Andrea Calestani Photographer


Venice is never as banal as you want to look at it. I took the first photograph in Venice in 1966 during a trip with the family, a panoramic view of the Grand Canal from the vaporetto (public waterbus). It was my father who put the little Kodak Instamatic in my hands. Just over ten years passed before the next photographic commitment meeting with the lagoon city. Which was an initiation.

The first edition of the “Venezia ’79 la Fotografia” review. A photographic compendium, for my apprenticeship, of notable importance; from which I fed my knowledge. For the numerous authors present and the iconic photographs on display. Penniless, I slept rough so as not to miss the appointment. There was no doubt that the little money I had had to be spent on film, and on the voluminous catalogue; which I immediately adopted as a photographic “bible”.

Even today, rereading the index of the authors exhibited sends me back an ancient emotion. I can’t say exactly, but that was the first photography lesson I signed up for, still an unaware and immature disciple. I have always been self-taught, in photography as in many other things in life. Specifically, I take the words of Alfred Stieglitz to define teaching without an identifying or high-sounding label: “[…] The only advice is to study the images… Study them and re-study them, analyse them, penetrate them until they become a part of your aesthetic being. Then, if there is any trace of originality in you, you will be able to intuitively adapt what has thus become a part of yourself…” …”.

Observing and “reading” the photographs of others, I already understood at that time was the first sure way to approximate some aesthetic evaluation. HCB, Eugene Smith, Atget, Arbus, Robert Frank, GBG, Webb, Roiter, Klein are just some of the authors whose works I often focus on, for that continuous tribute to learning. Yesterday like today.

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