Leonardo Magrelli (b.1989, Rome) holds a bachelor’s degree in Design from ‘La Sapienza’ University and currently he’s studying Art History for his second bachelor’s degree. He worked for a few years with a publishing house and in 2014 he began working on his own to focus much more on his personal work. In the last few years his work has been published in several printed and online photography magazines and has been displayed in collective exhibitions, events, and festivals.
‘The Meerror’ is one of his recent projects. It collects a series of short circuits, of visual errors. Apparently they are simple photos taken in front of a mirror: we should see ourselves reflected in it, but we don’t, as if we were invisible. In other words these pictures show us what mirrors reflect when we are not in front of them. Real images, that exist in the world, but we can never witness, for we are their own interference.
About : I’ve studied visual and graphic design, and I got closer to photography by working as a book designer for a photography publishing house, Punctum press. At that time I had no intention of becoming a photographer though, and I was also working in another studio, much more focused on trade books design. So, aside from the most common influences that graphic design can bring to photography (composition, balance and so on), I also got used to modifying the images, combining them together, cropping them, erasing unwanted part of them, changing their colors and lights. What you do to images in order to design a good book cover is very different from the approach to the pictures that a photography student has, with all the mystery and the respect that dark room inspires. And so, when I slowly turned my interest to photography, I brought with me all these experiences.
Statement, etc. : The path that brought me from graphic design to photography has also brought me to focus on digital photography, on its possibilities and boundaries. I’m far from being a purist of analogical photography, and I’m against the demonization of the digital one. I think that a medium should be studied and used to express or show things that no other medium can say.
Project(s) : This interest in the uniqueness of digital photography has moulded my two last projects. The Glitch was a series of pictures taken in a single day, when the sensor of my digital camera broke down, and all the colors were deeply altered: no analog camera could ever produce them. Those pictures were truly RGB native, therefore their colors can only exist on a monitor. With the Meerror series instead, only through the digital manipulation of the images, we are able to see what neither our eyes nor the camera lens could: what mirrors reflect when we are not in front of them.
Influences and favorite stuff : After my BA in Design, I chose to take a second one in Art History, to broaden my horizons and to study what has been done before us. History can be a constant source of ideas and inspirations. But regarding the more “contemporary” influences, I should mention the works of Brodovitch and Rodchenko, of Hitchcock and Wong Kar-wai, and, in the more strict field of photography, I should mention the names of John Rafman, Thomas Ruff, Nadav Kander, Todd Hido and Larry Sultan.