Naked City: maybe this name will remind you the photographer Arthur H. Fellig, known as Weegee. His monograph “Naked City” (1945) became one of the most important sociological studies of New York. That’s why his title is strictly connected to this city. But here an other connection is needed. “Naked City” is also the title of the album (2014) by YahSupreme.
The collaboration between a sensible – or sensitive -Italian photographer Simone Settimo, and a New Yorker urban poet Yah Supreme, physically in the form of a newspaper, gave birth to a visual reminiscence: an impression of a perpetual movement. In the very meaning of movement there are means of transformation, but it is properly the transformation that is the resilient, ever-green connotation of New York. There are places that change over time, but they constantly present the before and after.
“Looking to Mr. Settimo’s portraits of 21st-century New York city you might presume that these stark and provocative images were captured in the 1970s. Recorded in a long-ago New York you think you remember. But these photos are always now.” -YahSupreme
The city is characterized by speediness, variety, noise, music, chattering and silence. Its constant and perpetual movement is already part of our collective consciousness as an iconic heritage. This mystery of perpetual transformations that reproduce themself in New York could be crystalized in people’s faces. New York City has always been about faces. The only thing you need is a mindful eye. If that, then you can get the atemporality of the story.
“While no one was paying attention – New York City stayed exactly the same. The same as it ever was. But the static nature of the Big Apple had to be seen with fresh eyes”. -YahSupreme
There might be changes in the facades of the buildings; locals might complain the steel towers that supplanted the stories of family shops. But there is something close to resiliency present all around.
The girl calling someone to spend the night with, escaping from the loneliness that the city might create. People laying at the park, dreaming about the future. Men coming back home, to their families or to their vices. People running, running away from or towards something.
Among those people, you could be there. Those people could always have been there.
Settimo’s photography is not documenting the reality, in a time or space; it offers a sight of this human landscape. Avoiding any kind of analysis, it leaves space for emotions, mostly for empathy.
As Michele Drascek felt, here “the Reality is a Becoming”. Becoming, understood as change, movement, perennial birth and dying of things in the city. This collection of images took the form of a book: “Will you remember me?..” (self published, 2016) available in international bookshops (Micamera, tipi bookshop, Cafe Lehmitz photobooks, Libreria Pangea).
Browsing it you will be lead away from reality, into Simone Settimo’s eyes.
– For the Newspaper version contact directly Simone Settimo at firstname.lastname@example.org –@positive_mag on twitter for the last updates