Massimo Vitali

Vitali worked as a photojournalist and a cinematographer in the 1960's. Vitali's work is over-exposed like the sunbathers he is photographing. His images are characterised by large space or people packed together, unaware of him photographing above. Sunbleached images suggest subtle hues.

Marked contrast with Martin Parr's staged photography. Vitali's subjects are often unaware and those that see themselves in the final print are sent a free complimentary copy. 

Photo permission kindly granted by © Massimo Vitali


I tend to imagine famous photographers taking photographs with the same type of equipment as the general public. However this can't be the case due to the superior images that they are capable of producing. Vitalis' photographs are 6ft wide views of Italian beach-goers. Whilst working to coursework deadlines I have thought of my photographs as being part of finite projects, however knowing that Vitali' work is on-going reinforces to me that even after I have completed People and Place I should explore my ideas further. Vitali lives close to Pisa and often  revisits the rocky coastal areas with fresh eyes. He refers to the people in his panoramas as butterflies pinned in a case, because they can't escape. I wonder how many photographs we play a part in, blissfully unaware of our role as subject in another's image. 

For someone who dedicates so much time to photography you would think Vitali would have built up thousands of images and yet he states that: "In 15 years, I've only taken 4,500 negatives. When I have a good picture, I don't need to take 100 of them. It's there." It might take him all day to get 'the photo' he's after and then doesn't see the need to aimlessly clog up his camera with unwanted images. Out of the hundreds of images we take I wonder how many we will refer back to within a day, week, month or even a year. You can refer back to some of Massimo Vitali's work at his website