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Work / Photography

Photographer Giacomo Fortunato hops aboard a heavy metal cruise ship

Every winter photographer Giacomo Fortunato takes on a personal project to “stay sane during the long frost we have in New York City,” this year saw him indulge in one of his personal passions. “I’ve always wanted to do something with heavy metal as it’s been an integral part of my upbringing, but in New York the metal scene is pretty limited,” says Giacomo. After some research the photographer tracked down 70,000 Tons of Metal, the largest metal cruise ship there is. 

“This year 70,000 Tons travelled from Florida to Jamaica with 60 metal bands and 3,000 fans from all over the world for five days,” explains Giacomo. “I attended the cruise as a spectator and a photographer. It seemed like a funny juxtaposition of 3,000 people wearing black in the Caribbean sun listening to what some might consider the least relaxing music ever.” 

Giacomo’s images are animated and raucous with complete anarchy framing each image. The classic crowd shots are interspersed with drunken posing and wild antics, as well as a few shots of swishing long locks and heavy beards. “We drank, we sang, we partied in jacuzzis until 5am, watching bands perform on the pool deck of the ship. Bands played from 10am to sunrise the next day, every day. There was very little time to fuel up with food or rest,” he says. 

It’s the crowds that are the focus in the series, but initially Giacomo set out to photograph the bands. “I shot a band or two but I ended up being far more intrigued by the fans, because their reaction to the music was just as energetic. Trying to encapsulate this unsurpassable energy through images is as tough as it is thrilling.” 

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back

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Giacomo Fortunato: To Hell and Back