/28 Leisure Time

Greg Miller

Primo Amore

Primo Amore is an exploration of love and desire against an Italian backdrop. People exist in my pictures suspended, as if in amber, while their relationships bud, blossom and end, as fleeting as the warm summer evening light.

A first love (primo amore) is beautiful, magical, mythical even, but not everlasting. It isn’t always the right kind, the best choice, but will always be the first. In one image, a couple sits in front of a gelateria. The woman bears the jealous grip of her boyfriend like in a hostage standoff. First love can be complicated and perilous. Or it can be joyfully simple: a nonna playing foosball with her granddaughter. Desire, of course, evolves, but we try to recapture the intensity of first love, its innocence, its full and fretful feeling.

This series started when my wife and I, recently engaged, took our first trip to Italy together to meet her extended family. We returned to Italy several times and my pictures began to include
strangers as well as friends and family in Milan, Rome and Calabria. As young lovers ourselves, it seemed that everyone was falling in love, longing for it, remembering it, conjuring it. We created many of these photographs together. She would strike up conversations in Italian and translate my directions to my subjects, a loving gesture of its own. We drove the narrow streets of Rome and other towns listening to love songs by Italian pop artists, stopping at a piazza to photograph a group of teenagers before they dispersed on their motorini to go home for lunch, in other words, writing our own love songs.