Home Must See Days of la dolce vita: Claude Noris images of Italians on holiday

Days of la dolce vita: Claude Noris images of Italians on holiday

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The French-Italian photographer captures people soaking in the sensuality of Mediterranean beaches

Sun, sea, sand and summer love: French photographer ClaudeNoris evocative imagesperfectly capturela dolce vita of an Italian holiday.

Inspired by childhoods spent at the seaside with his Italian migr parents along the Adriatic and Mediterranean coasts, Nori set out to capture the seasonal rituals: the passion of a summer romance; the fun and games; the beaches and bikinis, and most of all the sensuality, exuberance and insouciance of youth.

His photographs, published in a new book called Italian Holidays, are framed to give the static moment a dynamic, cinematic feel. Seeingthe young woman on a Vespa, you can hear the purr of the scooter andthe gentle flap of the riders white skirt in the sea breeze, smellthe perfumed and bronzed skin of the hopeful teenage lovers, taste thegelato and hear the beachjukebox.

Everyone loves Italy, the beach,the sea, the joie de vivre, saysNori,speaking on the telephone. I was there taking photos at a wonderful time, the 80s and 90s. There was no internet, no mobile phones and photography was still mythical.

These photos are not reportage there is a certain staging, an ambience of dreams. Im telling a story of myself, a Frenchman of Italian origins who went back to the beach he used to go to with his parents and seeks what he loved from that time. This is not the Italy of tourists, its not the Italy of monuments or museums. I wanted to show a side of Italy you dont see very often.

Rimini,
Rimini, 1995.

Noris love affair with Italy startedearly. Every summer in the1960s, we would load our luggage into my fathers blue SimcaElyse and drive to the Italian Adriatic beaches and sometimes the Mediterranean ones, he writes in the books introduction. We leftToulouse early in the morninginorder to arrive in the evening before sunset for our firstswim. My parents preferred the seaside resorts next to Rimini or Riccione, where prices were stillaffordable. My mother said thesea there was bluer than anywhere else.

The way of life made a lasting impression on him. The dolce far niente (sweet doing-nothing), sand, sea, sky, the pretty girls in bathing suits, skins sensuality offered to the sun, large tables bringing families together, bodies inall shapes and forms and the Vespas always present in the set. Im sure I became a photographer so that I could prolong this adolescence with impunity.

Nori began his career in the early 1970s in Paris with small jobs from advertising agenciesand magazines. But he kept being drawn back to Italy, and he and his friend Luigi Ghirri, the Italian artist and photographer whose Kodachrome images inspired Noris work, travelled the Italian coastal roads in a battered old Volkswagen.

Catania,
Catania, Sicily, 1998.

For the next four decades, Nori photographed Italian summers in the venues and bathing resorts of Rimini, Capri, Amalfi, Catania, Rapallo and Portofino. A first book of around 60 photographs, Lt Dernier, was published in 1983. A second book, Un t Italien, followedin 2001 and sold out withina few months.

Italian Holidays contains remastered and modernised photographs from the 2001 book along with some new, previously unseen images. My editor found one of the previous books in a store and thought the photographs wouldinterest a new audience of young people, says Nori. These images are in a way eternal. This is like remastering a music album.

Most of these photographs, taken in the 1980s, are in Noris preferred black and white, to conjure up the Italian neorealism of the 60s and 70s. At the time, he would switch between his plastic autofocus Canon and a Single-8 film camera. Its about the approach, its about the aesthetic framing the moment like its in a film, he told i-D magazine in 2015. In a way, I was making movies by way of still photographs.

While often deeply personal, Noris photos are a world away from todays selfies, an obsession about which he is scathing. Digital has swept away the mystery of the exposed yet undeveloped image, he says. Cellphones and hybrid devices have trivialised and broken the spell of the photographic process. It has become difficult to simply take a picture in the streets, on the move; mistrust is now present everywherebecause of social networks. As soon as they are taken, these images move anarchically along on the internet. People prefer to avoid a photographer yet take multiple selfies, a phone with a camera at the end of an articulated arm whosewide-angle lens disfigures their portrait.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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