The Surviving Frame
The Surviving Frame is a collection of photographs and of untidy thoughts. The photographs are what is left boiling down hours and hours of footage I shot as a news cameraman, in 20 years and across all continents (except Oceania). They are the remnant, the sediment. They are what I found when I finally started to look back.
I have been a cameraman for Reuters since 1998. Until very recently I was very comfortable with the main traits of my profession, with the anonymity of my work and with the fact that my pictures would have the life of a may-fly, passing quickly in news bulletins to disappear for ever. Up until recently I have very rarely looked back.
But when my son, Martino, started to walk something changed. As I watched this little man venturing fearlessly into his little world I shivered as I thought how little he knew, how little he had seen. And I begun to look back. To look back at the events I had witnessed, to the people I had seen during my work journeys. To my surprise memories did not come back in moving pictures. They came back as stills. As photographs. Surviving Frames, in fact.
Technically, all these photographs - except the first and the last one - are grabs from my video footage elaborated with photographic editing tools.
In essence, they were not born as photographs but they have deliberately become photographs, they were not meant to be photographs but they have chosen to be photographs. That, in pursuit of the intensity in storytelling that only photography, I think, has.
Working on this project - trying to catch a few surviving frames through years and years of moving pictures - has felt like swimming against a strong current, upstream. A pleasant feeling. Against the current of my personal stream, that unavoidably pushes me forward, and against the tide of a world that produces and consumes an immensity of quickly fading images.
I think that - probably because of my son - the frames that survived are the ones where I can see a universal lesson about life and the human condition that goes beyond the specific complexities of the historic event or of the news event they portray.
Frames which have survived because they capture something archetypical about human life, on why it so terrifying and so beautiful.