In a loose reportage style, photographer Brian Finke has captured the art of pasta making in five different cities in Italy for gourmet food magazine Saveur. From small, family-run businesses where pasta is made in the streets to large scale, factory production, the contrasts in the series are both delicious and fascinating.
“The assignment was to shoot in five cities, some multiple locations, in as many days, so my quick, real documentary style of shooting the food and aspects of production fit perfectly,” explains Brian. “Each day was like five or six hours of shooting, followed by three or four hours of driving to the next city. I was always moving and shooting – it was a whirlwind road trip starting in the south of Italy in the city of Bari, zig zagging across the country to finish in the north in Predazzo.”
Brian has captured a real sense of atmosphere and the personality of places the Italian staple is made, as well as the diverse methods used. “I feel like my style brings the viewer to the places in a real and relatable way,” says Brian. “It’s to capture subtle moments when photographing food, to photograph people engaging with the food, eating, drinking, making it, capturing moments that bring it to life.”
The contrasts in the series are what makes it so mesmerising, with the freehand style of the street pasta makers creating small batches of orecchiette, to the workers in the factory measuring individual conchiglie by the millimetre to make sure they’re perfect. The more abstract pasta shots add another, more graphic layer to the series not only highlighting the volume of pasta created by the bigger producers but also the unlikely beauty of the wheat-based product.
“Photography for me is very much about the experience of being out in the world, seeing and learning. Assignments provide this opportunity. I go into situations knowing very little, being a bit naive,” says Brian of his experiences during the project. “I think that works perfectly and is part of the process, to arrive somewhere totally new and through curiosity to discover and photograph and for that excitement for discovering to come through in the photographs and story telling. With this assignment I was psyched to go to Italy and meet these amazing people doing what they love to do.”
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