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November 23, 2020


Photography by Gregorio Paone
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is easy to forget the beauty and charm of our cities and the people who inhabit them. However, Gregorio Paone provides us with an engaging visual narrative that captures the essence of his home: the city of Bologna in northern Italy. Having lived there for twelve years, his photographs are a testament to his journey of self-discovery, and his attempt to understand his place in the world. Through a series of stunning images, Gregorio invites us on an introspective journey of nostalgia and exploration. From the characteristic arcades that define Bologna's city centre, to the warm tones of the “cotto emiliano” and the people who inhabit its streets; this is a story of light and shadow, of colour and emotion, that will draw you in and mesmerise you. Join Gregorio as he takes you through the captivating world of his beloved Bologna, where he discovers a suffused languor that captures the beauty and mystery of this Italian gem.

“The name of this series is 'Last Light in Bologna'. It was conceived as a farewell to the city that has been my home for 12 years. The idea started while getting lost in my contemplative walks during my last year in the city. I wanted to capture the spirit of the place and hold on to it. So I focused on what I feel are the main features of Bologna: the lights and shadows created by the characteristic arcades and the colour games played out there, the warm yellow, red and orange tones, all of which blend everything together. To capture this atmosphere I would only go out and photograph during the last light of the day.”


THE PICTORIAL LIST: Gregorio please tell us about yourself. When did you start getting interested in photography?

GREGORIO PAONE: I was still just a little kid when I started playing around with my father's Minolta. I later got my very first camera by the time I was ten. I only thought of photography as a simple recording tool for memories. I only realized and got interested in the true expressive potential of photography while studying at the University of Economics and Marketing. I received a book about composition in photography (The Photographer's Eye by Michael Freeman) and it was like entering a totally new world. For seven years I studied on my own. In 2017 I decided to take a Master in Photography Storytelling with two World Press winners, the photographers Fulvio Bugani and Giulio Di Sturco.

TPL: Where do you find your inspiration to keep creating?

GP: I like to find inspiration in books, both novels and essays. Reading guides my vision towards new directions, new stories, new questions.

TPL: Is there anything particular you want to express through your photography? And what are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?

GP: Something never missing in my photographs is some form of human presence. I try to express how people feel, move and live within their environment, and how modern society makes reality look like. I believe that behind simple daily life scenes hides the secret of life.

TPL: Do you prefer to photographing alone or with friends?

GP: I think that photographing is a very personal and intimate moment for self introspection. But sometimes, when I'm out with friends, I like to use them as cover shields.

TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us?

GP: Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, Koudelka, Anders Petersen, David Alan Harvey, Marco Pesaresi, Cristina Garcia Rodero, Martin Parr, and Nan Goldin.

I believe that behind simple daily life scenes hides the secret of life.

TPL: Has your style of photographing changed since you first started?

GP: When I started using a reflex I was shooting mostly black and white, the photos looked quite classic, since I was influenced by the photographers from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The way I photograph has been evolving ever since. The more I studied the history of photography, the more my style became much more personal. Now I look for specific light moments and colours and the frames have became wider.

TPL: Where is your favourite place to photograph?

GP: Wherever there is life going on.

TPL: How does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?

GP: In 2010 I started with a SLR, but I always thought it was too heavy, and mostly I felt it was too intrusive. In 2014 I bought a 35mm mirrorless and it was love at first sight. Very light and easy to carry, it doesn't scare people away, it really helps me to become invisible.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?

GP: I moved back to my home town in the South of Italy three years ago. I felt the need to get to know my region much better. My next project is to follow the same routes of travellers from '800 who have explored Calabria.

TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years?

GP: In five years I will probably be building up a forest.

TPL: “When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…

GP: Hang out with friends, read books, plant trees and plants.”

Gregorio Paone's photography captures the unique beauty of Bologna and invites us to take a closer look into the life of this incredible city. His images evoke a strong sense of nostalgia, providing insight into the daily lives and experiences of the people who call it home. Join us and explore more through Gregorio's lens and experience the vibrant energy of his work.

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