Roberto Battistini : Always in art !
Roberto Battistini is an artist photographer with a degree in cinema and a diploma from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris. He trained in the mixed technique of film exposure and developing, known as the Zone System, developed by Fred Archer and the mythical Ansel Adams. He also experimented extensively with silver printing techniques in the laboratory.
Attracted by human nature, he quickly opted for the art of portraits , and his work was published in numerous French and foreign press magazines. But, very attracted by the world of contemporary art, he quickly devoted himself to the portraits of major contemporary artists, a work which gave an opportunity for various exhibitions.
In 1987, he opened his own studio and started advertising photography while continuing to collaborate with many news magazines.
Since 2016, he has been developing four-handed artistic collaborations. This project entitled “Gainsbourg Still Alive” is a tribute to the artist. The multi-form works that emerge from this stylistic exercise are the result of a dialogue between portraits of Gainsbourg made by the photographer in 1985 and various artists and offer reinterpretations sometimes surprising. Since then, the exhibition has been traveling and regularly welcomes new creators and new works.
It is moreover on the occasion of his new exhibition “GAINSB’ART L’HOMME À LA TÊTE DE L’ART” from December 9 to 24, 2021 at the David Pluskwa Gallery in Marseille, that the photographer has agreed to play the game of our questionnaire.
Instagram : roberto.battistini.studio
What was your first photographic breakthrough?
Roberto Battistini : I was very young, about 11 years old. Confronted with a disabling disease, my older brother Sebastien introduced me to photography. Thanks to him, I discovered the alchemy of the laboratory.
The man of images who inspires you ?
Roberto Battistini : There are many. At the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, I discovered the portraits of Auguste Sanders, Irving Penn, Nadar, Yousuf Karsh, but also the fabulous work of the Farm Security Administration directed by Roy Stryker who was commissioned by the Roosevelt government to make an assessment of America in the Dark Ages of 1929-1939 with the famous portraits of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, and Russell Lee.
The image you would have liked to make?
Roberto Battistini : The one of Neil ARMSTRONG taking the first step on the Moon on July 21, 1969.
The one that moved you the most?
Roberto Battistini : William Eugene Smith: “MINAMATA-TOMOKO AND MOTHER” about the effect of Minamata disease (Mercury intoxication in utero).
And the one that made you angry?
Roberto Battistini : The same one.
A key image in your personal pantheon?
Roberto Battistini : The portrait of Serge GAINSBOURG as Salvador DALI.
The quality necessary to be a good photographer?
Roberto Battistini : To doubt at every moment of his way of looking look at the World.
The secret of the perfect image, if it exists ?
Roberto Battistini : Emotion, framing and light.
The person you would like to photograph ?
Roberto Battistini : Jesus Christ.
An essential photo book?
Roberto Battistini : Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes.
The camera of your beginnings?
Roberto Battistini : A Leica M3 equipped with a 35 mm summicron f2.
The one you use today?
Roberto Battistini : An Hasselblad.
Your favorite drug?
Roberto Battistini : Sport.
The best way to disconnect for you?
Roberto Battistini : High mountain skiing.
Your greatest quality?
Roberto Battistini : Sociability.
An image to illustrate a new banknote?
Roberto Battistini : Serge Gainsbourg as Dali.
The job you would not have liked to do?
Roberto Battistini : All except the one I chose.
Your biggest extravagance as a photographer?
Roberto Battistini : To think that my work is essential.
The values you want to share through your images?
Roberto Battistini : Humor sometimes, sincerity often, freedom always!
The city, the country or the culture that you dream to discover ?
Roberto Battistini : Where man has never set foot … But after Sebastian Salgado’s Genesis it becomes difficult.
The place you never get tired of?
Roberto Battistini : My little sheepfold in Cannetu in Corsica in the Nebbiu.
Your biggest regret?
Roberto Battistini : Not to have learned to play a musical instrument… But maybe it’s not too late yet!
Instagram, Tik Tok or snapchat?
Roberto Battistini : Instagram.
Color or B&W?
Roberto Battistini : Both for different reasons.
Daylight or artificial light?
Roberto Battistini : Daylight fascinates me and I like taming artificial light.
What do you think is the most photogenic city?
Roberto Battistini : New York.
If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Roberto Battistini : Yes, I would ask him to pose for me…
The image that represents for you the current state of the world?
Roberto Battistini : World Press 2021 “The first Embrace” by Danish photographer Mads Nissen.
What is missing in today’s world?
Roberto Battistini : Humility in front of the observation that we make every day of the state of our planet.