“To me, the biggest inspiration of all is boredom,” states photographer Piero Percoco. Growing up in small towns between Sannicandro di Bari in Italy and Venezuela, Piero has trained his eye to discern the presence of the spectacular in the shapes, colours, configurations and moments that make up the fabric of ordinary life. He tells us: “I am attracted to certain scenarios and energies that make taking pictures a visceral experience.” His colour-soaked, brightly lit and dramatically framed photographs bring a touch of hyperreality – even unreality – to everyday scenes, and effect an intense sensorial impact on the viewer.
For Piero, taking photographs is about conveying his own “visceral” delight in his quotidian perceptions. A self-taught photographer, he says: “I started photographing about seven years ago, for fun, with a smartphone. I have never been able to afford photography schools, so I based my learning on photo books.” Other than that, his artistic response to his immediate environment is based on an instinct for seizing on singular moments concealed within the commonplace. Speaking of his approach, he remarks: “I would certainly describe it as a practice or style that derives from my impulsive nature and I believe in turn that impulsiveness is seen in my pictures.”
Having published his first book, Prism Interiors, in collaboration with photographer and publisher Jason Fulford and Skinnerboox last year to great success, Piero has recently produced his second book, also with Skinnerboox – The Rainbow is Underestimated. This second publication, titled after the name of his popular Instagram account, is intended to present a more comprehensive and unmediated flux of images that communicate the way in which Piero visually encounters the world, people and situations presented to him in his daily life.
Of the concept behind the publication, Piero says: “Since I started in the photography world, I’ve always thought I wanted to collect my pictures in a volume, in something that contained them. My very first handmade work was, in fact, a pack of salt, with some postcards inside that I made while at sea over a period of three summers in Puglia. The content of The Rainbow is Underestimated represents me completely.”
Much like his Instagram account, which offers a sequence of seemingly unconnected optic observations that, when viewed in succession, achieve a kind of resonance with one another, The Rainbow is Underestimated delivers an undisrupted series of photographed instances that fall together in a strange pattern of cross-references and visual associations. The sag of skin that has lost its elasticity finds an analogue in the plunging crevasse between two craggy rock faces; figures in different shots mimic each other’s poses; and rounded, sun-blushed bald heads attain a resemblance with overripe orange fruit.
Working solely with digital photographic processes, Piero has an aptitude for framing scenes, objects and people in a way that draws out the unlikely alignments and weird glitches which disrupt our experience of the everyday. His visual dexterity when it comes to unveiling the drama of daily life perhaps has its source in the fact that, as he states, “I have been a very big cinephile since childhood. Films that influenced me at a very young age were Predator, Total Recall, Big Trouble in Little China. Currently, I am a big fan of Yorgos Latimos and Xavier Dolan.”
The Rainbow is Underestimated is a window on Piero’s perception of things. “I call it an object rather than a book,” he says. “It is a very thick flow of images of life in my territory over the last six years. The cover of the book is an iridescent lamina that changes depending on the light reflected on to it, like a kind of portal to a different world – in this case, my universe, my reality.” Viewing Piero’s pictures, we are invited to see through the eyes of a photographer who, inspired by his own boredom, is simply trying to make the world a little more entertaining.