Father and son out for a 30K bike ride stopped by for a glass of water and a hello. It’s Gianni, our closest friend for 20 years and his son Giovanni, who we know since he was 5. I make photographs of Gianni because he is always so expressive in a purely Italian way. And funny too!
Every gesture, which is such a complex part of Italian expression, is is rich with undertones and expletives, world views and commentary, and every conversation circles around to the state of being of contemporary life, mainly in Tuscany, but also in the larger world. Physical gestures are the matrix of photographs, and even when you know someone well it pays to keep reading their animated expressive side for clues to their persona.
Yesterday I mentioned that sitting around and talking could often produce spontaneous portrait studies, and that like street photography, if one was observant some rich gestural images might come from it. The next day our friend Gianni stopped by, as he does almost every day, to hang out and play with us as we have been doing for 20 years now.
The positions we were sitting in gave me this chance to really watch the Italian in him in action, with every nuance of his story needing an expressive gesture to move the opera along. What the story was about I can no longer remember, or as the Italians say, “chi se ne frega,” who gives a damn, anyway.
And then, when he was done, he gave me the sweetest, most sheepish look, which endeared him to me even more.