I really love how Ruggieri photographs animal eyeballs. Is that weird? His photos are bright and full of color and humor and he takes himself and his art quite seriously.
Where do you live? What's it like being a photographer in your community?
I live in Macerata, small town in the center of Italy (lately in the world news papers for this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/02/09/an-italian-neo-fascist-shot-6-migrants-how-does-this-play-into-the-upcoming-elections/?utm_term=.9984e6684cb9
I’m a photographer here. In terms of subjects, we don’t have many things going on here usually, but the city is nice and we have mountains and the seaside at hand. In terms of job opportunities, I don’t know as I’m not trying to get a stable income from photography at the moment. I did a few paid jobs but to make it as a career I guess I’d have to move to bigger cities or see what jobs I could get with my approach…or make my approach marketable for the kind of assignments I’d find around there….maybe even boring assignments, but as I said I’m just guessing.
In terms of creative community the situation here it’s pretty boring. People are pretty closed minded even in “progressive” environment. At the moment I prefer it to bigger towns often crowded with people showing off. Here I can concentrate. All in all I don’t complain. I do my thing, no turning back. I’d say most of the things I need to do art are inside my head.
Where do you travel and what can you NOT live without on the road?
I used to travel more until 3 years ago. Then I came back to my hometown and pretty much haven’t moved in the last three years. I didn’t need to and have been very busy here. I used to move a lot in my twenties. I did international programs with university, living in UK and Spain; then I came back in my hometown. I’m going to start moving around more now as I’m going to do some gigs with my band. I just started a Phd for which I’ll need to do research in different Italian cities.
There was a period I wouldn’t be on the road without a camera, it’s bit different now…but I still trying to have it on me. I don’t feel much pressure of documenting at the moment. In general on the road, I’d check if I have wallet, keys and camera. What I feel the need of when on the road it’s mostly what you miss when traveling, like having your own space, so after I’m on the road for a while I kind of crave a room or a space that feels like my space, to feel silence.
If you had to guess, how many pictures do you think you've taken total in your entire life?
Six thousand million.
You have some really interesting pictures of animals. What is your relationship to the animal kingdom?
Mmmm, I’m pretty cold with animals. I’m not too much into pets, dogs etc., I probably wouldn’t be good at taking care of them, always thinking about my own things, etc. I quite like cats for their independence but this doesn’t lead me to have one! I had a few in the past.
How do you "know" when to take a picture? Is it a gut feeling? Is it always obvious? How do you discern?
Either you are in the mood for taking pictures so you stage it or you look for it in reality…or you are doing other things and you find a picture without looking for it. Yes there is a gut feeling when taking a picture. There was a period in my life I used to take many pictures everyday and every night so it wasn’t always a gut feeling tied to a specific moment but also it was a habit - a way to approach reality, looking for detail constantly and sometimes having a gut feeling about a pic after you have taken it.
There is a second gut feeling about the selection of images after you take pictures too. Like a connection. Sometimes it’s obvious and fast like a sparkle and you realize that it’s a strong photo you have taken; sometimes you rediscover a photo you took years ago and you realize that was a good picture only after a long time. It has to have a certain feeling. Your perception changes together with your feeling, so what you select is different from time to time but still it’s mostly a sparkle gut feeling.
Who or what is your favorite subject matter generally?
I don’t have a favorite subject. I think I’m shifting from a moment in which I used to shoot more real life diary things to trying to organize a shoots and mix staging and improvisation.
Are you going to stick to photography for ever and ever? Are you interested in other forms of expression?
I used to paint a lot until 2009. And I’ve got an album with my music out few weeks ago. I’m curating graphics and videos for my music. I’m interested in moving into mixing these forms.
Do you play any sports, collect anything or have any hobbies?
At the moment I don’t do sport though I did some in the past… I’m not very committed. I tend to move quite a bit in my life with my job and I stretch when I have time. I used to collect phone cards when i was 12 years old and I’ve been collecting wool I find in my belly button for a while now.
It is difficult to discern hobbies from other things. My time it’s divided between my main activities which are my day job managing a charity shop and changing/enhancing it’s fundraising system for which I just started a PHD. My art/photography, my music…. I take them all quite seriously so I’d say they are more than just hobbies. I’m trying to combine all of these things in my life.
Images courtesy of ALESSANDRO RUGGIERI
words ASHLEY MUNNS
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