Stefano Rosselli

I was born in Livorno and spent my childhood in Piombino, a small industrial city by the sea, in the middle of the Tuscan coast. Growing up in a place where joking and making fun of ourselves was a way of life – and probably the best way to stay busy and out of trouble – definitely helped me develop an eye for the tragicomic side of human behavior. When I was 20, I started working with various humor magazines as a cartoonist of political satire and lifestyle. In 1989, at the age of 24, I moved to Milan to find a job in advertising. I worked as a creative and a creative director in several international agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Leagas Delaney, where I had the chance to collaborate with great photographers (Peter Lindbergh, Gian Paolo Barbieri to name a couple) and filmmakers, such as Zach Snyder, Luke Scott and many more. This experience helped me understand the incredible power of visual synthesis: it’s possible to tell entire stories in a single frame. I can’t always do it, but this is the goal of every photo I take. Working in advertising required me to create and talk about aspirational worlds where everybody can be beautiful and lead a perfect life—a world that doesn’t exist. I felt the need to counterbalance my job with personal photography that showed people in a more realistic way, stripped of stereotypes. And, in the spirit of my childhood, I tried to discover the unintentionally hilarious side of their behavior. I’m very attracted to and fascinated by human nature, especially when it reveals its inconsistencies and paradoxes. Though I hold serious photography in the highest esteem, I prefer adopting an ironic tone in my work, as I believe we should all learn not to take ourselves too seriously. We have to be able to laugh at our mistakes and at our wonderful imperfections. As the great photographer Elliott Erwitt said “You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy.” I do.

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