Leica Galerie Zingst – »The Visual Soundtrack of My American Years« von Nicoló Minerbi

Welche Zutaten braucht es für eine gute Ausstellung? Klaus Tiedge, Kurator der Erlebniswelt Fotografie Zingst befasst sich laufend mit dieser Frage. »Es ist eine faszinierende, aber auch höchst anspruchsvolle Aufgabe, Ausstellungen für die Leica Galerie in Zingst zu kuratieren: Die gezeigten Bilder müssen – in guter Leica-Tradition – Geschichten erzählen. Zusätzlich sollen sie dem optischen Mainstream die Stirn bieten und selbstverständlich von herausragender Qualität sein.« so Tiedge. »Nicolò Minerbis Arbeiten bringen all das mit. Ich freue mich, dass fotogloria Nicolò mit der Leica Galerie Zingst und mit mir zusammen gebracht hat.«

Wir freuen uns auch, denn so entstand die tiefgründig humorvolle und gleichzeitig wunderbar leichtfüßige Ausstellung »The Visual Soundtrack of My American Years« mit Fotos von fotogloria-Fotograf Nicolò Minerbi. Zu sehen bis zum 15. Mai 2015 in der Leica Galerie Zingst.

Und im Interview erzählt er, warum er fotografiert. Und was ihn so daran fasziniert.


What are the ingredients needed for a good exhibition? Klaus Tiedge, Curator of Experiential Photography Zingst is constantly having to deal with this question. »It’s a fascinating, but at the same time very demanding, task to curate exhibitions for the Leica Gallery in Zingst: following Leica tradition, the images on display must tell stories. In addition, they should go beyond the visual mainstream and, of course, be of outstanding quality,« Tiedge explains. »Nicolò Minerbi’s work unites all these qualities. I’m happy that fotogloria brought Nicolò together with myself and with the Leica Gallery Zingst.«

We are happy as well, as it has resulted in »Visual Soundtrack of My American Years«, an exhibition of images by fotogloria photographer Nicolò Minerbi, which has both profound humour and a wonderful lightness. It is on display at the Leica Gallery Zingst up until May 15, 2015. Nicolò explains in an interview why he photographs, and what it is he finds so fascinating about it all.

fotogloria: Why did you become a photographer?
Nicolò Minerbi:  Personally, I think eventually everybody becomes what he or she really is. Like a seed that grows, but doesn’t change its nature. Like a tree, that can only give its own kind of fruit. I was born a photographer, I guess. And by saying that I’m not saying I grew up taking photos of things or people. As a matter of fact I don’t have most of the photos I would love to. What I’m saying is that I can understand the world around me only by seeing it. I see pictures, I see colors, I see black and whites. Other people can taste, smell, talk, listen to the world. I see, therefore I am. Becoming a photographer was just a matter of time, a maturation process. I started shooting as a pro in 2001, when I was already 27. Not a baby anymore. Before that I was a writer and I used to work with magazines as a journalist. Why it happened? Why did I switch to photography? It happened when I clearly realized a journalist’s future would have been in front of a display, surfing the web, rather than outdoors, walking the streets, meeting the people, living the real life. Thinking of what I would have missed gave me the kick to take off.

Do you have any photographic role model?
Basically I do not watch movies, I don’t have a TV set either. I’ve been living in houses full of design and vintage stuff with no prints, nor posters on the walls. I do not collect photographic books either. My models are in art museums, instead. I do like classic painters such as Lissandrino, Dürer or the more recent Morandi and Hopper. I like the quiet and the relaxing simplicity of Morandi’s still life paintings and I enjoy the silence I can hear in Hopper’s. Lissandrino and Dürer I like for the crowded, creepy, dark, multi-layers and unpredictable, as life always is, environments. Photographically speaking I don’t have a role model. I probably have tons of them which is like having none at all, I guess. But I do have a friend in the photography field, which is a book I never bought: Cartier Bresson’s »The Inner Silence«. I always like to look at it every time I have the chance to, in the libraries or in the bookstores around the world. SF Public Library has a copy I got a couple times in almost seven years. At some point I decided to buy it, I have to admit it. One day I saw a copy available at the Green Apple Bookstore. It was a used one: great shape, right price. I came back to get it the day after. It was gone. A few months later I left San Francisco. I like to think it was a sign, a message from a dear friend: »see you somewhere else, man!«

American Graffiti

You lived in San Francisco for almost seven years – the Visual Soundtrack of my American Years – is now being exhibited at the Leica Gallery in Zingst. What was the photographic impact of those years?
At the very beginning of it I was shocked, in a very good way: I was super happy like a kid in a candy store. Everything looked odd, crazy, interesting and unusual to me. It was like falling in love, when you understand nothing but you take everything as it comes for good. Then, you know, you have experiences, you start understanding things, by seeing right behind and far beyond. That was the moment when I started watching people’s reactions to the environment around them, to their habitat. How it had shaped them, how geography affects culture, traditions. How history always comes after geography. Like a reaction after an action. That thing made me focus more and more on the surroundings, on the nearby. The frame became the picture itself.

You frequently quote American movies in your photo series – why?
Movies, as I said, I don’t watch. But Americans do. A lot. They actually make movies out of their lives. Americans live acting, they act living. They believe in celebrations, statements, flags, they need to belong to something bigger than themselves. Like everybody else indeed. In the Old World religions usually were the answers to those needs. But religions divide. Neither dreams nor emotions do. That’s why Americans turned movie making into a ritual, a tribal dance, something you can play over and over again. Like a mass, with the priest dressed up for the event. Movies are celebrations of life, and what prayers do in churches, emotions do in the theater near you. Movies tell, explain, in one word, show things everybody might be able to feel but very few can express. People identify themselves in the movies and then they project what they watched onto their lives, onto their dates with the loved ones, onto working places with coworkers. From theaters to Main streets. Understanding the USA is watching an American movie having all these things clear in mind.


What role does Leica lay in your photography?
I was lucky that I didn’t start taking photos with a Leica. I started with my father’s old Nikon F instead. An SLR camera was what everybody would love to have. And I had it. Everything was there, right in the viewfinder. But too often taking pictures was like staring at it, not imagining it. As I said I was lucky to start with the SLR camera because when I later on discovered what Leica was, I was able to taste the (huge) difference. That was the moment when I finally found the tool I needed to imagine my world in a perfect way. And the perfection I’m talking about doesn’t mean sharpness, contrast or other stuff like that, I’m talking about the freedom to dream photos without actually seeing them. Only a rangefinder camera gives me this kind of emotion. Plus, with Leica, I experienced the capability of taking pictures with lenses that have a terrific quality, without being predictable nor flat. They have a soul, a special mood. And every single lens has its own. As a matter of fact my old Elmar has its bad days too, like a human being. And this is when I like it the most.

You recently moved back to Italy. Photographically speaking, what is the biggest difference between the USA and Europe?
The USA is a huge supermarket. A place shaped by money for money, where people go to buy and to sell. Then, when the market is closed, everybody goes home, goes to sleep, disappears leaving room for newcomers, new customers. This is the main difference between the two of them. Although Europe is only a geographical definition rather than a real thing, the Old Continent is all about roots, villages. You know who’s who, or you are out of the game. The USA is not. Roots are not the case there, roots are things that divide more than unite, roots are something that builds ghettos rather than bridges. »Being rootless« shaped the country, always putting money on the next big thing rather than past ones. You make a mistake, you loose a job, you feel like „I’m done here“, then you leave for a new place, a new experience. To start a new life from scratch. This thing has been shaping people, places, cultures, relations. Everything. As a matter of fact, from a photographic point of view, I do believe roots, layers, contrasts help the photographer by adding depth of field to the image, like a deep breath. The USA can be boring instead. Because letting people move around easily means everything has to be flat: the flatter the better. Everything has to be functional and standard environments grow predictable actions, reactions. People have to act in the same way. They even talk in the same way as well. Of course, that makes sense: if you sell a product you want everybody to understand exactly what you mean by saying this or that. Too many cultures together put irony aside, stuff that you find fun others may find offensive. If you are selling something, you don’t want to offend your potential customers. Saying something, choosing a color or a symbol, everything becomes a statement. That’s why, in the States, marketing and packaging do it all. The mission is to standardize everything by compressing the spectrum of emotional colors people can see and can experience.

50th Virginia City, Nevada International Camel Races

Last of all: what project are you currently working on?
That’s a very tough question to answer. I know the perfect reply would have been »I moved to Sicily because… I was in California for…«. It doesn’t really work with me, sorry. I cannot schedule my life, nor predict what and where. I move around following feelings, intuitions I recognize right after they appear as pictures in front of me.

P.S.: Die Ausstellung »The Visual Soundtrack of My American Years« von fotogloria-fotograf Nicolò Minerbi läuft zwar schon ein Weilchen, aber für eine Vernissage ist es nie zu spät. Gesagt, getan: am Freitag, 3. April ist es soweit und die Leica Galerie Zingst lädt gemeinsam mit der Erlebniswelt Fotografie Zingst ein. Wer also in der Nähe ist, oder noch ein lohnenswertes Ziel über die Ostertage sucht, möge sich herzlich eingeladen fühlen. Um 14 Uhr geht es los und Nicoló kommt extra aus Sizilien angeflogen, um alle Fragen zu seinen Bildern zu beantworten.



P.S.: Nicolo Minerbi ist ein fotografisches Ausnahmetalent: Keine Szene, kein Thema, keine Situation, keine Idee, aus der er nicht – fast im vorbeigehen – ein Bild komponiert. Für seine Fotografie mixt er intelligente Gedanken, visuelle Visionen, spitzfindigen Humor, stilistischen Überschwang und schlicht Spaß zu ganz eigenen Bildwelten – und das alles entlang der perfekt beherrschten Klaviatur fotografischer Ausdrucksformen. Nicolò Minerbi lebt derzeit in Modica/ Sizilien und arbeitet weltweit.

P.P.S.: Schauen Sie sich die ganzen Geschichten hinter den in der Leica Galerie Zingst ausgestellten Serien von Nicolò Minerbi auf der fotogloria-Bilddatenbank an: »Scooter Coast« | »Lebowsky Fest« | »American Graffiti« | »Camel Race« | »How the Evolution Turned the Frontyard Into an Iconic Quotation«  – selbstverständlich können Sie alle Motive auch über fotogloria lizensieren.

P.P.P.S.: fotogloria vertritt Nicoló Minerbi weltweit. Über fotogloria können Sie ihn gerne für Ihre Ideen und Aufträge buchen – melden Sie sich jederzeit unter 040 609 42 906 -0 oder info@fotogloria.de.