roberto boccaccino – rītdiena

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Roberto Boccaccino


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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.



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”


    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 … any case, get a good translator, and check out

    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.

  • 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.

    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.

    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,

  • 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.


  • 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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