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max & douglas, special guests of #fotointerviste with Erika Gherardi

Return to the channel Twitch by Tech Princess #photo interview, the most loved appointment by photography enthusiasts. This week the two shooting artists, max&douglas, they talked about themselves starting from the beginning up to their current vision of photography. An unprecedented episode for #fotointerviste that has left space, words, visions and memories to two exceptional photographers who have been able to give a new light to portraits and proxemics of the gaze.

Max: “When I look in the mirror I see two people who love photography, two people who grew up with photography who are immersed in photography. Two people very happy with what they do “.

Douglas: “The journey has been long, not always easy, but the fact that I can wake up in the morning and do what I like for work is an infinite joy. It always makes me strange to look back at our path and to see the enthusiasm of the beginning, the evolution, the difficult moments, both individually and from a working point of view, is always a discovery “.

max & douglas, special guests of #fotointerviste

Max: “We went to photography school in Milan together, we met there, we accidentally started working as assistants in the same place, with two different photographers; we both worked with the same photographers who used the same technique, while doing different things for different magazines. This thing certainly marked us in terms of growth in the initial phase and as an interest in what we would have developed together “.

Douglas: “Both photographers we dated used brushstroke light on the Still Life; what we were interested in was reporting our work experience as assistants in the school studio. At the time we were interested in portraiture, so we tried to bring the brushstroke light back into our world. The factor that united us is the need to shoot with long shutter speeds and in two it was much faster; slowly we began to work on it, to experiment, and then we joined forces and found ourselves having a book in common which we then started to present to our customers “.

Max: “At the beginning I was very interested in the technical part of photography, I was very intrigued by how this box with the lens in front of it could then be communicated because photography is that, communicating something. I remember the moment when my parents gave me my first camera, bought after a lot of insistence, I was going to the mountains and I was taking pictures, and I thought: this is what I would like to become my job, and so it was. “.

Photography and brushstroke light

Douglas: “I remember that my mother, who liked to photograph, gave me this camera during a vacation; the impression of seeing the development and printing of the negative for the first time, inside this basin, the transposition in almost real time, fascinated me. I had the myth of these photographers who traveled the world, and I liked to travel and I couldn’t wait to do it too “.

Max: “Our work is very complex: when you work professionally, that is when you have to earn a salary with photos, you enter a very complex mechanism where there are many things at stake. Stress is very high, and as in all things, the opportunity to release stress to those around you is a great help. This cannot be separated from an artistic affinity which is fundamental to work after such a long time. Ours is a very self-centered profession, so the idea that when others see your photos and don’t understand who did it for a photographer can be annoying, but we never touched ”.

Douglas: “At the beginning our way of working was very long in time, there was not physically a click that could suggest if he or I had done it, we decided the shot together, where to position the subject, the light , and you looked and tried to figure out what was working or not working in that image. This immediately allowed us to understand that dialogue and mutual attention to details are an added value, you are mentally used to understanding that the image is not just made by a person. The beautiful photo is made up of many details, the right dress, the right make-up, so you have to rely on professionals and together you create the final result “.

What makes the difference is listening to the other person

max&douglas© max&douglas

Douglas: “Everyone has an approach, the thing that makes the difference is listening to the other person.”

Max: “It’s a bit like a wedding, especially after so many years: the fight is always around the corner, but in the realization of a job it is always constructive, the idea of ​​continuous confrontation has always been part of all our work , in the end the result we present satisfies both of us ”.

“We are known for very tight portraits on a neutral background, but in reality we reach our background and our greatest satisfaction in outdoor and set sets. Brushstroke light is difficult because you have to literally paint with light, the sine qua non is darkness. First you take the shot, fix everything, then switch off, open the camera and from that moment on with torches you start painting: as the film has a time, the sensors with the light impress themselves and thus reveal the images. When you are in a very large set, the difficulty is being able to illuminate everything uniformly, then you can give more light and less light to the things that are more or less important “.

Douglas: “The brushstroke light was fundamental for our research, because you really understand how light works, all the strength of an image is in the light, having experimented a lot with distances, inclination, direction, how to give it. , is a gym that allows you to understand that through light you can do what you want. Illuminating an object in one way or another carries with it different meanings. So being masters of a methodology that allows you to illuminate your subject as you see fit was the fundamental thing that allowed us to return to classic photography and find ourselves very well “.

max & douglas: the portrait is the testimony of that meeting

© max&douglas

Douglas: “I don’t think knowing the subject essentially counts for making a portrait, we think that for us the portrait is the testimony of that encounter”.

Max: “Often when you portray a person, if you know them well you are more conditioned, also because as we see it, the portrait is the photographer’s point of view; if you know her too well your work risks being spoiled by attitudes, she poses. It would be much easier for me to photograph strangers, which is why we did so many celebrities: we stayed in touch with some, but with most it was a flash experience.

Max: “We have worked a lot with magazines: when someone calls you and asks you to do a report on a character you have to take home 4, 5 good shots, and that in that report you have to make sure that there is movement. , from the first floor, to the setting, to the bust ”.

Douglas: “Basically with the portrait on a neutral background, the most difficult thing ever, the person comes out more, in a setting the story of that person comes out more, because in any case the things around us tell and tell us. Having worked so much in publishing, it happened that we found ourselves photographing a character in a hotel; if we had chosen a setting to describe that person, we would never have used the hotel. It’s a compromise: trying to build a story around that person and then reveal that person from our point of view. The choice of location becomes fundamental.

Black and white

Max: “We often use black and white because we are convinced that color in certain circumstances is misleading, a distraction. It is a way to soften colors and bring out the face in certain circumstances. It is certainly a choice that we make a priori, we do not decide it afterwards. If we decide that that thing will be black and white, we focus on that ”.

“One of the most negative experiences ever in the 22 years of working together was when we first photographed a footballer; maybe because we were a beginner and we weren’t sufficiently accredited, but we were treated with very little respect, it was bad because when there is no mutual respect it is difficult to bring home a good job. The atmosphere that is created is fundamental “.

Douglas: “One who has remained in our hearts is Alex Zanardi: it was wonderful, you immediately understand the humanity of the person in front of you, to the point of creating an instant relationship”.

max & douglas: celebrities and compromises

“The difficulty and the beauty of our work is finding ourselves in absurd situations and in any case trying every time to instantly know what is happening around you and have the mentality of obtaining images from them. We are a bit like two dreamers, every time they tell us about a service we start with our research, and then things become more difficult than we expect: it is the beauty of our work, we invent and renew ourselves “.

Max: “I remember that one of the most beautiful sets: the one in which we photographed Federica Pellegrini underwater, a beautiful experience because it was already conceptually stimulating, then the result was very satisfying. Even with world champion, also because humanly I think he is an interesting person “.

Douglas: “Lately I was thinking that it is a shame that I have not been able to photograph people who are no longer there, as family members, people who somehow we will not have the opportunity to meet”.