”Never Forget The Warriors”
(Independent Photography Festival)
(195a Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 3065)
November 12, 2014
Italian NYC-based photographer Alessandro Simonetti is unlike no other.
His underground images encapsulate an era, of punk, rebellion, independence and true individuality.
His current show, ‘Never Forget The Warrriors’ opens tonight at Doomsday Store, in the heart of Melbourne’s locale Fitzroy, as part of the annual IPF / Photography Festival.
We sat down with him to chat about the current show, his first Pentax P30T, his upcoming project in Jamaica, and why he loves New York and the 24 hour food availability!
- Please tell us a little about “Never Forget The Warriors” series? -
NFTW its a “one night stand” kind of documentary shot in 2008 during the A7 reunion (an old small venue in the east village where beastie Boys, Bad Brains and co played) which had more than 40 bands reunited from the NYCHC scene of 80’s, when shit was RAW in the East Village.. i got intrigued by the juxtaposition between those kids and the band’s members reunited for the occasion after ages! i compiled two hand bound and stitched books, two different publications of the same content revisited in the form and layout. The project was presented last year at The Newsstand in NYC, a really cool bookstore in the subway in BK.
Recently i got ask to be part of I.P.F. and we decide to show case the actual work with a series of 15 images 115x80cm in edition of 10 from the project. We are releasing also a zine available at the opening tomorrow.. this would be the third version of the project. I will show, with the support of Oakley, at Doomsday, which i had the chance to show during their opening more than a year a go. Melbourne and the IPF have a really cool vibe.
-What was your very first camera? -
It was a Pentax P30T with a bounce of lenses and a flash. I bought the set from a school mate.. Everything got stolen in Brussels on the road to a Straight Edge festival. I felt like shit.
- and what do you shoot with now? -
Mainly with my Nikon F100 reflex.
- Being based in NYC, how does New York influence you? -
Even though NYC became a playground for start-ups and real estate warriors,
NY “is a place where you can sit still, but still feel like you are moving” and that feeling keep me inspired.
….Also you can get food at any time of the day and night!
- You discover & travel to places that others don’t often frequent,
what inspires you to explore and challenge? -
I’m naturally curious about people, social behaviours and hidden niches.
That, pushed me to reach all kind of situation way far from my own culture.
I grew up in a small conservative town of 50,000 souls where culture diversification is an exception, and hadn’t really travelled outside Europe before I finished university.
At that point I really felt the need to get out and see what’s up!
- What has been your biggest challenge as a photographer? -
I feel really satisfied when I finish projects that are complex and hard to achieve. One of the last stories I shot and I felt it was a challenge, was a Wrestling story I shot in Dakar last year for Victory Magazine.
It was the biggest match of the year, and Wrestling (forget Ultimate Warriors and Hulk Hogan kind of shit!) in Senegal is the most hyped sport! I spent 9 hours in that stadium filled with sand – and the stuff I’ve to done to be able to walk in the field while I was shooting, was just insane and too long to write here now.
But, I can say that when I got back to my hotel after that night I felt really well..
- Whom do you look to for their knowledge and skill, or inspiration? -
I get influenced more from people I have a chance to share personal time and thoughts with, and also other photographers, but not only. One of the biggest inspirations in life is my partner Jules Kim, not only a really sharp mind but a great reference in everyday life. Her creative approach (she designs jewellery) could be applied on any kind of medium or art and still feels unique and pungent.
- Are there any creators’ (artists, designers) that you think are still under the radar? -
Ok, let’s do it italian style:
I’m really into the work of this friend originally from Milano now in SF, Francesco Deiana.
He comes from the Milano Graffiti scene.
Another photographer that i admire for his commitment and prolific book production is Renato D’agostin.
He’s a young master.
I had the chance to work close to Davide Balliano.
I documented different performances and stages of his work and I feel particularly close to his production.
Another studio I like is Tankboys in Venice.
(the Italian one, not the one in Cali.)
- What does 2015 hold for you? -
I just started a project in Jamaica about the new wave of Reggae artists, the so called “reggae revival” scene.
I just came back from Kingston were we shot few artists starting from Coronation Day (the past Nov 2nd), the most important day for Rastafarians. The idea is to compile a photo book with lot of written contents too.
I’m planning to go back to Jamaica more often in the next year.