I take a picture of you. You’re nervous. I am too. I want this photo to come out. To honor this moment, all the moments, all of the time, we have spent together. The moment is captured on thousands of pieces of salt, suspended in gelatin, inside of my Rolleiflex camera. Neither of us can see this moment, even though we are swimming in it. This single second, or 1/125 of a second, is now immortal. But it’s so much more than 1/125 of a second. It’s the food, the eating, the smells, the sounds we’re hearing, the music we’re listening to, the tastes we have in our mouths, our words, our eyes, our encounters, our memories, our hopes, and dreams, and worries… its our connection, immortalized into one frame. I want to honor you. I want to honor our connection, our time, our relationship, together.
I take you and put you into a black room. I pull you out of my camera. I push and pull in total darkness, feeling you as I put you onto a reel. Then I put you into a metal container, where you can be protected from the light, which is too bright for you, right now. You’re delicate. But you need to be handled with the correct chemistry. I pour developer on you and swish you around in it, for ten minutes. I bathe you in acid, and water, and fixer, and hypoclear, and water again, and then I put you into a box. You are finally out in the open again, breathing hot air, as you dry for twenty five minutes.
Now I cut you into pieces of three.
I never know how long I am going to spend with you. With some men it takes minutes. Others, hours. Others, days. And there has been one boy who I have played with in the darkroom for years. His name is Jaaden.
The first time I moved to Italy I was just a girl. Well, a girl of twenty-two. I had just survived four years of college by the beach so looking back I would hardly consider myself grown up at that time. I had one month to focus on a project in the hot Florentine July. Dabbling between shooting food and shooting men, my teacher Romeo encouraged me to photograph men, as it was something that excited me, made me nervous, and something I desperately wanted to do.
Being somewhat shy and in the aftermaths of heartbreak, I directed my camera outwards, perhaps to get a better understanding of myself as a girl full of freedom. Upon returning to Italy in 2014, I had to rediscover the courage I had at twenty-two, and found it an even more liberating, unearthing, and beautiful experience to photograph the men I know around the world.
the boy on the bus
the steak porter
the new friend
the boys of San Frediano
the soccer fans
the wise one
the jolly one
the famous brothers
the lonely mountain
the boy at heart
the photographer in Heaven