Visions of Rome by Brando Ghinzelli is an aesthetically oriented photo series that explores the awe-inspiring, historic city of Rome. Once the most important city of the ancient world and now the capital of Italy, Rome has been the home of the Italian photographer Brando Ghinzelli for four years. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Brando about himself, his work, and his series Visions of Rome.
Ghinzelli was born in a small Italian town called Viadna in the province of Mantova and was raised in Vicenza. His interest in photography stems from his love of observation. “I love to see impressive details and interesting things where normally you wouldn’t see them. I love the power of photography to pose infinite questions whatever the subject you have in front of you. I think that’s why when I picked up a camera for the first time, it was love at first sight”.
How did you learn about photography? Are you self-taught or have you received formal training?
I started as self-taught then I followed various classes here in Rome. I had very good teachers, whom I’m very grateful for.
Do you have a preferred type of camera you use?
I started as a digital photographer and then I moved to analog, but I still love both systems. I love my Pentax ME super because is vey intuitive (it’s the one I used for this series) and because my dad gave it to me, but I also use different cameras such as medium format, point and shoot etc.
What or who inspires you as a photographer?
The area where I was born gave birth to great landscape photographers like Luigi Ghirri, Guido Guidi among others, which influenced me the most. I also love Gabriele Basilico for his power of portraying urban landscapes and Piergiorgio Branzi for his synthetic gaze. I love American landscape photographers like Adams, Shore etc… but this list could be way longer!
How would you describe your photography style as an artist? Has this style changed since you first started expressing yourself as a photographer?
I started as a pure landscape photographer then I tried to move forward with outdoor portraits. I love to place people in space and make a dialogue between them. I guess my style hasn’t changed much but I hope that my technique has, as I’m always trying to experiment with new things.
Could you tell me about your series Visions of Rome? What inspired you to begin this photography series?
The love for observation. I wanted to live in Rome and understand the infinite faces of this incredible city. I wanted to absorb and discover the city as a ‘tourist with more time’.
Was the series Visions of Rome something that was pre-planned, or did it develop over time?
I didn’t plan the series. One day I was looking at all the pictures and I saw a common thread in them, but I’ll probably add pictures to the project in the future.
There is a lack of human presence which creates a haunting yet thrilling experience. Was the exclusion of people intentional?
It’s true that Rome is always chaotic and full of people, but this city is also full of hidden places where most people don’t go. In some cases, I also excluded people intentionally to keep the style consistent. Do you know those ancient painting called capriccio? I wanted this series to look like a modern interpretation of them in some ways.
Your work focuses on structural architecture. What about the architecture of Rome captivates you?
They call it Città Eterna for a good reason. The architecture is stratified, eclectic, but still harmonious. I tried to embrace different type of architectures such as rationalism, classicism etc. and to insert contemporary objects in order to show and highlight this specific characteristic.
Has your perspective of Rome changed since you first started this series?
Rome is living in a sad period of decline caused by bad administration. This series helped me to rediscover its overwhelming beauty and made me believe that this city will always find its way to be reborn from ashes – as it has done before in the past.
Many of the photos combine stunning aspects of architecture with mundane everyday objects. Was this deliberate or a coincidence?
In Rome everyday life is lived in this beautiful context so it’s not unusual to find this combination in the images. That’s the fortune we have as roman citizens and that we should not forget about.