Frontstage – Portraits on stage –
120 unpublished, and never seen before pictures of memorable concerts.
by Massimo Rana
AC-AC-DC | Photo © Massimo Rana
Years ago I read these words in an article by Michele Smargiassi, journalist and writer who deals with photography and visual culture: “ Photography is mute, music is blind: but what a show, what fireworks when these two different arts meet ! ”
It seems impossible to us, but many years ago the faces of musicians were completely unknown, except for the few who could see them perform live on stage.
We, born in the 60s, are used to seeing covers, photos in music magazines and posters that we have hung in our teenagers rooms … In those images, which were the background to our daily life, this meeting was celebrated, in those images we found the marriage between music and photography.
How do you photograph music?
I have been a concert photographer for many years. I experienced crazy, surprising and magical moments from under the stage: “You find yourself shooting while immersed in the sound wave that envelops you like incense. In front of you, you find the artist holding their guitar, drenched in sweat… or with a microphone in their fingers, or with red and swollen cheeks blowing into a saxophone…”
Your photo pass says “Three songs. No flash!”
And this is the directive to follow, the time you have to do your best.
This was been my life for many years. Until, bitterly, I had to start working in other fields. I had a family to care for…
Years passed and my photographs, the ones that hung in my living room, the ones I was trying to escape from, wanted to talk to me. They had been there for nearly twenty years. All those images did not want to be forgotten. They wanted to live…
When I came up with the idea of going back to my archive, the first step was to put the stripes of negative rolls in order. What an opportunity to review all the film material ? It was such a surprise! There were a lot of photos I didn’t even remember I took; some shots had never been printed even as “proofs” because I did not consider them “suitable”.
The pictures you’ll find in the book are, of course, only a small part of my black and white film archive. They have been scanned only recently and are almost entirely unpublished because newspapers and magazines mainly required color pictures.
In the images I chose to propose in “FRONTSTAGE – Portraits on stage” different styles are brought together. There’s a mixture of genres, characters, gestures, subjects and visual events that, without photography, would have no meaning nor memory.
And then there are the eyes of the artists on stage…which only the photographer meets and reaches so closely.
Thanks for collaborating in the edition of this book :
Paolo Bertazzoni, Fausto Pirito, Lucia Marchiò and Eddi Berni, music journalists.
Omar Pedrini (Timoria) and Flavio Ferri (Delta V), musicians and music producers.
Federico Scarioni, writer.