Focus on: Delfino Sisto Legnani for 2016 – On New Italian Photography

Delfino Sisto Legnani brings his experience as an editorial and commercial photographer into his personal research. This is primarily visible in the style of his images, in which the most typical traits of the professional practice – i.e. lighting and staging – constitute an inevitable reference scheme.

In the case of Beautiful Waste, the work presented in 2016 – On New Italian Photography, the process of de-contextualization is made even more explicit by the presence of scraps of the same materials which Sisto Legnani uses in the construction of the scenarios of his commercial shootings. The series is entirely dedicated to these objects, which are returned full dignity, while at the same time it remarks the mystifying nature of photography (photography = reconstruction = theatre) and the liquidity of its genres and uses.


F: What was your first approach to photography?
DSL: I first encountered photography in an informal way as a child, playing with disposable underwater cameras: so cool! However, my first conscious approach coincided with a meeting with Ramak Fazel, to whom I owe a lot, on a human level too. He is a master.

F: Who or what had an influence on what you do?
DSL: Cities, places, materials and people: The Powers of Ten, Charles and Ray Eames, 1977.


F: What stories do you like to tell?
DSL: Changes. My main interest is to recount mutations on various scales: from the transformation of materials to vast geopolitical vicissitudes. I always try to include changes of scale in my works, even abrupt ones (from landscapes to macro/still-life images). Out of these transformations, the photographic medium is capable of recording a specific instant, which I like to think of as a fixed element in aesthetic terms, whereas the interpretation of the viewer changes continuously.

F: What is the best photobook you have seen so far?
DSL: Looking back: Eisen und Stahl and Die Welt Ist Schön by Albert Renger-Patzsch (1931 and 1928 respectively) or 122 Color Photographs by Keld Helmer-Petersen (1920). More recently, also almost all of the publications by SPBH (Self Publish Be Happy), Humboldt Books, Études and Mack. More generally, every time I go to Micamera Bookstore I fall in love with some books of their outstanding selection.

F: What is the best exhibition you have seen recently?
DSL: Nathalie Du Pasquier at the Kunsthalle in Vienna.


F: And the record you like the most?
DSL: I don’t have a favorite record; or better to say: I have too many! I love putting together very different things. Perhaps my playlists are the answer to this question.

F: What are your future projects?
DSL: My goal is to unveil many of my personal works and researches, which I never had the courage to show. I am currently collaborating with Louis De Belle on an editorial project I trust in very much. In the meantime, I continue to take care of Mega with Giovanna Silva and Davide Giannella and to grow my studio with Marco Cappelletti.

All images © Delfino Sisto Legnani

Delfino Sisto Legnani, born in Milan in 1985, lives and works in Milan. After graduating in Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano, he became a member of the Association of Italian Journalists and began to work as a photographer for major international newspapers and independent magazines, such as Abitare, Apartamento, Disegno, Domus, Elle Decor, ICON, Living, L’officiel, Mousse Magazine, Rivista Studio, The New York Times, Vogue. Alternating reportage, architectural and still-life photography, his work has been awarded several prizes and displayed in museums and institutions including the V&A in London and La Triennale di Milano, as well as numerous galleries and exhibition spaces such as the Milanese Pomo Gallery (2014), Il Crepaccio (2014), and the MIA Art Fair (2011). In 2012 and 2014, he took part in the 13th and 14th Architecture Biennale of Venice and was awarded with a special mention.

Davide Giannella, Giovanna Silva and Delfino Sisto Legnani’s project space Mega in Milan