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Giovanni Lipari – The Death of Youth Project

September 29, 2011

Giovanni Lipari has shot an archive of photographs featuring women (usually in sunglasses) in various states of undress for his “The Death of Youth project”.  In a bid to fulfill his youthful fantasies before turning thirty years old he has prolifically shot what will eventually be 100 women, but apart from the obvious attraction to a project of this nature we wanted find out a little more about the man behind Death of Youth and his quest for fulfillment.

Name, age, location, website?

Giovanni Lipari, 30, USA, www.deathofyouth.com

What is your photographic background? Did you study?

While I was growing up my family owned a photo studio that largely focused on mass-production photos. For this reason, the studio did not directly influence my artistic passion for photography, but it did, however, provide me with access to film and cameras at a very young age. On the other hand, my formal education in photography was limited to one class in secondary school and another in University.

What did your first photographic work look like?

Because I worked many events for my family’s business, my first photographic productions were predominantly commercial.  Due to the studio’s tendency to produce commercial photos, there was not anything particularly interesting nor very artistic about my first work.  However, I did gain a lot of confidence with working with film.

How do you go about sourcing the women you shoot?

To find the women for “Death of Youth,” I primarily used casting websites and referrals from other models with whom I had previously worked. Additionally, I included previous lovers and current friends among the women in the series.

Do you have a screening process for the women you work with and is there a particular look you go for? Could you describe this if so?

In “Death of Youth” I sought to portray a varied group of women. For this series, I was particularly interested in seeking
out women with distinct characteristics and looks. In general, I found that I enjoyed photographing the women who were truly comfortable with their bodies.

You mentioned that James Bond, Hugh Hefner, Terry Richardson and Helmut Newton had an impact on you from a young age, but what elements of this bunch had the impact?

The men that I mentioned as having an impact on my youth all portray a certain illusion of machismo. As young men, we are told that the way that these playboys act is “cool”and we aspire to be them. Yet, in my opinion, this archetype has been fabricated to sell ideas, products and a playboy lifestyle. By emulating this same lifestyle in this series, I have
demonstrated how easily this image can be manufactured.  Art is a practice of creation and destruction, but often times,
there is dissociation between the two. If we only take part in the creation of a body of work, but find no fulfilment from that practice, then something human takes place. In other words, part of the realization of this series, for me, came from deconstructing this image that had long influenced me as a young man.

Do you have any advice or techniques for a man to approach a girl regarding a potential nude shoot or to put her at ease during the process?

I cannot really offer much advice to a man trying to shoot a nude woman. I can, however, say that a photographer should
not approach a woman for such a shoot unless she seems particularly inclined to participate in the process, i.e. she has responded to an advertisement or something along those lines. If a man does photograph a woman in the nude, I have found that, despite what may be a commonly held belief, women who participate in these shoots are usually comfortable with the process. Additionally, the women obviously don’t respond well to being hit on during a nude photo shoot, but I think this is probably common sense to anyone who works professionally.

you tell us about your choice of using of analogue cameras?

I explain my choice of camera in greater detail in my artist’s statement. But, in general, I felt the need to say goodbye to film as a medium. This series, both through its central fantasy and its artistic medium, helped to conclude a part of my life: my youth. I don’t believe I will use film in any future projects.

When you are not shooting for your TDOF project what form does work take and do you have any examples or links for us?

no

You have stated that many of your peers criticized the work you have produced, as the project has continued has the response from your peers changed or have your peers changed? 

No, generally the response has remained the same from certain peers.

 

From one perspective  there is a certain bias within the collection. Have you experimented with shooting men? Is this avenue of fantasy fulfilment unappealing?

Quite honestly, I am not attracted to men in the same way as I am to women. For this reason, personally the project would not have had the same function had it included men. However, my next project will consist predominantly of men.

If you could re-live your youth what advice would you give your self?

I have no regrets from my youth and I’ve lived a very full life. I’m not sure what advice I would give myself. (Maybe I would tell myself to not be disillusioned by idealistic fantasies)

What is your grand plan for your ever growing collection? Will there be a final outcome?

I would like to see “Death of Youth” in print form. Upon creating this project, I originally imagined it in book form. In addition, I would like to set up a series of exhibitions in cities around the country, so people have the opportunity to enjoy these images as much as I have.

What is next for The Death of Youth Project?

In my 30th year, I have photographed almost all of the 100 women for the “Death of Youth” series. I am hoping conclude the series in a large group shoot right after my 31st birthday. After that, the “Death of Youth” is over.

Interviewed by Tommy Sussex

If you want to see  Giovanni Liparis The Death of Youth Project you can take a look here thedeathofyouth.com

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