Marco Maccarini

marco-maccarini
Marco Maccarini

Documentary

by Marco Maccarini (Italy)

My name is Marco Maccarini and I come from Italy. After I graduated in Physics in 1998, I left my country to pursue the career of researcher. I worked as a physicist at various universities and research centers in England, Germany, Canada and France where I now live. Since 2002 my interest in photography rose constantly and now is a fundamental part of my life which takes almost the totality of my free time.


Portfolio from the Documentary workshop with Patrick Zachmann, October 2013.

Written review by JULIÁN DUEÑAS,
Director at GEO magazine

Dear Marco,

Excellent work in all its aspects, from the choice of the subject, the design and your point of view, until the technical matters. I do share with you the fact that a good way to approach photography is through curiosity and the need to know. Logically, with this idea, your path towards documentary photography is unavoidable (and welcome!).

This said, allow me a few comments. First, let's talk about your choice of black and white. Do you know El Cuaderno del Potosí, the work of chilean photographer Tomás Munita (www.tomasmunita.com)? Your point of view reminds me what he did a few years ago. He also decided for black and white in order to capture the sad and tough reality of the mining center Potosí. I have known Tomás for a while and so I could ask him why he chose b/w and not, as he had done in several previous works –for example for an excellent reportage about collecting wastes products in Peru (www.mundo-geo.es/gente-y-cultura/peru-recolectores-del-guano)– for color.

This is how he answered: “I chose to photograph Potosi in b/w more because of the time when I started this project when I was 19. It was my first project, an experiment. But now you're asking, to capture Potosi in color could be interesting even if the bright and pristine light of the high altitude landscape made it very disparate. And this is strange because the color works I've seen on Potosi haven't called my attention, at least not for its color.

I would also like to point his sentence about his chosen pictures of El Cuaderno de Potosí, he says “How hard this is to keep being creative and avoid being always in the same circles. Even legs become too heavy when one tries to get better”. How hard this is to keep being creative… here is where I would like to stop. In most of works I've seen on the mines in Potosi -be it Potosi or any other places like it – photographers work in b/w. And I do understand it. The emotional charge is obvious: dramatization brought by the b/w in such a situation could not be reached with color. But when there are so many and so good works already done, it would be good to explore new formulas, discoveries and exit from the usual path, look for alternatives that could differentiate us from the others.

Second, I would like to comment on your point of view. I see you have composed the reportage with a very clear structure: starting with the smallest and finishing with the biggest. From the metal powder on the hand to the huge mine block which dominates it all. Perfect. Just like a novel needs a certain mechanism, a photographic story needs a leitmotiv to which the viewer can hold on to. Because at the end, this is what photography is about: tell stories throughout images. And you have this conception inside you. However – and this is just an appreciation maybe conditioned by the fact I have seen too many stories on this subject - despite the fact you have a clear idea of the path, or maybe because of it, you leave behind the most important for me: the feeling.

The images do not impact, they don't move the sensible cord, they don't manage to transmit fully the social complaint for which all social documentaries should aim. In our case, this would be the complexity in the situation of those minors, the terrible conditions they work in, alcohol problems, child's work, the important and early mortality... I see problems here: toughness, poverty also, but not in what it is peculiar regarding to others places in South America. And Potosi is different. It is because it was the center of the world, it is because from there, was going out the wealthiness of an Empire, it is because only by mentioning its name there was legends, stories, epics. It is because after being a worldwide reference, it drowned in the dust of the centuries becoming a death and desolation manufacture.

Munita also does an interesting comment: “What makes me suffer the most in Potosi history is that they have inherited of the invaders values, which are so different from their real traditions. There is still a belief that this area is a source of wealthiness and proudness for bolivians. But the truth is that it is only a huge weight that they have to deal with and which devours millions of lives.” This is, in my opinion, a good message to transmit and on which there is a lot to work on , something that without a doubt make a work different. It isn't easy but no one said that photography would be.

Still, and despite those comments, I have to say your work seemed good to me. You don’t only have a good technical approach and a good photographical eye, but you are also able to conceive a reportage in all its aspects, developing a working path around a personal point of view even charged with abstract symbolism. I can only greet you and encourage you to keep working the way you already do with enthusiasm to this task of telling stories...with images.


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