singles as perhaps an essay…for example , is Anders Pederson a singles guy or an essayist??? in any case, i think more like Peter Hoffman (commentator above)…i do not expect a “list” or an “encyclopedia” of any subject with the burden of “whole education” to be borne by any photographer….the missing pieces of any puzzle are the ones of most interest are they not?? but actually for this essay i did feel the lethargy and the oppression of hard times in this work….he says he had the idea and then shot it…i take him at his word…but even if he did do it the other way around, i would not care…astute seeing/thinking either way….

    cheers, david

  • FROSTFROG…

    funny, laughing … :)

  • Good timing Roberto, I just found you on the blog “New Breed of Documentary Photographers”, too:
    http://vervephoto.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/roberto-boccaccino/

    Congrats!

  • david alan harvey,

    personally, I have no problem with whatever conception and its execution an author of essay comes up with… but when the critical boundary is crossed then I do have a problem… again, very subjective…
    David, I value your thoughts about art and life in general very much… listening to you I always get food for my own analysis… actually, you are one of those very few photographers on this earth whose insight really matters to me… that’s why, when I find my time, I always follow your blogging online… cheers

  • ANTHONY RZ…

    thank you…and i hope you realize that i take all of your comments very seriously as well…as you say, so much of this, actually all of this, is subjective…photography by its very nature malleable in interpretation…..differing points of view/reference does not mean a lack of respect for an opposing or different view…quite the contrary i hope….it is always in this context that i present my own thoughts which are always subject to change or re-evaluation depending on how a philosophy different from mine is presented..anyone “locked down” with ironclad “truths” must surely be a prisoner of themselves….my wish is that neither of us falls into that category….let’s continue to enjoy the exchange…

    cheers, david

  • I hate it that I’m so often find my take on these things at odds with the majority here. It’s not that I think I’m some lone genius, the only one who understands or anything like that. No, the contrary is true, with the exception of my more finely tuned recognition of propaganda, a subject I’ve studied for many years. But in things photo aesthetics-related, I tend to trust most of your opinions more than my own. Just as in this case. I thought the written intro was much stronger than the photos. Go figure.

    I’m fine with it all conceptually. I agree with Bob that we do not need a ‘narrative’ that shows us exactly what we expect and, with a caveat, that a story that is formulated in the editing is no less valid than a story that is pre-thought and organized and conceptualized prior and during the making of images. The caveat is that for that to work I like to think it’s necessary for the photographer to have some kind of personal worldview, or at least something akin to tics, that result in a subtle cohesiveness across superficially diverse subjects. I thought this essay did a good job in that regard. There seems to be a consistency of intent. And actually, I think it’s fine all around. My only real gripe is about the recurring image of young people looking up and away. That particular tic strikes me as coming in somewhere between ham fisted and hokey in the photo critic’s thesaurus. But overall, I’m impressed with the intellectual effort and look forward to seeing more from the photographer.

    Regarding the post processing, I’m generally okay with it, though I’m getting a little tired of the extreme vignetting that seems to be so popular, if not cliched, these days. Is that an accurate take or has that style of vignetting always been ubiquitous?

    Perhaps part of my lukewarm feeling about this essay has to do with my perhaps inaccurate impression that it is something of yet another essay about young European, and particularly young east European existential angst. I think I have some empathy for and understanding of the feeling. I think existential angst results from a very knowledgeable understanding of reality and I felt quite a bit of it myself when I was that age. And in the hands of Kafka or Dostoevsky, it can be very interesting, but much more often it just strikes me as rich kids whinging. Especially when you consider how kids in other parts of the world react to similar, and far worse circumstance. Kids in the U.S., for example, across the socio-economic spectrum, all think fame and money are going to rain down on them and are practically unwavering in their public optimism. Crazy? Yes. But much more interesting. For me at least. Maybe I find these over optimistic American (many of them first generation, kids, and Kafka and Dostoevsky, so much more interesting is because I see so much symbol and metaphor in their stories. Artistic mechanics that fear are lacking in too many of these Euro-angst stories. The poor kids are pretty much just hanging out there with no culture to give context to their vague sense of unease. I appreciate this essay because I think an effort has been made in that direction — the ferris wheel, the block buildings, the commercial development, the woods and the river — but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot deeper than that.

    Anyway, I’ll leave with a word to the wind based on Anthony R.Z.’s stated inability to appreciate the insights of just about everybody but DAH. Consider the opposite approach dude. If you don’t learn something from every person you meet, either in person or through their writing, then you are missing out on a lot of insight. Might as well go the extra yard and sew your eyes shut. Or better yet, open them.

  • mw,

    What made you think that I don’t learn from people I meet? I do learn indeed from almost any REAL person and from any age group that I come across… I don’t always like to be taught though… Interesting, while I consider myself being a photographer, I very rarely meet other photogs whose insight into life and art would be really interesting to me, and from whom I could learn something… unlucky am I:)… usually guys who are really talented and naturally deep enough are quite busy, and they don’t like too much talking besides that their photography talks… some of them start some talking just later in their lifes… While the people I socialize, enjoy talking with and learn from, most of the time, are “just” real working people from the country, paiters, architects, film directors, poets… and children… OK, and very very few photographers… There are few guys on this blog as well who seems are wise enough people and whose thoughts are interesting to read, and who accept and respect other opinions about published essays here. Unfortunately, the rest are just ordinary internet garbage from whom I can only learn how to recognize such individual as soon as possible, and leave him right away without wasting my time and energy…

  • Q: What made you think that I don’t learn from people I meet?

    A: …the rest are just ordinary internet garbage from whom I can only learn how to recognize such individual as soon as possible, and leave him right away without wasting my time and energy…

  • must stay in my box.. must stay in my box..

    where can we see your photography ant?

  • ANTHONY RZ….MW….DAVID BOWEN

    all of you might be interested in the blog authored by Roberto Boccacino, who is a 26 year old Italian exploring and photographing the world as he sees it now…i doubt he would stake any claims of empirical knowledge any more than do i….hey, we are all just trying to do our best to understand life…right?…and i really do try to learn from everyone….sometimes it does not work, but usually it does and imo worth the effort …..in any case, get a good translator, and check out http://www.bloggaccino.blogspot.com

    enjoy your day please….not to be taken for granted…

    cheers, david

  • thanks david.
    .. google works well
    just went for a drive around the island with bea and TC and thought i might just post phtoos for a while..

    any chance of that catchup soon would be grand.
    d

  • Unfortunately, the rest are just ordinary internet garbage from whom I can only learn how to recognize such individual as soon as possible, and leave him right away without wasting my time and energy…
    —————————-

    Well, given your stance on Roberto’s essay, how does that stand as internet riches, Anthony? ;-)

    Don’t you think you are a bit too hung up on the virtuality of it all, if you can judge people without meeting them, or even knowing a bit what they do and how they do it, in life?

  • roberto is crafting a triumph..

    only the ignorent.
    a dentist?
    robertos blog is a revelation as well.. some humour even surviving google translation.

    enough.
    it’s one thing to not like everyone here – i don’t, even though i have to admire their work.
    it’s another thing to sit in an austire tower, with misplaced intellect, waving an iron rod from behind a paper wall.

  • Roberto, congratulations on your publication in Burn.

    After my last leap-before-looking judgement, I am wary of being too critical. I like some of these images; 1, 10, 18 particularly and (possibly) 19. Almost everyone here seems to consider this essay a triumph. Unlike Anthony RZ, I won’t dismiss most online opinion on this site as garbage (far from it), but I’m curious.

    A couple of dissenters mentioned a lack of obvious narrative, but that’s not what bothers me, since the visual style is pretty consistent. Some objected to the writing, which does seem possibly inaccurate in its claims, though ultimately the words are, to my mind, not even of secondary importance. The bio below Roberto’s essay finishes with: ‘The diploma project is Rītdiena (tomorrow), where he tells the feelings, the lives and the outlooks of the youngsters living in the country with the gloomiest economic crisis in Europe.’ I don’t personally get much of a sense of lives and outlooks, or any real sense of serious gloom. Rather, a stylised moodiness, which a number of people here seem to regard as poetic (which is fine of course, since one person’s poetics is often another’s prose).

    MW says: ‘the poor kids are just hanging out there with no culture to give context to their vague sense of unease.’ I wouldn’t presume to judge whether the people (poor or otherwise) in someone’s photo-essay possess a ‘culture’, a word whose meaning has shifted over the centuries, and is particularly shifty today. Neither do I detect much of a ‘sense of unease’, though I do think there is a sense of vagueness (in the moody style, if not in the actual people), which is presumably deliberate.

    Regarding the style and images, here are some things I’ve pondered:

    Does the desaturation/sepia treatment make the images more ‘poetic’ and/or interesting?
    If so, why (and would the poetry/interest be absent without this effect)?
    Ditto with the slightly blurred or darkened edges in some (e.g. 2, 6, 14 and 17).
    Is it significant that only two people are looking at the photographer (at us) and would the series be stronger if there was more engagement?
    In the worldwide ocean of proliferating images (on Flickr etc.) one can find endless images of city skylines, scattering birds, etc. How many of Roberto’s images would make for strong, stand-alone photographs, and if the answer to that is ‘not many’ does this matter? (and I do understand that it may not).

    To me, the steady, sparky glance of the girl in the first frame resonates through the essay, especially since, apart from the drinker in number 10, she is the only one directly engaged with the photographer (as opposed to the others who are mostly looking offstage). But I am a bit puzzled as to what this glance means. It might be accusatory/challenging or it might be merely sulky, or then again perhaps it is simply her everyday ‘look’. The fact that she is photographed from above accentuates that up-from-under look, and highlights her lip ring, but it also appears that bit more contrived or staged. I also feel (perhaps wrongly) a little put off that the desaturated colour leaves her greeny-blue eyes matching her shirt (or this may simply be an effect created by these two areas being the most colourful in an otherwise drained image). In any case, the desaturation, combined with that pose, strikes me as too self-consciously moody or ‘poetic’ (like a CD/album cover or a still from a Goth/vampire flick). It seems to be trying rather too hard. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of drama, whether real or contrived. I dunno. Maybe I missed the whole point of the essay or maybe I’m stuck in my own rut.

    Ultimately, I’d like to know a bit more about why David (or anyone) considers this an outstanding ‘conceptual story’ (I take conceptual to mean without obvious narrative). I really don’t wish to throw a damper on a young photographer’s blossoming career/artistic development. Then again, I often question my own preconceptions (have always done) and I don’t see any reason why my queries should offend or affront anyone. I just hope they don’t seem ludicrous or (worse) merely dull.

  • Hmmm. Maybe three pictures i like as pictures. The rest are just pictures.
    Have to say it does look a lot like a bunch of random shots thrown in the pot together, given some funky potatoshop sauce(or should I say MANY sauces) and called an ‘conceptual story’. However, thats what people are doing nowadays so fair play to them…and its published here so somebody sees something in it.

  • Just checked out Roberto’s website. Really fantastic work, such as the Doomsdays images, earthy and unearthly, wonderful! Maybe the essay he’s published here is too quietly personal for my taste (though I am a rather vague and dreamy person myself, much of the time) or maybe that’s just how it SEEMS to me, meaning that I’ve missed a vital connection. I don’t know, but I’ll certainly revisit his marvelous website. Salute!

  • “The poor kids are pretty much just hanging out there with no culture to give context to their vague sense of unease.”………….. mw one thing about the Latvian youth is their respect for their cultural history and are willing to integrate it within their lives. It is the economic gloom nit cultural gloom that irks them

  • It still looks to me like a bunch of random conceptual photos strung together as an “essay” with Highfalutin after the fact rhetoric to try to give it weight and coherence. The photographer does seem to have the conceptual thing down pat, though.

  • The photos are all very intriguing and very well done. Color, composition, mood, light…all draw me in. The story is not interesting to me. Seems like the whole world is tripping on the same story–money and war and the struggle. A story like this one is very difficult to tell with photos. I did not get from these photos what was said in the bio. I just saw beautiful photos well done and worth spending time looking at. I would love to see these on a wall in a gallery, so that I could stand in front of a print large enough to really show me all that was captured. I love your style of shooting Roberto. Congrats on being presented on Burn. I will check out your web site now since hearing good things about your other work.

  • Well, I phrased that poorly. I didn’t mean to say that Latvian youth in real life have no culture, just that I got no sense of it from the photos. I think this would be much better work if that were palpable.

  • mw always an excuse of I wrote it but didn’t mean it!!???… and it is not about having or not having culture it is about nation and how we arrived at who we are..

  • No Imants, I just explained how I meant it, which I think most people can discern by reading that section of my original post, the reference to how Dostoevsky’s work is saturated with cultural symbols and metaphors, etc. Perhaps not as the old pre-dawn Sunday writing is not as polished as perhaps it should be. Regardless, I would never contend that people have no culture. That would be shallow. As far as what the essay is about, I respect your insights but would rather get it from the photos. Perhaps others do ( beyond what is stated in the intro) and I’m just missing it?

  • Anthony RZ:

    A suggestion:

    If you run your cursor over the names of most of those who post here, you will see that they link back to their websites, blogs and such. This gives the reader the opportunity to go to their place and to see where they actually come from, photographically.

    Your name does not link to anything. Would you please consider linking your name to your work?

    Thank you.

  • MARK G…

    explaining how one feels about an essay is like explaining why or how one appreciates a fine film or a good novel…just sets right, that’s all…and sometimes, particularly with photo essays, an acquired taste after viewing lots and lots and lots of work…for sure the very finest can often look like something very very simple and NOT DRAMATIC and even very near like something that does not work, IF one is not really paying attention…fine fine lines…fine fine lines…….yes yes, great pictures ARE easy to take…funny though, few can take them..smiling…best way to prove this to yourself , as always, is to give it a try….looks simple, easy…is not….we are so so inundated commercially with BANG BANG and HOT HOT and GLAMOR GLAMOR and CELEBRITY CELEBRITY that i think it can be a bit lazy actually for us to look over the subtleties of the really more introspective essays…as fine painting, music, writing…you gotta work a bit for the very best…everything i do here on Burn is to point to these subtleties…even when i publish a more “mainstream” essay it is designed often to set up for something with more finesse…i am pleased you went to Boccacino’s site…i am sure you are now learning more than anything i could ever write….by the way, Roberto is new to me as well…never heard of him , nor seen any of his work before this….anyway, many thanks for your thoughts…

    cheers, david

  • “we are so so inundated commercially with BANG BANG and HOT HOT and GLAMOR GLAMOR and CELEBRITY CELEBRITY that i think it can be a bit lazy actually for us to look over the subtleties of the really more introspective essays”

    A bit like the difference between American Idol and Leonard Cohen…

  • David, regarding this remark:

    ‘…the very finest can often look like something very very simple… IF one is not really paying attention…fine fine lines…’

    I had hoped that the nature of my observations and queries would at least suggest that I WAS paying attention to the work.

    You also said:

    ‘…yes yes, great pictures ARE easy to take…funny though, few can take them..smiling…best way to prove this to yourself , as always, is to give it a try…’

    No reason you should know this, but I HAVE been giving it ‘a try’, since 1979 when I got hold of my first SLR (borrowed for an afternoon when I was working as KP in a Dublin). Though I’ve never pursued a career in photography (writing is my first obsession), if I didn’t believe I’d taken some good photographs over the years I would have quit ages ago. I completely take on board that you have been inundated with all kinds of stuff (more than I could ever imagine I’m sure) and that you have learned to discern what is valuable in the quieter and more subtle work; I did not mean to give the impression that I don’t value such work myself. I have looked at a good deal of photography books/exhibitions over the decades and I think (I hope) I have some appreciation of what makes a good image. Incidentally, most of my all-time favourite are extremely subtle and the very opposite of ‘BANG BANG’.

    But I probably shouldn’t have asked you to elaborate about Roberto’s essay; if something just ‘sets right’ there is little more to say. My apologies for that.

    BTW
    On the matter of websites. I have linked to the nearest thing I possess, which is (at present) my Flickr gallery. If I wanted to submit something to Burn would this be adequate?

  • Frostfrog,

    I get your point… but actually, my photography is absolutely irrelevant to my comments on internet including this blog as well… these are two different mediums… When I show my work, the context is very important, and I don’t think my comments on internet is the context I want for my own photography presentation. When the day comes, I will show my work to David, and if he finds it worthwhile to be published you will see it… On the other hand, I don’t think that art critics, columnists besides their theses have to present their own paintings, films or photographs… I have had only three gallery shows in my country, and one international show which took places in Vilnius, Riga, and Moscow. Now I think, I don’t need any shows, my artist’s ego is doing absolutely fine without any shows:)… OK, the show at serious museum would be another story, as well as the book… For now, my main concern is to get access, and get as close to my theme as I can…and work, work… shows will be in five or more years… that’s my way, not yours… Cheers

  • Thanks to everyone for the comments. If there is something I consider important in this job (or pastime, as many of you prefer…) it is the chance to share ideas, advices, suggestions and critiques. I do believe that sharing is one of the most effective factors which help me to improve and to grow.

    This is the second time i write this reply. Ten minutes ago I was trying to justify myself for the choices taken, but I realized this is not the case. I don’t think I have.

    Ritdiena is a project started from me, from my facing the future, from my lack of answers, from my being part of a stuck generation. I always find myself talking with my contemporaries about what is going to be, about the best decisions to take, about our worries becoming adult people.
    I perfectly know that this kind of attitude has been experienced by every generation. Basically everybody in his twenties has been uncertain of his own future and has felt a bit lost. But anyway I’m experiencing that right know and when I heard of the Latvian crisis, so sudden and so strong, I immediately thought about the youngsters and about what that change could have caused inside them.

    The future is just a concept, it doesn’t exist. Everything has still to happen. The future exists just in the perception we can have of it. And if this perception, these insights, get damaged or get changed, also the future itself will do the same.
    And that’s why I meant to give prominence and importance to something which is often intangible like the feelings and the outlooks. They are the base where all our choices start from and on which we build ourselves as individual, as society and as country.
    It’s evident that a project like this is quite ambitious and it can be hard to show something you can just feel. But my experience there was very intense, I think I got part of their private life, at least for a while. And I believe that if you look at the whole selection, without focusing on every single image or trying to analyze every option, maybe you can see in the end the atmosphere I breathed and I tried to restore.
    Sorry for my poor english. I do my best.

  • MARK G…

    you need apologize for nothing…and i agree with everything you say…i was hoping that you saw my comment as an explanation/interpretation but not any kind of condescending lecture to you….so so sorry if that is how you took it…mostly i was simply paying respect to Roberto’s essay and motives which i do happen to hold in high regard, but always interested in other points of view etc….love the net, but sometimes we miss the mark with either semantics or timing or both….

    cheers, david

  • Thanks for the rapid response David, much appreciated. And you’re dead right, the net (the old cyberfog) can sometimes lead to missed signals and semantic tangles; tone can be especially hard to read. But I should know by now that it’s silly to be hypersensitive.
    Best wishes,
    Mark

  • Hi Roberto.

    the impression I got from looking through your images was of a lonely emptiness. Like something had been sucked out of this society. Once this observation became clear to me your point of view also became clear. An uncertainty.

    Well done.

  • Roberto –

    I am home now, and finally I was able to take a look at your images fullscreen on my Apple Cinamascreen instead of slashed, distorted and jumping all over the place on my laptop monitor gone bad.

    In my first post, I stated that I was pretty sure that it was good and expected to like it better when I could see it on a stable screen…

    Oh, yes…!

    It is excellent! Superb!

    And I do get the feeling of not violent but underlying anxiety regarding the future that you seek convey.

    I feel it strongly.

    I think we all, young and old, are apprehensive about the future these days.

    paultreacy – thanks for the suggestion. I do not think that is the problem. If I plug in an external monitor, the image is fine. And while I have the desktop, in the time since this began to happen, I have not been home long enough to send this out and get it back before heading out again. When I go out, I really do need this laptop and a couple of portable harddrives, just to store and backup my shoots and to try to make a few blog entries. It is maddening, trying to edit, process and post pictures while working on such a screen.

    David – Glad to make you laugh :)

  • No Imants, I just explained how I meant it……… mw you must have phrased that poorly again

  • Frostfrog – The screen on my old back-up G3 iBook has just died, funnily enough. I used it as a music center. Alas, no more. Strange coincidence. I’m going to suck all the music files out and stick them on a jump drive for the time being. I feel your frustration.

    For those among you who are London residents or will be in town between tomorrow and the 30th might be interested in seeing my work feature in a group show at the Strand Gallery, 32 John Adam Street, WC2.

    http://londonphotography.org.uk
    http://paultreacy.com

    Cheers.

  • PAUL…

    wrong place for this info (i will re-post under Dialogue), but congratulations for the Strand Gallery work….cool..particularly since it is your family work..nice for them too i am sure….

    cheers, david

  • Thank you David and sorry about that.

  • Thank you David and sorry about that.

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