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29/08 2011

Interview to Mr Oliviero Toscani

© Oliviero Toscani

Luceonline: from an etymological point of view, to photograph means writing with light and so a correct lighting can highlight an important detail or mask a fault, can add or remove emphasis.  

Oliviero Toscani: the definition is apt because to photograph means selecting something from what is possible to see also using all the different opportunities that light allows, light gives the possibility to express your point of view. The photograph represents the historical memory of humanity, before  its invention everything can be contestable.

L: the use of writing marked the transition between prehistory and history, in some way also the photography represented another important step
T: in a certain sense photography is more important than writing because through it we truly know the great human tragedies. Thanks to it we started to wonder about human misdeeds. We know the Shoah tragedy thanks to photography, but many other disasters, other Shoah have been equally awful, the Crusades, the reunification of Italy, fortunately, there is no photographic evidence, because otherwise we would be very embarrassed today.
L: Your passion for photography derives from the example of your father or from something else?
T: My father has been an example, I have also an older sister, she is a photographer. I think that a family profession is not a bad thing, because you have something in your DNA, as an instinct.
L: Something that is handed down.
T: I lived in the world of photography and it was a normal thing for me to do this job. I have no regrets. I have not decided yet what I will do when I grow up.

© Oliviero Toscani

L: You have realized many different experiences, apart from photography, for example Fabrica, La Sterpaglia, research centers of communication, in order to guide students in  the world of art.  What would you like for the coming generation?
T: I hope new generations will wake up and become a little more subversive. The new generations are mild, very fat, live a life of ease and I hope that someone will come from the third world to wake them up, because our children and grandchildren are very mild, gentle, polite, I wasn’t.
A generation that is content with the registration, surfing the net, satisfied by that nonsense technology. The current generation has been snuffed out by the machines, so I’m waiting for a generation that will be no longer conditioned by technology, a generation that will use it.

L: what do you think of new technologies, home automation, the various channels of communication that can reduce the initiative and creativity, but they can also help to achieve a greater well-being.
T: I am not against technology, it’s an helpless thing, like bombs, if you don’t touch bombs they don’t burst. The problem is that now the technology controls us, we are slaves. As I have already said I am not against technology, the professional figure of the photographer depends on technology. Technology is not a bad thing when you are not slave, when you are not conditioned. Creativity has nothing to do with technology. It is a means to reach the most important thing, as with light. Technology contains all the possibilities, but unfortunately nowadays if you turn off technology you turn off also the heart and brain of all the young people that would like to be creative. Many of them think of being creative but really they are not, for example, in the contemporary music world, there is no one that stands out and we continue listening to the old groups.

© Oliviero Toscani

L: in one of your past interviews you said that in the world in which we live everything seems to be false, as a performance, according to you, can your photography make this reality more real, can convey a better cultural message?
T: I did not say that we live in a false reality, we live in a world where images are more important than reality. We know because we saw images, a knowledge through images. When there were no pictures, or better when the only images were those of the frescoes in the churches, at the time of Michelangelo and Leonardo, people saw only the iconography of the  religious power, therefore, the great powers established themselves through communication. We live in a world where the visual communication is dictatorial, we believe what we see on TV.
The power needs communication, it needs images and the artist needs power to distinguish himself. The great artist was in contact with the direct power, he worked for the Pope, the great artist has always confronted himself with the great power of religion, politics or business.

End of the first part



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