Gerardo Tommasiello

gerardo-tommasiello-2
Gerardo Tommasiello

Never home

by Gerardo Tommasiello (Italy)

Il y a des choses qu’on a envie de faire et d’autres qu’on a besoin de faire. J’ai commencé le workshop avec Michael Ackerman avec un projet que je voulais faire, j’ai suivi une idée qui s’est averrée un concept dans ma tête; j’avais oublié l’urgence des sentiments qui font faire les meilleures choses. Sous la pression et les encouragements de Ackerman, après la deception, j’ai repris un projet commencé en 2010 et mis de côté pendant les derniers mois… un projet que je sens le besoin de continuer.


Portfolio from the Photographie Introspective workshop with Michael Ackerman, November 2013.

Written review by PAULINE VERMARE,
Associate Curator, International Center of Photography

I was deeply moved by Gerardo’s series. His statement, which is very personal, resonates in his photographs. The very emotions that he describes in his essay transpire from his portraits, self-portraits, landscapes, and natures mortes. This profound, visceral connection between his feelings and his vision makes his photographs particularly powerful, and his series extremely consistent.

It is difficult for me to say which images I prefer, because I find that the series works perfectly together. There is a rhythm; there is lot of meaning in this collection, a beautiful, poetic, melancholy pace to it. For this reason, I wouldn’t exclude any of these images. But If I have to look at them as individual images, then I start seeing stronger images.

The most striking, for some reason, is that house in the green. Perhaps because I assume this is where childhood happened, perhaps because the frame is slightly crooked, I see nostalgia in this image, like a visual metaphor, and it is extremely moving. It is a beautiful photograph altogether.

I also find image 6 extremely strong and telling: the call for religion, the bubble wrap that tells it is over, the inbetweenness that makes some life choices so cruel, or so hard to make. The selfportrait in image 1 is very striking, perhaps because of the clenched fist, the tension, the whiteness of the background.

Image 9 is particularly moving, and beautiful, the lost angel, the soft light, the textures, the lines of the bed - every element makes for an extremely touching and thought provoking picture. The innocence, the responsibility, the abandonment. Image 12, a beautiful nude, classic and elegant lines, very delicate colors.

Image 13 is a very strong image, almost mystical: in the reflection, one almost could see a ghost: the past, haunting. Image 3 is very good, the light is warm and the hand somehow implies the theme of the father, with those newspapers all around, the images evokes guilt, punishment, almost, because of the lack of other elements: I like that the subject was cut short to his arm and hand. I also love the photograph of the ladder, very well composed, and adding a level of religious doubt. There is light, but what exactly is up there? These are all extremely good photographs and they talk about the past and the loss, which are so difficult to render visually.

My least favorite images, though again I would not necessarily rule them out as they create such a perfect rhythm in this series - they offer links between dreams – would be the ones that I find more predictable, or more gimmicky.

That would be image 5 and 7, which are good but not spontaneous enough, in terms of composition; the reflection in the glass, the woman in the doorway. Image 11 is lovely but again perhaps too much, I prefer the subtlety of the other images, like the nude or image 13. It is difficult to photograph an absence.

Perhaps because I lived in Paris for a long time and had a similar view from my window, I am not so sensitive to image 10, that I find too easy, the framing, which is a bit like that one the one I love, the house in the green, suddenly seems too mannered. But I repeat – these images are less strong but they are important for the story. That last portrait is very troubling - I don’t know if I love it or not. I think I like the lower part of it, the blur, and I like the tones, the anger that comes out of it. I don’t like the upper part because it is too self-aware. I guess the eyes are looking in the wrong place (for me). Perhaps that same portrait without the head (like those hands, or the nude) would have been stronger. I don’t know.

This essay – both words and images –would make a beautiful book about mourning, about the end (of some thing). A book like those made by Sophie Calle, very personal and cathartic. I encourage Gerardo to make it, for himself, and for everyone to mourn in their turn.


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