Enrico Fantoni

Presented at SLIDELUCK Buenos Aires I and Amsterdam IV

Enrico Fantoni is a photojournalist living in Buenos Aires. Originally from Italy, Fantoni regularly contributes text and photos to Vanity Fair, Wired, Rolling Stone, and Grazia. His reports have covered everything from blind orchestras to lithium mines to butchers, but it was his submission to SLIDELUCK Buenos Aires I that caught our eye. Watch his clever series of street photos, “La rebelión de las cosas,” above. Then read our interview with Fantoni below, where you’ll learn more about his series and even pick up a traditional Italian recipe for Melanzane alla Parmigiana. Delizioso!

Slideluck: Firstly, what did you think of the Slideluck event?
​Enrico Fantoni: I was there with my daughter and my girlfriend, plus some friends. I liked it very much. It was very stimulating to be amongst so many photographers and people (of course photographers are people too), sharing your work with others, discussing, and eating some very fine food. I also think that the crowd in general was not the usual crowd at these kinds of events, which usually end up being “by photographers, for photographers,” if you know what I mean. The atmosphere was relaxed, probably thanks to the beer (another nice idea, too bad they quickly ran out – too many attendees, I guess)

SL: What inspired you to start the “La rebelión de las cosas” series?
​EF: Just the usual wanderings that any street photographer performs, I guess. You start to see a pattern, or sometime the absence of one; ugliness turning into poetry, like chewing gum sticking to the sole of your shoe. And my bicycle – I guess I owe a lot to the habit of cycling​.

SL: Is the title a reference to something?
EF: ​Yes, it’s an idea that I started to conceive after seeing some of the first images. There was a subtle anxiety, a crack in the surface of the meaning of some of the pictures–so to speak–that seemed to unite them. So I started to pursue that crack, that little deviation from the usual meaning of things. And at the end–actually not the end, since La Rebelión is a work in progress–it occurred to me that those were signs of a hidden revolution, a humble uprising performed by the things that surround us that are normally supposed to stay there, unconscious and stable, trustable.

SL: Your work captures moments of rebellion and little challenges taking place mostly in the city. Is there something about cities that makes them better places for these little desafíos?
EF: Yes, definitely.​ It all happens in the city, for me, for my photography. I like the countryside but it doesn’t quite strike my visual senses in the same way. It’s much more mild. There is less contrast in the countryside. More harmony maybe.

SL: Your eye clearly finds these small rebellions that most of us probably wouldn’t notice. How did you find or look for the subjects of your photos?
EF: ​I just watch, I look around. It helps that I take my camera with me everywhere, even when I go to the supermarket.

SL: Several of these photos made us smile. Do you get that response often? Why do you think that is?
EF: ​Yes, I’ve noticed it too. I don’t know, I guess some of the pictures are kind of funny – in a familiar way, perhaps. They are just little dramas, you don’t have to worry too much about them. So you tend to let a smile cross your face.They are kind of surreal, too. ​

SL: Does the music for your slideshow have any particular significance for you?
​EF: Yes, the composer, Axel Krygier, is a friend of mine, he’s a very talented musician and also one of the first person I met in Argentina. (I’m originally from Italy, I’ve just been living in Buenos Aires for 15 years.) I think the music is quite enigmatic, timeless and placeless. But also sexy, in a special way. ​

SL: Are you working on any new projects?
EF: ​I’m currently doing portraits of people in Buenos Aires with their bicycles. It’s not really a project, I consider it more like a hobby/project. It’s called BiciBA. I started it a year and a half ago and now have more than 450 portraits. Besides that I’m also managing an art space in Buenos Aires together with two other artists, a gallery called Meta! where we feature art shows. ​

SL: I see on your website that you also do food photography. Do you like to cook too? What is your favorite thing to make? (If you have a recipe to share that would be great, otherwise just a little description.)
EF: ​Yes, I like a lot to cook but I don’t consider myself a virtuoso. I tend to cook the things that are popular in my family, Tuscan food mainly.

A recipe… I like risotto very much, and pasta of course. But I would go for melanzane alla parmigiana. You peel the eggplants (try to use the little ones, not too big), slice them and put them in a colander with salt for half an hour; wash them and dry them with some paper. Flour them and fry in olive oil; reserve. Prepare a tomato sauce: sauté onion in olive oil, then add cubed tomato (canned, but Italian if possibl), salt, pepper, and peperoncini, and reserve. Then toss some butter in the base of an ovenproof baking dish and start to build your dish like a lasagna: a layer of eggplant, then tomato sauce, some mozzarella, some basil, and a sprinkle of Parmesan; then repeat until the top, and crown it with more mozzarella and grated cheese. Put it into the oven on medium heat for some 15/20 minutes. You might want to put it under the grill for a further 3 minutes to brown the surface. Let it rest – actually it’s much better to eat it the day after… And enjoy!

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