Mattia Balsamini

Mattia Balsamini

PHOTOGRAPHER

A Dive into Photography with Mattia Balsamini.

Photography per se, I am convinced, finds constant sap in an attitude of valuing the classic, proceeding by small steps, small risks in its own transformation.

Mattia Balsamini, an Italian photographer that explores the surreal intersection of science and society. With a background in Advertising Photography from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Los Angeles, where he also served as David LaChapelle's studio assistant, Balsamini's work delves into human identity through personal and editorial projects for institutions like MIT, NASA, and the University of Zurich's Institute of Forensic Medicine. He examines the role of work in shaping human identity, utilising technology and science to analyse social dynamics.

Mattia Balsamini
Mattia Balsamini

What was the primary influence on your approach to photography?

As a kid actually. It was the tension towards the confirmation of a feeling, a diffused nostalgia and fascination for partial truths, what I still believe only images can convey by being arbitrary. The representation of beauty and the beauty of technology, which emerged from observing my father’s job as plant designer.

How did painting and illustration contribute to your artistic education?

They are both representations of a distanced truth, which I am really obsessed with. Some genres of these forms of art are also very much timeless in their beauty and this helps in somewhat fixing in time a taste, a set of rules, sometimes even specific entire colour palettes. And I think this can help an artist choose their own path even outside of this realm. It can help us choose and understand which atmospheres and subjects we very strongly feel attracted and react to. At least this is what happened to me.

Mattia Balsamini

How have the colours and styles of artists like Virgilio Guidi, De Chirico and Dali influenced your perception of beauty?

You actually picked one of the most recurring painters who hung on the walls of my childhood home, Guidi. They were simple lithographic prints, but my constant staring at them surely had some influence in what I still consider strong images. The haziness of his work, the feeling that everything in those paintings was a magical, beautiful memory that still gives chills. Of course I like to think that delivering beauty – together with as many messages one think is entitled to convey as a visual artist – is one of the many goals we have.

Is there a recurring theme or concept in your projects?

I'm still interested in the balance between seeing and not seeing – for me it almost becomes the very subject of the image. For me, it is important that what is suggested is not necessarily shouted or overstated. I want to hold, for myself first, and then for the viewer, this preciousness that for everyone resides in different feelings when looking at an image.

How does your fascination with transforming things shape your overall artistic vision, and how does the concept of rebirth factor into this?

I value the documentary aspect of photography, although I always try to intervene prominently in what I photograph. I feel that the almost truthful depiction of subjects is not my concern, and that there have been and always will be authors who can better and more faithfully depict what they witness. My approach is somewhat selfishly autobiographical and useful mostly to myself. I like to observe, interact with, and visually return what fascinates me and pushes me to understand more. Understanding for me is constant rebirth.

Mattia Balsamini
Mattia Balsamini

Can you elaborate on your attraction to didactic representation of subjects and the beauty it conveys?

I still believe that my attention to these issues stems from my childhood, from when my father, an engineer specialising in air conditioning and heating, would constantly allow me to play with the tools in his small company. I believe this environment developed the sensitivity to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of technology, along with a fascination for mechanical processes that I could not understand and that fascinated me to observe.

What roles do experimentation, new technologies and industrial processes play in your photographic works?

Photography per se, I am convinced, finds constant sap in an attitude of valuing the classic, proceeding by small steps, small risks in its own transformation. I find myself being very keen on a traditional approach to photography, using artisanal analogic processes, with a small intervention of new technologies in it.

I'm still interested in the balance between seeing and not seeing – for me it almost becomes the very subject of the image.

Regarding technology, do you see the integration of AI aligning with your aesthetics and philosophy?

The only way I've currently incorporated AI in my workflow is to make my tasks faster. I haven't delegated creativity to it, yet. I don't think one can say AI has an actual aesthetic, but perhaps a philosophy yes – the idea of speed maybe. Our pace in this industry has indeed become a fast one. That's where I like AI to help me now, precision and speed. Yet I really care about not cutting corners on human and personal aspects. I haven't asked AI to write emails or retouch for me, yet.

What upcoming projects are you currently planning to pursue?

I’m still working on darkness and blind spots, yet this time I'm focusing more on self–perception. A new body of work should be ready in Autumn if all goes as planned.