‘Getting Lost is Wonderful’ is a photo series of Italian photographer Massimiliano Pugliese. It has already been featured on many photography websites. It has been admired by the editors of LensCulture for its dark visual narrative set in a bleak nocturnal environment. It is mysterious, chilling, and initiates the viewer to indulge in (self)exploration of the sort. I had a small talk with Massimiliano to know more about his life and work:
I was born in Rome in 1970. I have a degree in statistics and economics. Photography, fortunately or unfortunately, is not my work. So I don’t make any money from it. That said, being a taciturn and solitary person, I believe that photography is my way of relating with the outside. It’s my way of saying “that’s how I am”, I can’t say it in words because I’m not capable, but I do it with my pictures. Besides this, it is my daily obsession, my constant thought.
Let’s say that in the last 3 or 4 years I have developed a bigger awareness of what I want to do with photography, that is to continue to give space to the underlying themes, which, in the end, are always the same anxiety, loneliness, sense of disorientation. By presenting my latest work I always say that at first I thought of calling it “f##k 5Ws “, where the 5Ws, for the uninitiated, represent who, why, what, when and where. By this I mean not to seek in my pictures a sense that goes beyond what I mean, that is only an attempt to stage my sense of “being lost”.
I got closer to portraits in recent years. In the beginning I really had a lot of difficulty and I preferred taking photos where human presence was reduced to a minimum.
I think that now what I like is to take portrait in particular landscapes. I like to shoot in isolated and desolate places, preferably at night, the maximum would be in snow-covered places. I’m always looking for people and places that remind images I have already composed in my head.
I usually choose the person, or the place, or both. I have always something in mind, but then at the moment of shooting, conditions can change, so it is not all planned. Also because I’m not a technical photographer, I have a lot of gaps, such as about the lighting of the subject. So every time I do various tests to get what I want.
I do not want to sound pretentious but I think so. And It’s probably true, because very often people tell me “this photo is labled Massimiliano Pugliese”.
Tell me about the equipment (camera, lenses, software, etc.) you mostly use and why:
My equipment is very simple. Now I have almost completely abandoned the analog. So, I only use a Canon 5D Mark II with 2 lenses, a 35mm and a 50mm. And sometimes I use my cellphone.
No, actually I don’t have a favorite photo. But each project is linked to a strong memory, each was done at different times of life, so there is always something special about them to remember.
Tell me about your achievements, awards, clients, publications, etc. Do you ever think about (self)publishing your photobook?
In recent years I have focused heavily on awards and I must say that this 2015 was a very fruitful year. And, to answer to the other question, a fanzine called “Fugazine” about my work “Getting Lost is Wonderful” has just been published in 120 copies.
My plans are to be able to develop photography that I have in my mind, and try to not be focused too much on seeking consensus.
It’s a very difficult question, but I’ll give you 3 names for each category:
- Photography: Todd Hido, Roger Ballen, Alex Prager.
- Films: there are hundreds or movies that are among my favorite. I’ll give you the names of 3 Directors, but there are a lot more: David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Denis Villeneuve.
- Music: Tool, Mogwai, Mars Volta
Something to say to our readers or aspiring photographers (or random words of wisdom):
The only thing I can recommend is to try to develop your personal language following your instincts.