Poeta e Critico d’Arte ROMA
Paolo Romani’s unique works are completely outside a normal frame of reference. He uses the lens, the negative, the print as the others use fingertips, brushes, chisels; as Burri used sacks and burns, Fontana blades and canvas, Duchamp the toilet and bicycle handlebars and so on, exemplifying the infinite linguistic “media” of artistic creation.
Scrittrice e critica cinematografica ROMA
I am very pleased to present the photographs of Paolo Romani, as I find them very beautiful, very strange, very unusual. At a time when the perfection of the technical means allows everyone, potentially, to became a photographer, Romani has rediscovered the craft of photography, a technique, a desire for research which transform his photographs into so many unique pieces, personal images which cannot be repeated. His research begins with the shooting of photograph, but it is completed in the darkroom, where with great ability he works on the negative and elaborates the print, obtaining very unusual results which tie his photographs to painting, at very least in the uniqueness of the result of each image; with taste, with culture, and with the courage to reconnect photography with its great rival, painting, from which it was detached, little by little, a century and a half ago.
Pinacoteca Comunale JESI
“He sculpts with a sing in shadow and in light: “it might be Paolo Romani, photo artist, engraving in color. (It was said of Henry Moore: At the borders of light he “softened the stone).” Romani operates, within the impalpable photo-optical language, in the research of new techniques. Research plus technique, to the point of exasperation; masking the contents of the usual territory of photography, dipping into poetic atmosphere, transfigurations of the real, which is always color. Jesi is there, in his collection: a return to the roots, a revisitation in the key of visual artist; fashion is there, with a signature; portraits and still life; Florence, Venice, are there, fascinating, universal; dance is there, form-movement, hypothesis of another human condition. Paolo Romani thus lives in the present, drawing with photographic means his own physical- spatial territory in our culture, which he traverses with a so- called language of images; but these origins, in the real and concrete of concrete of the present, which he calls forth with his models, are an essay of history and technique of photography: camera, procedure, invention. Personality, in the furrow of history. The discoveries of Niepce had to do with printing. Daguerre: the culture of miniature portrait of ivory. Fox Talbot, drawing (Nature draws by itself, without the hand of man ). Technique seems to exclude poetry, but Romani reaches a level of refinement in which the two aspects coexist. There are photographic artists who assume technique as pure instrument, for the “recording “ of a not entirely casual realty, to be rendered in terms of negative- positive-density of contrast-rapidity, to be fixed and transcribed as forms and rhythms (almost music) almost the research for a different space, with the anxiety of a different cultural dignity to be applied, you might say, to a hidden facet of the artist process. It is clear that the “beauty of technique “does not come from chance, from same darkroom alchemy, chasing arabesques of free flights of fancy: the technique of production of the image, of photographic handwritings, requires a different reading: there is a model for the research. It might be the refusal of photographic types, of “court” culture: landscape and portrait, nude and silhouette, the group photograph –all prime material of a clearly pictorial matrix. Or perhaps micro or macro photography which are recognized handwritings; truly photographic transcriptions, good for a critical analytic reading –that is, with no caption in words: and yet, for their different contexts, a difference significance of type. From the production of a portrait to the photography of a landscape (in the typical iconology of the postcard landscape), or to lay out an urban vista like Walker Evans, to analyze architecture such as monuments (utility-age –certainty of eternity); to read from a bird’s –eye view terrestrial space, urban space, anthropized space, life, to be investigated: in the end the problem of photographic work is the analysis of the materials, the problem of photographic handwriting, specifically: how to go about it? And why that way? The preceding photographic exhibition in Jesi, with L. Formigoni, proposed to some extent a return to the origins of the historic techniques, almost a documentation, rediscovery, of photographic handwritings, the fashions and the culture of their encoding. With Paolo Romani we can write the title of “Latest Chapter” of his history, the most recent, bathed in present and future in photography. Thus, between the search for the old and research for the new, with A.C. Quintavalle, an answer emerges to the questions, What is handwriting? What is photography? To photograph is not to construct a beautiful image: it is work, it is attention to one’s own moment of work: it is, in synthesis, attention to the work process which leads to the image “which qualifies. We might affirm that for Paolo Romani this work belongs to the materiality of handwriting in the labyrinth of form-color, it is invention and verification; it is research of means (of the medium), investigation, of the evolution of a precise, personalized, secret technique. Romani comes to Jesi whit an anthology of “beautiful” photographs, to be read with a sense of complexity of the research under- taken, and of the technical solutions proposed: beautiful images, fascinating in a labyrinth (context) of techniques of darkroom manipulation. Some will say that they are not be withheld, sealed in a case for the enjoyment of the few in a group, in a club: the written images are many to live a life in the world in order to show, being shown themselves . The Exhibition in San Florian follows the ostensible form of the labyrinth, the geometric realization of the design- projection, as in a map, of the dome overhead, of the architectonic sings which enrich , in form – volume – color, ideals of art of a luxurious age: to follow, with a cadenced step, the journey from one photograph to the next, in a succession of themes, it is worth accepting the suggestion of the architect who planned the layout, when the visitor wishes to pause, “from inside the camera” inside the photographer’s work , inside the process of the mysterious ritual, inside the technological magic treated by the hand of an artist experimenter creator. To enter, and to linger inside to open the lens, the magical threshold for capturing external light- form. To complete the voyage in the dark, to open it, to be fixed on film which – at this point maybe for you and maybe for every- one – would offer a fixed form, of the shape of the forms called to pose. Paolo Romani at this point requires, photographic handwriting, with the document- sign of his own cultural – experimental territory, with the proven system of image- languages unique for technique and creative expression. Intervention of the Master: a question of emulsions, of indices of refraction of the gelatine, of retouching, of fixer – bath – solution… Who knows what magic? The secret of an image being born, it is photography but in the coincidence of optical phenomena and physical – chemical phenomena the image of light, the external model captured on the “field” is transformed in elaborated material, treated, recreated in the laboratory. It is fixed. An air of clear poetry is developed, the photograph is art: in Romani’s hands it refuses the role of mere documentation, it dresses up in original visual solutions; it takes on its own life, in perfect clarity, in pleasing visual coherence. You, the visitor to the labyrinth- show, might have taken the measure of such artistic force, expressed in the series of “handwritings” generated from material, manipulation. The photographer artist stopped at that point in which the results by now were evident (or of certain intuition). The artist, for that mysterious phenomenon of the human spirit, “sees” internally the images of his own language and these he delivers, with joy and surprise. All of the arts are equally language: all, intuition – expression. And technique, of a master hand. Labyrinth, and the relevant “clarity “. Art.
Presidente di Palazzo Grassi VENEZIA
Few cities have been painted, photographed, filmed, described, dreamt, sung as Venice.
Few cities accompany the traveller with their own image, to follow him in memory, as does Venice.
A memory which clearly cannot be substituted for the reality of a city whose true substance is more elusive and often more surprising than we believe. It is told that a nabob, returning to his distant Orient, in explaining to his courtiers how he had not found the City, understood the he had in fact found it, but that it was so splendid and different that he had not recognized it as a city.
And he wept, because he understood that as he had seen the greatest of marvels, so had lost it…
An image stayed on his mind and, in time, he became convinced that he had dreamed it.
With this fantasy, recounted by a great writer, we propose the entirely literary doubt:
That the imitation takes the place of the realty; that, in short, rather than Venice we know her image, or a pictorial dream, or a romantic shot. To feed the dream, we offer these images, realized with an unusual technique by Paolo Romani.
Images that are photographic, but which are composed of pictorial memories, a vision of Venice which for its very ambiguity stimulates regret and the desire to go beyond the effects of the mirage to penetrate the fleeting reality.
Istituto Europeo di Design ROMA / Responsabile Scientifico e Culturale
He is an artist characterized by a strong personality and knowledge with deep roots in the field of painting. Romani is a photographer who stands out from all other colleagues: his photographs are very original, for the particular use of printing techniques and for chromatic effects that is able to obtain.
His photos look like paintings which is fun to paint with a careful and delicate work in the darkroom. Writing with light in the dark room… it seems a paradox, but Paolo he knows all the secrets of color printing and loves to discover extraordinary alchemy to make his images are always different.
He is an artisan of the color, able to govern and enhance it up to invent new visual dimensions. The works that Paolo realize in the darkroom are always unique because the prints, even of the same negative, always have different colors and styles. In the digital era of consumerism and iconic finds the magic, and the value of the uniqueness of daguerreotypes. The phase of shooting is only the moment of departure for a journey that will find its fulfillment in fantasy darkroom. Romani as a photographer, in the time of shooting, use simple cameras and does not follow special precautions . Each print comes only reporting the negative impact on color photographic paper, is printed by hand and without electronic media of any kind. Paolo has a great passion and inexhaustible creativity. He is a craftsman filtering, carves the color emulsions paper, create very special effects that relate to painting his pictures. I asked him what inspired famous photographers, he quoted me William Turner, Giovanni Boldini, Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec… what are the great masters of painting! The photos of Paolo, in fact, have strong references to the Impressionist painters, are jobs that have character. The curriculum copious evidence of the thickness and the results achieved after almost thirty years of his career, a photographer who has always lived in Rome and only recently moved to Castelbellino, in the province of Ancona. It is not easy to summarize the achievements of Paolo, a process that began almost forty with the early research on the effects of color and new printing techniques. He has published for Ferrari, for the publisher Arpel Graphics (Santa Barbara, California), the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, AZ- Alitalia Group , the art book dedicated to the sculptor Umberto Mastroianni, with a preface by M. Calvesi) to catalog Japanese Imperial Press Agency Stock Photos , repeatedly with the publishing EDITOR Arnoldo Mondadori. He has collaborated with agencies : The Stock Market in New York City and the Agency Franca Speranza of Milan. He has exhibited in many exhibitions including: SICOF 85 in Milan, Cambridge Trust Bank (Massachusetts), Doyle Dane Bernbach in New York, MUSEO DEL FOLCLORE of Rome," “Il DIAFRAMMA of Via Brera Milan“ "IL SAGGIATORE of Via Margutta in Rome, And at the HYPE GALLERY "in Arles France.
Galleria "Il Diaframma" Kodak Cultura MILANO
Paolo Romani, selecting from the real world the occasions for his pictorial elaborations, refined through years of research on filtration, emulsions, the refraction of the gelatine, obtains impressionistic results of great effectiveness.
Director Submitted Ideas Easteman Kodak Company Rochester NEW YORK
We have now had an opportunity to review your photographs with the appropriate Kodak organizations’. Everyone agrees that these prints are of a most interesting nature.
Department of Photographs The Paul Getty Museum LOS ANGELES
The images are very accomplished and beautiful examples of colour printing.they do indeed call to mind the work of the American Pictorialists.
Fondazione Italiana per la Fotografia / Direttore Esecutivo TORINO
The images reveal a remarkable ability to resumption and an approach to the portrait of evocative intensity. The refined technique that it renders the images not only unique, but also strongly pertaining to matter, they find a pictorial approach to photography proposing a mix between the two kind of arts is not accidental, than on the contrary subtends the control of both medium. Interesting are also the” most creative” shots that push the invention and the composition technique to the extreme limit.
Critica d’Arte ROMA
In realtà come per un dipinto, ogni foto è un pezzo unico. E "tratta" il soggetto come un pittore che "gioca con la sua immagine ora deformandola con l’anamorfosi ora immergendola varie atmosfere così da far venire fuori l’altro che solo lui è riuscito a scoprire e di cui ci rende partecipi con l’opera finita".
Director Center For Creative Photography TUCSON (Arizona)
Your approach to photography in order to make it appear as a painting is fascinating and innovative.