As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from

Taking Footage – Making Footage

Photographer, photojournalist, movie maker, and artist: beginning July ninth, the range of his oeuvre will likely be revealed within the exhibition Taking Footage – Making Footage. Alberto Venzago is amongst Switzerland’s nice photographers. Although he now lives again in Zurich, he has been a globetrotter for many of his life. He has lived on varied continents, with restlessness being the day by day norm for a few years.

Venzago got down to change the world together with his Leica. Whether or not photographing the Yakuza in Japan, revolution in Iran, youngster prostitution in Manila, voodoo in Africa or portraits of celebrities in Zurich, Venzago switched effortlessly between completely different fields of the medium. Over the numerous a long time of his profession, his photographic cosmos has included reportage, documentary, industrial and staged work, in addition to movie. We spoke with him about his work and his life.

It’s, in actual fact, wonderful that that is the primary time {that a} complete retrospective of your work is on show…
Sure; though I don’t just like the phrase “retrospective” a lot – it sounds an excessive amount of like step one in direction of an obituary.

However why has it taken so lengthy on your life’s work to be granted this huge exhibition?
I at all times spent my time wanting ahead. I by no means had time to look in my archives and undergo the negatives and slides. The subsequent challenge was at all times extra essential. Actually, I used to be at all times on the transfer. I lived in Australia for 2 years and Tokyo for 5; practically ten in New York Metropolis. I returned to Africa, repeatedly. I made movies. Switzerland at all times figured as an island the place I may get well from the world. And now, finally, I’ve had the time to have a look at all the pieces once more, to organise and digitise my work. Because of the journey restrictions imposed by covid, and an extended yr of labor, all the pieces is now practically prepared. Sitting in entrance of all the photographs, the thought of constructing a ebook once more emerged – a ebook that will be extra like a kaleidoscope, made up of all of the items of my work. After which, in a really synchronistic method, I used to be approached by the museum – I can solely as soon as once more thank the voodoo gods for that.

You’ve got taken tons of of hundreds of pictures. The choice for the exhibition and accompanying catalogue exhibits your extra essential topics; but additionally contains many footage unpublished as but. Can you continue to bear in mind the very first image you took?
I used to be at all times an autodidact. I started to slowly really feel my manner into it, after I was fifteen. I photographed the ladies within the neighbourhood. Later I took footage of bands. My first fee was for the Swiss youth journal Pop, which was much like Bravo in Germany. I used to be completely focussed on Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the Stones; I used to be totally fascinated by that way of life. I skilled the ability of images; it turned a door opener to the world. And I had entry to the musicians, as a result of they realised that I understood one thing about music.

Nevertheless, your life had revolved round classical music as much as that time…
Sure, I grew up in a musical household. My Italian father was an architect and my mom got here from a German household of actors and artists. My father was obsessed with taking part in violin, and we carried out as a trio, with my two yr older brother Mario on the piano. I performed clarinet and studied on the conservatory. Nevertheless, a motorcycle accident put an finish to my profession. I needed to rethink all the pieces, which I now contemplate a stroke of fine luck. My brother turned a conductor. My movies are about music; I’ve accompanied many orchestras, in addition to my brother. Consequently, I’m able to transfer between each worlds, which at all times delights me. To this present day, music is likely one of the nice driving forces in my life.

What occurred along with your images after the accident?
It was very late after I really began to take images severely. It was solely after I emigrated, as a result of I didn’t need to go to the army service; and likewise to not jail. I used to be first in Australia; then I went to Japan, passing by means of Timor and Bali. I steadily realised that images was greater than a interest. I turned extra critical, dedicated, and my life as a “involved photographer” started.

Which reportage from that period is most essential to you?
The Iran reportage was very impactful. That was the place I recognised my signature for the primary time. I needed to do a narrative in regards to the Islamic Revolution, from the angle of these affected, moderately than that of the Western media. The chance was monumental; however then, I gained the ICP Infinity Award and have become a Magnum nominee.

With a Leica?
Sure. I purchased my first Leica shortly earlier than my time with Magnum Pictures. Afterward, the Leica M6 was to develop into my working instrument. I really like Leicas. They’re small, strong, and the lenses are good. These days, I at all times have a Q2 readily available; earlier on, it was the M6.

One among your greatest recognized sequence, which you photographed with the M6, is the great reportage on the Japanese mafia – the Yakuza. How did you handle to realize the group’s belief?
I used to be at all times fascinated by darkness; and in Tokyo I noticed these darkish Mercedes limousines. Then there have been the gangsters, who seemed like one thing out of an American movie from the fifties. I established the primary contact after six months. I labored on the sequence for over 5 years. On the time, I used to be the one photographer to get so near the Yakuza – a hippie from Switzerland, nothing much less. A Japanese particular person wouldn’t have been in a position to try this; however, as a foreigner, I used to be capable of. Generally, a thousand members met in a room or attended a funeral, when the assorted clans got here collectively, I used to be at all times the one non-Japanese particular person there. They appreciated me. I had lengthy hair and at all times had fairly women with me. I used to be, fairly merely, completely different. Perhaps moderately like a canine on a lead, who’s allowed to be in all places; so shut that they not paid me any consideration. With the Leica, taking discrete pictures was by no means an issue.

Did the Yakuza need to see the photographs, or get copies themselves?
I at all times introduced footage with me; one thing I in any other case by no means do. They have been stunning silver-gelatin prints that I had made in a laboratory in Paris. However they by no means went over effectively. It was solely after I photographed the Yakuza in large-format and studio lighting that they have been happy. That’s the best way they appreciated to see themselves.

How did the change come about, transferring from photojournalism to free work; from “image taking” to “image making”?
There was nothing however this stressed life. Resorts; by no means having time to linger anyplace. I needed to vary the world by means of my footage; at instances wishing my M6 was a loaded Colt, after I photographed essentially the most horrible issues. However typically nobody printed them. I got here to know “C’est pas un picture juste – ce juste une picture” (It’s not a simply image – it’s only a image). So then I seemed for my very own topics.

You additionally had nice success as a industrial photographer.
Promoting allowed me to finance the large reportages. That was nice, to be paid 100 instances higher for ads, which seemed like photojournalism on the time. I at all times knew it was only a means to an finish; by no means the aim of life. The key was to not let your self be seduced; to not develop into a slave to your personal creativity.

Do you have got a photographic want that you’ve but to fulfil?
Oh, that’s troublesome; I don’t know. There are nonetheless so many concepts…

Effectively, to begin with we now have your work within the exhibition and {the catalogue}. Many thanks on your time.

Alberto Venzago was born in Zurich on February 10, 1950. After learning Remedial Training and Clarinet, he turned a self-taught photographer in his mid-twenties. He loved fast success, transferring effortlessly between industrial images, photojournalistic documentary and free creative work. His quite a few picture books embody YAKUZA, Inside Report in regards to the Japanese Mafia (1990); and Voodoo: Mounted by the Gods (2003), which complemented his movie of the identical title. He made varied movies, together with Mythos Gotthard: Der letzte Streckenwärter (The Gotthard Fantasy: The Final Monitor Warden) (2008) and Mein Bruder der Dirigent (My Brother the Conductor) (2007). He was a cameraman on plenty of documentary movies, resembling Wim Wenders’ Invisibles: Congo (2007), and Jagdzeit – Den Walfängern auf der Spur (Searching Season – on the Path of the Whalers) (2009). His most up-to-date massive picture challenge titled One – Seduced by the Darkness was produced together with his associate and muse, Julia Fokina. Discover out extra about his images on his web site and Instagram account.

A portfolio in LFI 4/2021 gives perception into the photographer’s oeuvre.

Leica M

The Leica. Yesterday. At the moment. Tomorrow.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Moms Love To Shop
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart