DELFINO SISTO LEGNANI
A bright and colorful space, in any case it seems an example of presentation, a point of view, the development of a process and a creative reasoning: this is the shelter of the versatile photographer Delfino Sisto Legnani. Thanks to his degree in architecture, his vision of photography is the philosophy and the time in which he can define a reference point for architecture and design. It is in fact an open dialogue of continuous exchange of places, spaces and objects together with a great enthusiasm to have been carried forward for the most renowned magazines such as Domus, to name one above all, but also curate art direction and campaigns for great international brands. Not only that, it has also established a non-profit space together where artists are forced to leave their comfort zone, to undertake new practices.
Let’s start from the beginning, who did you get close to photography?
I came across photography through architecture, where the theme of representation was certainly important. Speaking of projects: first you have to represent them, you have to draw them, make montages, take pictures of the locations. Work, however, with images. But the real watershed for me was the meeting with Ramak Fasella, an Iranian photographer who lived for 15 years in Italy, taking photographs for architecture and design magazines such as Domus and Abitare. I arrived at the studio almost casually, during a party. I was an assistant at the Politecnico di Milano for Giancarlo Floridi: from one day to the next I met Ramak and I realized that this passion for photography could be a real job. Ramak then left, he gave me a couple of jobs that went well, so I continued with what he had left here in Italy.
And from there, how was your journey?
It was all quite random: surely the goal was to emerge, to be able to express my point of view. This happened then in a really curious way: I started with Vogue Italia doing portraits during the events, which is a super technical work. But while the other photographers, those of the agencies, all positioned themselves to take these pictures, I moved slightly, I put a little to one side. My light, which was completely different, was very popular and from there they started calling me to do portraits. The portraits, however, do not amuse me very much, unless there is a particular person to photograph – and it is difficult – we say that it does not happen often.
Do you prefer objects…
Yes, or rather the project: telling and criticizing the project
Explain to me furthermore, what does “the project” mean to you?
From the city, therefore from a humanistic, social and political project to the design of a button or a handle, the scale varies greatly. Mine is a documentary-like-photography, it ranges from super tight detail to the wider urban view. A Project is everything.
Before you told me you have worked nearly 10 years with magazines.
Yes, I started with Domus who was an orphan of Ramak. In the meantime the director has become Joseph Grima who has remained for 3 or 4 years: it is in those years that I have matured, in the sense that before I did not have specific technical skills.
So you never really went to photography school?
Unfortunately not, even if I would’ve really liked it. I learnt on the field, books and online.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is a way to communicate reality.
Could we say that is a filter through which you look at things?
Yes. First of all, photography is a job for me. Of course, it is a passion, but it is also what gives me a living.
Are there any photographers or artists that you look at or have looked at, that represent a bit your of point of reference or have influenced your path?
Surely Ramak can consider him my master. He is the person who introduced me to photography. I like the whole Dusseldorf school. If I had to buy a photo, I would definitely buy their work. Becher, Gursky or Ruff. These are certainly the photographs I like.
Let’s talk about your method or a practice you adopt. What is the first thing that strikes you about a space?
The first thing I look at is definitely the light. I try to bend the light, the light conditions to what I have in mind and what I perceive. Then I try to summarize the lines of the project.
It seems maniacal, almost a form of fetishism …
I certainly have a fetish for details. From Carlo Scarpa onwards, I like very much all that is detail, the finishes, the intersection of plans, materials.
What is your relationship with Design?
I would’ve like to be a designer, I have a particular passion for forms, materials. I really like playing with materials.
Does it apply to fashion as well or temporariness makes it completely different?
It is different. Fashion is certainly instantaneous, something very linked to the contemporary. Even architecture for different reasons is. But working for fashion for me is often less interesting.
Seeing fashion projects, collections where there is an idea and a development that make them really interesting is very rare.
Are you also conducting your own personal artistic project?
I did several exhibitions. One in Rome at the Campo gallery.
I also have a studio, which I opened in 2015, where there is a non-profit exhibition space. MEGA is a place where authors are asked to express themselves in a way that is not consistent with their activity. For example, a photographer should not take photos, a painter should not paint. I like this idea of removing the artist from this comfort zone. It is edited by me, Davide Giannella, Giovanna Silva and Joel Valabrega.
You know that the theme of the project is talent. What do you think your talent is?
I’m not sure. I can cook pretty well and have a great relationship with dogs. At work it is probably the ability to be able to bring ideas, a different point of view to the customer despite this gives you very tight margins.
Could we say that Art Direction is another of your talents?
I don’t take more than half of the jobs that come out of my studio. In the sense that other people who follow my guidelines take them physically, but they put much of their creativity and vision. That’s the beauty of a studio. Starting with people who grew up with me, but who begin to take their own way and express themselves through their own language, which I like and appreciate. It is interesting to have different points of view. The next major project of this publishing house is linked to authors who have in a sense to do with the work of my studio. The next book I have been working on for two years is on Ramak. And then there will be an OVER architecture magazine, where we will also talk about fashion, society, etc., but with a very specific cut.
The next project is a publishing house, linked to authors who deal with the work of my studio. I’m also thinking of an agency that offers even more extensive services and I’ve been working on a Ramak book for two years. And then there will be an OVER architecture magazine, where we will also talk about fashion, society, etc., but with a very specific cut.