“When I was a child I was enthralled by professionals who could create wonderful things using their bare hands. My father, now retired, was an artisan himself, so my fascination, curiosity and respect for craftspeople has been with me from a very young age,” Hasselblad Ambassador Daniele Barraco says.Peppino the shepherd, Camera:Hasselblad H5D-50c, Lens:HC 2,8/80MM | © Daniele Barraco
The inspiration behind this project was a response to seeing his heritage – Italy’s famous “made in Italy” reputation – fading as craft jobs become increasingly rare due to so-called “progress”. The individuals captured for Artire are presented as heroes of a bygone age, as Barraco explains: “Those portrayed are practically living legends who are disappearing from our culture. I feel we are entering a time when we need to look to our past in order to be projected into a new, inspiring future. If people viewing these images take nothing else away from them, it is this message of reflection and hope that I want to resonate with them.”Antonio the barber, Camera:Hasselblad H5D-50c, Lens:HC 2,8/80MM | © Daniele Barraco
A far cry from photographing celebrities such as Adriana Lima, Christopher Walken and Iggy Pop for his clients, this largely personal project took Barraco on journey of discovery, in search of subjects who hailed from far more humble backgrounds. Describing how he decided on who to include in Artire, Barraco said: “I focused primarily on traditional craft jobs first, deciding which ones to feature, with assistance from a local historian. Then, with the help of some friends who share my passion for traditional jobs, I began to search for authentic characters who could convey a sense of integrity and authority within their respective fields. I was fortunate to find artisans who were full of life and passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience; meeting them was the unexpected gift of this journey.”Rosa the housewife, Camera:Hasselblad H5D-50c, Lens:HC 2,8/80MM | © Daniele Barraco
Barraco used the Hasselblad H5D-50c to photograph his subjects, paired with the HC 3,5/50mm II and his favorite headshot portrait lens, the HC 2,8/80mm. With the shots taking place in a wide variety of locations, a number of lights were used to provide a greater amount of control over the exposures, which helped to give the project a consistent look and feel. But Barraco credits the camera’s impressive dynamic range with the fantastically rich quality of the finished prints that will soon form an exhibition in the very same city that it was set in, Martina Franca, Southern Italy.Michele the ceramist, Camera:Hasselblad H5D-50c, Lens: HC 3,5/50MM II| © Daniele Barraco
“For me camera choice was pretty obvious. I used a lot of lights, but not in all of the pictures. Light and the ability to capture a wide dynamic range are key elements in creating that ‘iconic’ look. For example: I used a single flash with the Shepherd, Peppino, to balance out the sunlight glowing behind him. Photographing Antonio Barber in his shop, I used two lights, one globe with a skirt down from the ceiling and a gelled beauty dish outside. We had three lights for my portrait of the photographer Benvenuto outdoors; one main soft light (camera right), a rim light on the left and a gelled beauty dish to mimic the effect of sun rays in the distance.”Benvenuto the photographer, Camera:Hasselblad H5D-50c, Lens:HC 2,8/80MM | © Daniele Barraco
Capturing iconic portraits was a critical part of this project’s story for Barraco, “my goal was to “elevate these characters and light has the magic do this,” he explains. “Sculpting light is one of the best weapons we have as photographers. A subtle change in lighting can tell an entirely different story.”
Artire – Artisan Masters will be exhibited in a new photography space called Digimedia Production in the city of Martina Franca, Southern Italy, until the end of February 2017. The new innovative space will function as a creative hub, incorporating a studio, fine art gallery, printing lab, education facilities and a promotion/press agency; serving as a reference point for the entire Mediterranean area. Daniele Barraco’s project was formed in collaboration with Digimedia, who played a crucial role in scouting, production and creating the final large format prints.