Mattia Balsamini: Moved to Los Angeles, California in 2008. Assisted still life, adv, fashion photographers for a while, carried lots of strobes and stands and cases for them. In 2010 assisted David LaChapelle at his Hollywood Studio, working both on set and in the archive. Graduated with Honorable Mention at Brooks Institute and moved back to Italy – still favorite place on Planet Earth. Educator at MeLa the rendering and interactive research department at IUAV University of Venice and teaches industrial photography at IED Istituto Europeo Design of Turin. Co-founder of Collettivo Fernweh he is collaborating with graphic designer Lucia Del Zotto and editor Gabriella De Domenico.
I spent most of my childhood afternoons after school at my father’s office. Marco, this is his name, owned a business designing and installing heating and cooling systems. At the time I wasn’t passionate about his job, I wasn’t even exactly sure what he did for a living.
But I knew well that before him, my grandfather owned the firm and that now Marco was carrying it on. The offices were located off of a town road near the Sacile railroad station, and behind the entrance gate you could see this three storey house built in the seventies. On the bottom floor were the offices, while on the first and second floor was my grandparents’ residence.
I moved and played between these two worlds almost seamlessly, being accustomed to think they were one. Eating an afternoon snack, talking with my grandma, then walking downstairs to play with tools at the workshop, among busy working people. Labour, very close to home, at the point they intersect. The fast shift of post-war period that took place in my hometown (like in most of northeastern Italy), projected the area from rural poverty to richness in a few decades – richness that wasn’t created thanks to oil, gas or gold, but through the only available resources: time, space and labour. Labour is an action, but it is also a place – a space in which we move and exist. Just like home is. What I started questioning in my photographic practice is how the contact of the domestic and work settings, typical of this area, intersect each other even in other contexts.
In the past years, working on editorial assignments, alongside my personal work, I decided to partly demystify situations connected to the commercial work I was doing – many of them related to experiments, new technologies, industrial and highly automated processes. I used the photographic medium to break down what I was looking at, looking for simpler concepts, more easily associated with my childhood memories. I believe I became interested in re-discovering what I first saw when I was a kid.
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