Oct 31, 2019
Mariano is an Italian architect and self-taught photographer who uses photography as a medium to make personal studies on topics that intrigue him. In his series "Japanscapes, a Polaroid experience", Mariano uses instant photography in order to explore the contrast between the urban chaos and the ancient traditions that permeates all life aspects in Japan. The result are incredible and pictorial images that perfectly reflect this contrast and make us eager to explore more about the mysteries of this country.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
MB - My name is Mariano Biazzi Alcantara, I’m an architect currently based in Italy. I studied architecture in Milan and now I live and work in a small northern town.
Besides my current profession, I dedicate my time to photography using it as a tool to make personal studies and projects mostly using analog cameras and film. This passion is so under my skin, that it may become my future profession.
am - How did you start in photography?
MB - Photography has always been with me since I was a child and I grew up as a self-taught photographer, but it was during my university studies that I started to delve into the subject and really understand the meanings of photography as a tool of artistic expression.
am - What is "Japanscapes" about?
MB - "Japanscapes" is more a narrative experience than a photographic project. It’s about a trip to Japan of course, my first trip to this beautiful and incredible country. During my childhood I lived many years in some Far East countries, but I had never been in Japan, so when I had the opportunity to travel some years ago, I wanted it to be more than an image collection, my aim was to represent the surprise of what I discovered place.
am - What were you most interested in capturing with these images and why did you choose Polaroid as the medium for it?
MB - Up until project my photographs were always minimal, I depicted urban spaces and contemporary architecture without the presence of human figures. But in Japan I knew this was almost impossible, so my interest was on experiencing the contrast between the urban chaos and the absolute presence of traditional culture that I came across during the stay. I found this strong contamination between modern and traditional elements very fascinating.
The choice of Polaroid cameras and films seemed to me the perfect medium to give both spontaneity and a pictorial touch to the images.
Also at that time, Polaroid was dismissing and closing the production of integral films, it seemed to me the last chance to use some Polaroid 669 peel apart film, so I conceived this work by composing it especially with image transfers and titled it ''Japanscapes, a polaroid experience''.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
MB - My favourite, and those who inspire me the most, are Luigi Ghirri, for the poetics he managed to give to his shots, Gabriele Basilico for the accuracy of his compositions and Mario Giacomelli for the strong emotional component of his projects. Also the Dusserldorf school photographers, as well as William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and Hiroshi Sugimoto are in my list of favourites. Currently I am following Alec Soth's works with great attention.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
MB - I can say ‘’Paris, Texsas’’, and all Wim Wenders' filmography.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
MB - For sure is Hiroshi Sugimoto’s ‘’Theaters’’.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
All images © Mariano Biazzi Alcantara