Salvatore Matarazzo is best known for his irreverent flash street photography that uses extreme light and direct contact with his subjects to create an alternate reality that is both compelling and bizzare. His latest project, Darwin Is Street, compares the many people he sees with members of the animal kingdom to explore their similarities as well as their differences. Hit the jump to watch the video/slideshow!
Darwin Is Street By Salvatore Matarazzo
I’m a big fan of photo slideshows and Salvatore Matarazzo’s latest body of work doesn’t disappoint. It’s a playful jaunt that examines human’s relationship and similarity to the animal kingdom while hinting at the idea of hunter and prey that often colors the street photography method. In Salvatore’s own words:
Charles Darwin said that man, in his arrogance, believes himself to be a work of God. Darwin, more humbly, thought it was more correct to consider man a descendant of the animal kingdom.
For this project, I photographed people and animals at zoos and fairs all over Tuscany, creating diptychs that imply both dualism and similarities between the species. Using this technique, I try to merely follow my instincts, without forcing the ideas too strongly.
These comparisons are not meant to stand up as scientific evidence: I have only exposed my perspective of what I saw with my eyes and my camera. I think the similarities in the pictures are easy to notice but perhaps even something more emerges…but I won’t force these ideas on the viewers. Everyone should be free to see what they want. —- Salvatore Marazzo
I reached out to Salvatore and asked him a few questions about his work. Here’s what he had to say!
StreetShootr: Hi Salvatore, thanks for talking to us today. Can tell us a bit about yourself?
Salvatore Matarazzo: I’m a professional photographer, born to Viareggio in the 1980.
I have started my carreer in the photography with newspapeers and news agencies. Now I work for the tourism, interior photography, advertising campaigns, food photography, etc… etc…
SS: How did you first become interested in street photography?
SM: Street photography is my great passion and my lifestyle. So the SP frees me from the pressure of job, and clear my mind by frustrating customer demands. When my brain is full of problems I go on the street and free up some space for me, chasing my obsessions and passions. I believe that this is therapeutic effect for me.
SS: What is your favorite kind of subject to shoot?
SM: I like to photograph people, their faces, the more expressive they are, the more they tell me something, I reflect myself in them and I believe that through the faces of strangers I’m talking about me.
SS: What attracts you to using flash on the street?
SM: Light, shadows, and the dramatic impact that the flash generates. The flash can change a face as I prefer, through the darkness and lightness. This does not make me a passive witness of photography, I do not let the scene take the upper hand on creativity, I try to create something of my own. Not for me to decide, however, if I am succeeding!
SS: Do people confront you more when you shoot with flash?
SM: People, do not do anything when I photograph with the flash, you need the right method to do it. If you’re relaxed when you take photos, the gesture is accepted by the people. Occasionally someone gets angry, and I tell him that I’m not doing anything wrong, I will give them my business card, and the invitation to visit my photos on my website and that is usually enough to relax them. Otherwise if they are still angry, I delete the picture, and it is no longer my problem.
SS: Let’s talk about your Darwin video – most people think of street photography as being about people. Why shoot animals?
SM: Many photographers have a small vision of what is Street Photography, other photographers treat gender as if the street photographers are a chosen species. I think the Street does not need rules, pallets, and limitations. My experience tells me that the concept of street photography be found in the way of life of the photographer, if you have a cool mink and authorial, everything can become Street Photography.
The Darwin video seem to be comparing humans to animals. Are you saying we are all animals? Or is it a more playful message?
SM: I have exposed my perspective of what I saw with my eyes and my camera, during the fairs of my land. I think the similarities in the pictures are easy to notice but perhaps even something more emerges…but I won’t force these ideas on the viewers. Everyone should be free to see what they want. Obviously it’s a humorous message, but it does reflect a lot, I like to play with the provocations.
Where can people find out more about you?
Shooting flash limits the sheer amount of space in your frame – light only travels so far before it falls off to black. So a lot of flash shooters focus on the character of their subjects rather than the complexity of their compositions. Salvatore Matarazzo’s work takes this human focus to another level by capturing animals with the same visual curiosity and using dyptichs to create a humorous conclusion.
Is he saying we’re all animals and there’s very little seperating us from the wild? Or are street photographers just hunters stalking their prey?
You be the judge!
What’s your take on Salvatore Matarazzo’s Darwin Is Street slideshow? An interesting portrayal of the relationship between humans and animals? Or are you over flash street photography of any sort? Post your ideas in the comments below and keep the conversation going!