Reviews of  my books

Fotografie di Matrimoni

© Carlo Carletti 2013 – All Rights Reserved – Photo Book published by Marsilio Editori

I have this idea that photography is a complex, not very clear language. The idea reflects the constant renewal of the vocabulary of imagery, which is replenished and evolves with daily updates, from contemporary culture, visions and technology. Italo Zannier says that photography is not a technique. Itʼs an ideology. According to Brassai, photography should suggest and not insist or explain. And, lastly, the great Eugene Smith used to say: “Let truth be the prejudice.”
On these grounds, I naturally began to look at Carlo Carlettiʼs photographs with the prejudice that I have always had as regards the genre disciplines, convinced that they impose limits on creativity. Then I met the photographer, I listened to his words, his reasons. I sensed his capacity to convey an awareness and outline a different context from that which I had initially perceived for ceremonial photographs.
“Iʼve always felt” – says Carletti – “a strong attraction to the Barthesian themes of the spatial temporal double in photography. But this means the past is re-presented insofar as ʻit wasʼ, but always framed in the present. Photography doesnʼt recall something else, but in some indecipherable way is that very thing. This mystery of the present memory is undoubtedly what fascinates
me most in photography and photographs. The rest is in any case secondary: beautiful or ugly, the genre, models and styles.” On hearing these words, my prejudice was pushed to the background and these photographs reveal a way of looking that is capable of narrating. Of gathering scattered feelings. Of ordering emotions. Of restoring the sense of one and several stories, together with reflections on photography and its persistent memory.
In fact in Carlettiʼs thoughts and images the reference to Roland Barthesʼ concept of relique to explain photography as a symbol and sign of the inexorable dissolving action of time clearly emerges and is more comprehensible within his personal creative context. A wedding, the most exciting day, the event intensely dreamed of and longed for in the life of a couple, provides a typical illustration of this concept. On these premises, the photographer pursues the dreams and desires of the people portrayed so as to stage their feelings and sentiments in a unique narrative, which goes beyond simple documentation. The scenes in his photographs – consisting of gazes, poses and expressions – capture unrepeatable moments so that they will never be forgotten and they will always be kept in the only place possible, the place of images, in which the signs of time become indelible and enduring. In this sense Carlettiʼs photographs successfully express a memory, in a narrative sequence in which the photographer explores peopleʼs own desires to be represented.
The poetics of the photographic stage-setting thus open up to the concept of the “candid camera”: an approach – a combination of style and research – that explores the depths of the portrayed personsʼ feelings in order to translate their purest and innermost expressions. The self-awareness of the gaze behind the lens reveals the complicity of a shared action, involving the photographer and the protagonists in the scene, through an emotional process for which photography is the most spontaneous expressive means.
What attracts me most in Carlettiʼs photography is his awareness of vision: this makes him an artist in the world of photography and specifically in that of ceremonial photography.
His style is neither static nor standardised, but narrative and expressive, thanks to the aesthetics concealed in the naturalness of the poses and the spontaneous nature of the actions. Shot after shot, the sequences of Carlettiʼs images immortalise a present moment in the very act of becoming past. All of this provides the photographer with the indispensable inspiration for the construction of highly effective stage sets and compositional solutions, in which the people move easily and wish to leave immemorial traces of such a spellbinding moment.
At the end of his own thoughts on the subject, Carletti highlights the close relationship between reality and representation which in photography finds the space to generate new contexts and collective images, to the background of a carefully chosen memory and a vivid present:“If I did not reprogramme mentally this posthumous effect with the best imaginary result possible in the photographs that I take, I wouldnʼt care at all about photography itself.”
In Carlettiʼs words I rediscovered the poetics of images underlying all narratives, poetics based on the ambiguity and specificity of the photographic medium.
Ultimately, the key for understanding “the most marvellous invention” has always lain in interpreting reality. This has led to the multifaceted power of photographic language, which can portray an inner essence, a feeling and an emotion only through a self-conscious willingness to generate non-mirror images with which the subject of the vision can identify as the author – like the photographer – of the creative act. |

Introduction to the book “Carlo Carletti – Fotografie di Matrimoni” Ed. Marsilio

La luce chiusa

© Carlo Carletti 1998 – All Rights Reserved – Photo Book

“This collection of photographs of Siena, dedicated to her entrances, those wide portals where horse and carriage once stopped, inevitably recall the colors of Siena: black and white. They are the basic colors of human nature: hope and suffering, apertures of light leading to darkness and infinity. The light comes from above – skylights filter it down from the uppermost floors to the bottom of stairwells – the darkness has the color of the night, leaving in shadow sections of passageways, transitions from one floor to another…..”

Mario Verdone


© Carlo Carletti 2002 – All Rights Reserved – Photo Book

“When Guido Piovene came to Italy at the end of the 1950s, he was really astonished to see how much had already disappeared in the Maremma: the malarial rivers of the marshes populated by many untypical birds, the spectral appearing of cowboys, the wild herds held off by soft long-haired sheepdogs, which “often live, by contrast, where man is poor”.
Therefore, some of the most celebrated stereotypes of the Maremma were, already in those years, nothing more than a memory….”

Carlo Nepi

Vicini Paesaggi

© Carlo Carletti | Carlo Vigni 2001 – All Rights Reserved – Photo Book

Vicini Paesaggi is a collection of photos of an area in the southern part of the province of Siena, the Crete Senesi, moon-like landscapes of bare clay hills and small woods and shrubs, divided by deep cracks where flowering bushes spring up. The Crete Senesi change their aspect according to the wheat seasons: they are green in December, yellow in summer and in autumn the ploughing makes them grey. The intense unreal atmosphere of this moon landscape recalls an inner state, like a mirror it suggests the metaphysical and elusive element of what it physically reflects.

Terra Agra

© Carlo Carletti 2000 – All Rights Reserved – Photo Book

“There was once a time when the mere mention of the word “Maremma” conjured up the raw image of a harsh and inhospitable landscape: it was the Maremma of Salvatore Rosa who, at Monterufoli in the summer of  1650, painted his solitary “Democritus Meditating”. A real and inaccessible land which called for devotion and silent perseverance, capable of  producing a coarse range of feelings distilled into irrevocable passions: “… the difficult trials and the sweat / the hunts and the perilous windings …” Fierceness, simplicity.  …”

Alberto Olivetti