Ground Floor, a reportage by Massimo Nicolaci

Photos by Massimo Nicolaci

Massimo Nicolaci, nato nel 1989 si diploma presso l’Istituto Tecnico Industriale di Caltagirone. collabora con Camera Oscura (Roma) e Obiettivo Granieri. Attualmente vive tra Roma e Caltagirone.


I do not know why, but the main reason was that I was attracted by the Termini Station in Rome.
When I first arrived in Rome, in September 2008, I knew about this huge multi-storey rail station, with shops, bars, restaurants; so I started wondering around the station, also because I was forced to use public transports; and also because when I realized how big the city was and how easy it would have been to get lost, I decided to lock me down in the station and to photograph Termini. So maybe this was the real reason, I was scared.

Be inside four walls, like a second home. After few days, I was hanging around at Termini Station almost all the time, day by day. As the time went by, I realized what was to be in there, a total chaos: people running, trains coming in and out, I did not know where to find a quite place to observe all this. Till one day I finally understood where I was. At that moment I have began taking my pictures.

I was always wandering around on the ground floor from whom I named the project. I was not attracted by the others. I shoot many pictures, some stolen from people who were in a hurry, but I noticed, that in all this running, there were people standing still. They were there everyday, none of them was running. Each one of them had his own corner on the ground. One day I decided to talk with one of them. At the start many were not very confident in speaking with me or just did not want to talk.

After a while I met Massimiliano, who generously start talking with me, telling me about his life and the experience he was living in Termini. After some time I saw that he really wanted to talk and speak up his mind, so I decided to bring with me a tape-recorder in order to record these talks. I alternate photography and audio recording, and this did not prevent me from keep wondering inside the station, on the contrary I was more and more stimulated.
I was always trying to meet new people and photo- audio record them, but it was not always possible; after some time I managed to have a small group of friends whit whom I hung out or just met for a chat.

But the station was always running, continuously changing. Indeed after 4 or 5 months, I noticed some changes, maybe due to new railways, new trains, I do not know. But I do saw the station get empty. There was the same chaos, but no one standing still anymore, the spots on the ground were empty, and as the time was passing by I felt more and more the presence of the security forces, like they were about to clean up the place. And so it was.
Often I could not find my ‘friends’ because they had been forced to leave, chased way.
I kept going to station but it did not felt the same way. I had the feeling of being watched, like it was not my place. Thereby I saw big empty spaces, doors closed, and a great silence.

(c) Massimo Nicolaci / GROUND FLOOR / Roma Termini Station from massimo on Vimeo.

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