We commit to champion talent in photography and our vision is to engage with and promote photographers from a variety of backgrounds. Italian photographer Salvo Toscano has a eye for the unusual, he points his camera towards apparently insignificant corners revealing layers and connecting the dots. Salvo is not shy to mix colour and black and white and pushes himself to experiment with different media. Here we had a pleasant chat about his latest work Convergence.
When did you take on photography? Was this a career choice or an artistic urge?
It started as a hobby ages ago, in my teens. Back then I wasn’t sure it was really an artistic urge but rather the appeal of playing with that camera thing. Fast forward several years later, I realised there was more to it and began to spend more time looking at diverse genre of work, books, exhibitions etc. Finally, following the birth of our daughter, my wife and I decided to change a few things. It resulted in me leaving my office job and my obsession for photographic things became kind of a career, when not taking care of my daughter. Unsurprisingly this choice required a lot of adjustments, changes, compromises, understanding, patience, highs and lows.
By looking at your previous and most recent work, a sense of melancholy surfaces through silent landscapes, resting seaside structures and individuals who appear disengaged or isolated. Could we see a version of your own meditative self being revealed by your photographs?
I think your remark is quite right. I am not really that extrovert and loud and maybe tend to close myself too much. Hence those images may be seen as reflections of and on myself. Normally I take the picture and only later on I figure out if/why it works: something subconsciously triggers something else and later on, during the editing process I start seeing things as they come to the surface (or people point it out to me…).
You recently travelled to Japan and brought back “Convergence”, a collection of stunning black and white and colour images complemented by drawings and new experiments with manual printing processes. Are you venturing into a new artistic approach?
Many thanks for the kind words. Not sure if venturing is the right word but I’m exploring. As a kid I used to enjoy drawing (inspired by Japanese manga, that I loved and tried to copy, funny uh?) so recently I decided to go back to it, trying to do something different to divert my mind. Then an artist friend encouraged me to try different approaches, like mono-printing, so let’s see where this will take me; it’s still the beginning of the path.
We Europeans seem to be fascinated by Japan and its rich and exotic aesthetics. What challenges did you have to face in order to come up with your own version of such place? Did you focus on any particular aspect?
Probably the main challenge was to try and find my own way of documenting my experience. There is so much influential photography on Japan that is so difficult to steer away from it, even unconsciously. I decided that the photos would be my reaction to being in this new amazing different place, not just physically but also mentally. Whenever I’d see something I like, I’d take the photo, for myself and worry about making sense of the work later when hopefully things come together.
What would you envision to be the ideal platform to circulate your Japan work? Should we expect an exhibition or a book, or both?
On the immediate term, I’ll be showing an edit of this work as part of the Whiteknights Studio Trail (www.studiotrail.co.uk) in Reading 9th and 10th June. I will be showing some prints and a self-printed booklet. This is one path, but I want to see this as the first step to other different paths.
Salvo photographs as a way to document and appreciate what he sees and experiences