[slidepress gallery=’giovannicocco-sickgirls’]

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Giovanni Cocco

Sick Girl

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Naughty and irresistible Italian girls –  free and cunningly organized. They came into being because of an urge to tear to pieces boredom and well-meaning prissiness, they are the pissed-off daughters of the fifties pin-ups. They have chosen the name Sick Girl to give vent to their creative fantasies, a meeting place on the web, a hiding place for the revolutionaries of seduction.

The art of Burlesque has at last found a firm benchmark also in Italy. It is the Sick Girls who have been putting on and performing this type of show since 2004. Their immediacy, spontaneity, style and attitude make them capable of assimilating the motions of this Art and enable them to personalize the performance.

The Show owes a lot to the art of the circus, in fact there are quite a few comic sketches, dance routines, ballet and striptease acts, all of which are filled with sensuality, wickedness and self-mockery.


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Giovanni Cocco


42 thoughts on “giovanni cocco – sick girl”

  1. love the cinematic feel to this piece…
    feel your energy,
    all over the place,
    taking me in
    and then back out….
    I prefer your images of the sick girls when they are the
    subject of your photographs..
    rather than
    the object….

  2. Damn..
    Another essay I can’t see in the car till later tonight..
    When I find a hotel with WiFi…
    Steve Jobs..
    If you’re listening..
    Please allow FLASH to be installed on your iPhone…
    coZ , I’m going crazy…
    Wendy… All my love to you….

  3. New here but I figure this is a good essay to start with. Let me start by saying I am usually especially critical about photography, especially of my own work so please don’t be offended or think I’m arrogant if I dont rave about every essay I comment on. Being critical of work I view actually helps me when I’m looking through my own lens.

    I happen to like this and I think it has some real strengths that should be explored. I like your use of low light color very much and I love the subject. I would like to see a more in depth approach to backstage life of the Sick Girls. Of the images I really like and I think are stong graphcally are 14,17,20, and I would love to see 15 cropped very tight instead of so wide as well as the eyes in 22 and the face without the hands in 1. I think 2 works very well wide. 5 is a great on stage shot as well as 7 if that is in fact on stage.

    I realize you cant be on stage with the girls (well maybe that would be cool if they were into including you as some kind of voyeur) but the distance creates a hole in the essay as it pertains to the girls who are really magnificent.

    Great job I really like this essay.

  4. I like # 1, 4, 5, 10, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28. Some Helmut Newtonesque (?Newtonian?) images. But there are a few too many mediocre images in my opinion. Otherwise, I agree that there is a real dramatic/cinematic vibe.

  5. great essay: nice use of low light and colors (digital is a blessing in these situations ;). pheraps the shots on the stage are not very impressive (except for #4 and #10), but backstage shots are really great (far better than the finished calendar imo). In some way it recalls to me Refner’s “Rockabillies” work.

  6. this is a lovely essay. there are so many wonderful moments and strong images. my favorite is #27. i think you need a little tighter of an edit – but not much. i dig this project. well done.

  7. WOW, it’s so so wonderful to open up BURN and see a NEW ESSAY! :))))

    I really was captured and drawn in. At first, i thought immediately of either Commedia d”Arte gone moderne or a darker, more dystopic Fellini flick. I really love all the use of low light, shadow, out-of-focus obfuscation in the front of the frame and the sense that these young women still offer the audience a sense of threatening mystery. I love photograph with the women sitting in the ‘bowl’above the audience, sweating in their own heaven of blue and pink…also love all the shots of photos where the main content and life of the photograph is draped or caught off by what is occuring in the front of the frame: a wonderful visual device that allows the viewer to continually re-imagine what is happening….

    but as an essay, it is as a contrast between the ‘daylight'(outside the circus, on the bus, walking around) and the nightlife (performance, behind the scenes, etc) that offer the real strength of the story for me: this remarkable contrast between life as a performance (and women viewed as performing objects) and the life of the human. There is an underlying sadness that sits inside me, and it isnt the girls that are ‘sick’but the emptiness with which we so often feel trapped by, the vacuity of simply performing, in front of others, being judged by lens and light and one another. I found the story reminding me of Alberto Moravia’s Racconti Romani ….

    and then, amid all the beautiful lighting and compositional juice (the leaping shoe/women, the smiling dildo, the speaking purple microphone, the kissing moon, etc), came the sound of this…

    “Too many lives are needed to make just one.”–Eugenio Montale

    beautiful and terrific story…and a story i’d never seen before…THANKS SO MUCH Giovanni!


  8. Giovanni,

    Love the subject matter and the quality you achieved with the lighting and the color. Id like to see more private or personal moments which show more of their personalities off stage as well to form more of a story. But you have some killer shots 1,17,21,22,24,25,27 and 28. Nice work.

    Ciao, valery

  9. Giovanni I love this subject and the intimacy you got so far with the girls. Is this project finished or it’s a work in progress? I’d love so see more photos to understand how you came to this final edition. Good job!

    Can someone point me to the Refner’s rockabilly work mention before? I’d like to see it. Thanks

  10. Hi Sofia,

    here it is: http://www.erikrefner.com/ (under “photojournalism”, there are two galleries of Rockabillies). Looking again at Refner’s work, the affinity with Sickgirls that I felt is probably due to the look of the gilrs, similar in both essays, and the feeling of having a glance inside of a sort of restricted, even if strongly self-conscious, community.

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  12. a bit like a play or a dream..my favorite is the close up of the ring with the cigarette..how on earth are you making images so sharp? I wonder if this was one you lit..love the colors to pieces even tho they make me wonder about HOW you did it, photoshop color balance, etc. I think you have a bright editorial future ahead of you, if you want one..you should link to this from LS..you are there, yes?

  13. Wow. What a fabulous subject & wonderfully quirky POV provided by Giovanni. Immediate, sensual, staged yet raw, utterly engaging, in a class of its own. Multi-media on the horizon? I see this as the start of an award-winning short indie film.


  14. there are some really good photographs in this set, but again i just feel like it would have really benefitted from being 10 images shorter as a set. get rid of some of the more mediocre images…

  15. I really liked the subject and some of the imagery was really amazing, but it left me with a feeling of distance. After viewing the essay, I really didn’t feel like I knew anything more about these girls than if I just saw one in passing; I don’t feel that the essay revealed any more to me about the secret and not-so-secret lives of these girls, their “sickness,” or how they relate to each other. Maybe this was the point, though. Maybe Giovanni was trying to just show this world and the girls don’t really want to BE known, as people, connecting to the viewer, the photographer, and each other. It’s as if they were photographed from the same perspective as an audience member at one of their shows may have; like they want to keep the distance. Did anyone else get this vibe? I felt that they had a wall up.
    But, I did really love the low colors and low light and use of shadows. Very nice. I would have just liked to see more connection, though.

  16. Good work Giovanni: a very interesting essay. Is this work in progress? I do hope so as it shows great potential.

    My quick edit would be 1 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 15 16 17 18 22 23 26 28. Some photographs are taken from too great a distance (for me). Good colour and mood; great access! Applause!


  17. great essay! very nice frames. good work. i love the feel of this. i get a 20’s flapper girl feel mixed with a very classic show girl look to this. very strong.

  18. Wow, I really feel like you took me somewhere with this series, an experience. Great seeing, but I would love to see more of the vulnerable side of these tough women, along the lines of the bus window picture.

  19. Giovanni,

    I’m very impressed by the aesthetic way you took for this essay…
    I mean: one can see these girls are provocative and seductive by themselves, but I think that by choosing the way you chose (and I agree with others about the low light, the colors, and some compositions…), you found how to show their sensuality in a very distillated and pure form…
    se me hace agua la boca…
    Are you working on your web site?… it would be great to see more of your work…

  20. Giovanni,

    After some problems I have seen your essay at last. Excellent, Very good work, very professional. Maybe for me there is too many pictures but only few maybe 20-23 it could be enought not almost 30. In my opinion the better part is with the wile plans not close up. But this is for my taste, just my opinion.
    Anyway, excellent work, clean, with idea and with little piece of irony.

    The piece of irony we all need, isn’t it??


  21. I dont know about any of you but I seem to have a [mostly bad] habit of viewing work in terms of how I would do it differently if it were mine. It isnt and so i shouldnt. And so for once I wont. So… [damm elipses have come back], Very strong imagery here. Lovely light and shapes in a lot of them. A sense of theatre, a sense of play, a sense of ‘disregard for established norms’ if you like. Overall I like the images, and some I really dig. Story makes sense in terms of itself, that is it seems to have a self evident narrative not reliant upon written dialogue.

  22. Okay, I’ll pick up the challenge.
    Pretty pictures by a guy who likes looking at pretty women half naked (not a crime, but not very original either).
    Did they charge him to do that? Maybe more than they charge the people in the audience? And why not? He got to look longer and closer… Maybe the women viewed him as a form of advertising. Hmmm…
    From this I learned some women in Italy do burlesque and get tattoos they will later regret.

  23. Giovanni,
    this is a superb essay: great images, nice composition, great light and a story that is rarely told!
    My personal favourites are image 1 and 10.
    Giovanni, you created an erotic atmosphere, yet at the same time I see the girls backstage in an ordinary situation which gives a good balance and ads another aspect. The final image brings us back to “reality”.
    The reduced colour fits very well and I like this kind of look.
    A very different approach to Burleque you can see by Katharina Bosse. She has portrayed Burlesque girls in America.
    The essay goes okay without music, but perhaps you can record some original sound. For example the music in the theater with the noise of the audience or the girls talking backstage. This would bring us straight to Italy, I am sure!
    Thank you for sharing this fine piece of work!

  24. Really nice color and aesthetic. I would take out 6, 18, 19, and 20. In general though really great POV’s and attitude. The last photo I really like; there need to be more like it. It has an emotional quality to it that shows a more human side. In general the girls are posturing, preening and performing, even “behind the scenes”–this is only natural because that is what they do, they are performers. But a few more unguarded moments would round the story out a little.

  25. yes yes, some wicked good snaps in here.. love the access you gained and what you did with it is most respectful.

    i would actually agree with chris and stoopid in a sence – some of the stronger images may suffer from the weeker ones.. and i noticed two or three gigs only that you have photoed.. any chance of getting in to more? would love to see more of the after hours and on the road work..

    tell me – is that sonar barcelona by any chance?
    a smashing feast for any discerning fan of the moody arts.


  26. Giovanni,

    Another great essay that I am discovering just back from vacations. I am a real fan Giovanni… many great photographs…I love the color, the sensuality, the composition… My favorites images are 1, 2, 4, 7, 10, 14, 21, 25, 27, 28…. I particularly like 2 and 14. Will now go to see your website to see more of your work.



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