/28 Leisure Time

Massimo Vitali

Landscape with Figures

Massimo Vitali's large-scale color images apply a topographical clarity and wealth of detail to the rites and rituals of modern leisure. With this volume, he enlarges the scope of his survey and includes beaches and discos from around the world, plus a couple of ski resorts and swimming pools thrown in for good fun. Simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar, his images are of places we've been and people we've played with--but as if seen from outside the body, from an unearthly vantage point. Some combination of Vitali's experience working in film and the 12-to-15-foot platform that he shoots from shifts his still images from documentary realism towards the surreal. Combining the minute detail of view-camera photography with a fascination for the fickle world of appearances, Vitali's aesthetic and subject matter can be compared with the work of the Becher school--but with Vitali, figure and environment cohabit the space of the image, thus lessening the need for a metaphysical reading.