“Since February 2015 and for about a year, Iacopo Pasqui started hanging out with and taking pictures of a bunch of teenagers who were born in 1999. Motivated by curiosity towards contemporary social dynamics and by the need to photograph others, he finds in this bunch of young friends a suitable dimension for his work, given the proximity and the generation gap. In the beginning he starts dictated by the prejudice to find in the lives of Alessio, Chicca, Flavio, Francesco, Irene and Rebecca the reflection of the rotten and fallen contemporary society, but in time the author reconsiders his point of view, finding out in the kids’ lives a more ordinary nature that he had expected. This work doesn’t aim at visually amazing his public, but it aims at being a research about the poetry and the purity of this age, about the innocence of these kids, and about their way to be, deep down, still children. It aims at revealing a reality that is complicated, but at the same time so normal to seems light years away from its surroundings.”
Our youth, our age, constantly escaping us. Time droning on, a drug we choose to endure. As the second, minute, and hour hands meander along the days disappear. We find ourselves older than before. Reminiscing in the nostalgia of our younger years. In 1999, I was eight years old, I can’t recall what I was up to, where I was. I was small. In “1999” Iacopo Pasqui points his lens at a group of teenagers born in 1999, growing up, losing their adolescence, gaining life experience. I remember my teenage years, feeling alien, the entire hilarious happy nightmare. The hands in pocket, braces, drawing on self, on others, feeling like a wrecking ball, feeling like getting intoxicated and breaking bottles under the bridge.
Often when I hear about someone photographing teenagers, I think I know what I am going to get. Some Larry Clark fan going ham on the 35mm point and shoot with high contrast film. Making kids look colorful, raw, and wild. However, with Pasqui’s “1999” that is not the case. We get something that feels intimate, luxurious, and chill. Sharing the quiet moments, the awkwardness, the vulnerability. It’s so intimate, it’s as if these kids would let Pasqui hit the pipe or cruise the neighborhood on bikes when there is nothing to do.
Although, what pushes 1999 beyond being just a feel-good document is the fact that Pasqui’s eye entertains the viewer with a bit more than a snapshot. Pasqui is able to show us that he has gift for arranging color and composing a shot horizontal or vertical. Further, the moments with these kids feel real and we have enough context to know them a little bit. Pasqui shows us the bumper cars crash, rubber bands tangled in braces and tongues, the spot where the band plays, the ballet, canaries in a cage. Most of all though, we watch Pasqui actively reflect on his own teenage years while simultaneously providing us with a unique look at contemporary Italian youth culture.
At times, it does feel like the narrative is a tiny bit forced, however 1999’s sequencing is smooth enough to make it more than enjoyable. An extremely solid book that seems to reveal more and more overtime. Solid in its contents, interesting enough in its subject matter, accessible to a wide range of viewers. Worth checking out if only to remember your own youth.
A great effort from a young photographer backed by the solid fresh vision of Witty Kiwi.
website: Iacopo Pasqui
publisher: Witty Kiwi
review by Christian Michael Filardo