Andrea Calestani Photographer


We don’t know, but inside every city there is a magnet that attracts us. We don’t know if and where we will meet her. We don’t know, we will become the object of its inescapable attraction. We don’t actually know of its existence. But it is there.

On the train to Bologna, I often sorted out some photographic ideas in my mind. Passing by, without any particular documentary pretensions. If only for the fact that I had decided to take my camera with me, and I never go home without taking photographs back with me. Then it happens without my knowledge, step by step.

Of course, I rush up Via Dell’Indipendenza to Piazza Maggiore. I know for sure something always happens there, I tell myself. That place is the city stage, which is impossible to ignore for the meetings of its people: actors and supporting actors. I walk faster following the magnetic flow I was talking about. My camera held in the right hand, lens open. The first few times I wondered what place it was that I ended up arriving at and photographing.

Not that I knew the topography of Bologna perfectly, except for that crazy, psychedelic “off-site” apartment in via Mascarella where my son completed his first three-year university degree. The blades of light under the porticoes: light, dark, dark shadows, blinding light. I fiddle back and forth with the diaphragm: closed, open.

Then I learned to read the toponymic plaque: via Zamboni. The street of the universities, of the university students par excellence. Take-aways and copy shops, beyond the front of the academic buildings. Then it was those groups of kids in their daily comings and goings for their teaching duties, interrupted by a slice of cold pizza in the street, that left an impression on my photographic imagination.

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