“My First Dream steps into contemporary culture’s intrinsic tendency to stage experiences (happiness, conflict, life) and adopts its language to represent an imaginary exploration of another planet”. Combining photography, sculpture and DIY, Diego Brambilla creates the basis for you to imagine the exploration of another planet.
Using landscapes like frozen lakes in Switzerland, or sand deserts in Oman, he makes you feel like in Mars or Pluto, following the story of an astronaut walking in isolation. This unknown character seems minuscule in these vast scenarios of rock, sand and caves, where Brambilla blurs their ends, making unclear the line between truth and fiction.
We are really used to the fictional vision of new planets, thanks to years of movies, but we don’t really know much about it. As Diego says, “I want to give people the elements to build their own story”, inviting you to be the second guest of this creation, accompanying our spacial friend in his meaningful journey through the solar system, through the unknown.
Where did you create ‘My First Dream’ and how did you find that landscape from Mars?
Studying and seeking, using Google Earth or drawing from my memory the places I have visited. I always started from a quite precise vision, then I tried to find the right place. Not always I was successful, it happened that I had to modify my idea and adapt myself and sometimes the best output came from fortunate mistakes.
What did you want to tell with this project?
My First Dream is a project that stands on the boundary between forge and original, real and fake. I deliberately intended to trick the viewer using a cinematographic language, dragging the viewer in an uncanny and obscure place, hiding the horizon or carefully choosing the frames. It is only later, when he or she realizes what they see cannot be possible, that it becomes clear that the photography is staged.
Except for a few astronauts on the Moon and some pictures from space probes we don’t have any experience about other planets. But we all have a quite strong idea about how they should look. We are so deeply influenced by more than 50 years of popular movies that we can barely differentiate in our mind what comes from real documents and what is a representation. My aim was rising in general some questions about this process and engage the viewer with a series of impossible picture that are, for a moment, experienced as original.
You insist on the fact that you are talking about contemporary culture in your projects, why do you want to show your vision of it in your art? What aspects of this culture do you want to speak about and why?
I don’t see photography as something detached and separated from society and contemporary culture. In my opinion everything is connected. How we act, how we eat, how we think, are deeply influenced by what surrounds us. My aim was to raise some questions about that. Show how a cultural creation can be so strong and powerful.
The main idea behind my project is to create a picture that is not real, but almost real, making ambiguity the most important aspect of the work. Shooting movie stills like photography suggests something that is incomplete or unfinished. The series balances between a possible reality and the iconic influence of popular movies. I have created an obscure and unfamiliar place, often hiding the horizon or pushing further the conditions of the picture in order to heighten the sense of isolation and loneliness.
Your style is clearly cinematographic, but could you find three other different words to describe it? Why do you think is the best style to tell your stories?
Staging, anxiety, loneliness.
I decided to use a cinematographic language because is deeply connected with the staging attitude of our culture. Happiness, conflicts, emotions, dystopic realities are continuously represented. Often it happens that staging becomes more important than reality. My project stands there, where the non-correspondence between reality and mise-en-scène becomes meaningless and when the narrative disconnects itself from the reality and becomes a new story.
You are not only a photographer but an artist that work with sculpture as well, have you ever combine both fields or think about it? How?
So far, I considered sculpture as part of my process, with the precise intent to be photographed. Though I am more and more attracted by sculpture, maybe at some point the two disciplines could exist on their own.
How do you create -talking about inspiration process, gear and post processing- your photography?
Inspiration is a part of the process. You need it. But there is also another aspect, which is studying, thinking, reading. For me they are bended indissolubly. Often I start from a vision, an intuition, I follow it and I see where it goes. Often it happens that I repeat this process multiple times, with different ideas. It’s a selecting process. When I find something interesting, I try to develop it.
Gear is part of the process, you have to carefully choose yours. But not be slave of that. Consider that sometimes you can produce something remarkable with basic gear. Once said that, gear is research, a never ending process, it’s important to experiment about it.
Post-processing is important in my process, but with the time, I try to use it only if strictly necessary, and I try to ration it as salt is used in food, too much it’s terrible, a slight quantity can produce amazing results.
Which would you say is the key to success in photography? Any tips?
Hard question. I try to remember that art is mostly about failure. Fail and try again. Sometimes the most interesting things come from failures. While failing we find something that is worth working on it. So never, never, never give up. Be open to question your work. Don’t overthink, sometimes let get out an idea out of your mind and let it get concrete can help you to find the right path.