[April 25 2014]
These sites have a history and have defined lives and have generated pseudo realities — each is a location for a film. Everything human is built on stories. Filmmakers portray them. Giasco Bertoli spent days walking through the boroughs of New York City looking for and photographing film locations, each one from a movie he remembered, each one from scenes he found vital to the stories they told. Such locations, first scouted by site hunters, are isolated environments, which, in a sense, have been beatified for living memory — which is what makes these pictures so compelling: they suggest so much more than what they reveal. Significantly, the selected films also defined an era and have inhabited minds (mine among them) as alternative experiences. The ghosts of those films haunt these pictures. Recall the saying, “feeling like being in a movie,” which has become a pseudo sentiment. Movie theatres (before downloading) were the modern world’s cathedrals. Their darkened rooms were ordained for alternative experiences.
In related fashion, one part of Giasco Bertoli’s “life in pictures” has been spent photographing special places, such as his evocative litany of tennis courts — a game that was made famous in America in the early documentary films on the lives of actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, who played the game and were among the first to inscribe minds with the separate reality of the Hollywood celebrity. Another side of him focuses on portraits of people, some without clothes, and those more naked than nude. His style evolved during a time when photography began its drift from the high-definition commercial shot toward a softer-focused reminiscence of everyday of life and its lifestyles. Which made him a regular contributor to the Purple magazines, now Purple Fashion, where I’ve been an editor for 20 years. A typical Giasco Bertoli picture is subtly skewed against the ideal. He does that by shifting his viewfinder a hair’s width off the pure, frontal stasis of objective identity. He always does that. Which imbues his pictures with life rather than simply incarnating a subject’s formal stature. These works pierce like x-rays the complex heart of memory and experience, both actual and made up. Text Jeff Rian and photo Annabel Fernandes