derive (Photography)

derive

By Mattia Sangiorgi

From Jakob von Gunten, by Robert Walser (trans. Christopher Middleton, NYRB):

If I were rich, I wouldn’t travel around the world. To be sure, that would not be so bad. But I can see nothing wildly exciting about getting a fugitive acquaintance with foreign places. In general I would decline to educate myself, as they say, any further. I would be attracted by deep things and by the soul, rather than by distances and things far off. It would fascinate me to investigate what is near at hand. And I wouldn’t buy anything, either. I would make no acquisitions. Elegant clothes, fine underwear, a top hat, modest gold cufflinks, long patent leather shoes, that would be about all, and with these things I would start out. No house, no garden, no servant, yes, a servant, I would engage a good, dignified Kraus. And then I could begin. Then I would walk out into the swirling mist on the street. Winter with its melancholy cold would match my gold coins excellently. I would carry the banknotes in a simple briefcase. I would walk about on foot, just as usual, with the consciously secret intention of not letting people notice very much how regally rich I am. Perhaps, too, it would be snowing. All the same to me, on the contrary, that would suit me fine. Soft snowfall among the evening glow of streetlamps. It would be glittering, fascinating. It would never occur to me to take a cab. Only people who are in a hurry or want to put on noble airs do that. But I wouldn’t want to put on noble airs, and I would be in no hurry whatever. Thoughts would occur to me as I strolled along.


Mattia Sangiorgi (1975–) lives in Ravenna, Italy. He studied Photography at the Academy of Fine Art of Ravenna and at IUAV University in Venice, where he met Guido Guidi and started to collaborate with him. He is currently interested in ordinary anthropized landscapes. You can see more of his work on his website.

Sangiorgi photographed derive in Ravenna. The series is available as a book from Osservatorio Fotografico at this link.