The Maxxi, National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome, hosted, from February 15, 2020 to March 5, 2021, “The People I like”, the photographic exhibition of the master Giovanni Gastel.
The exhibition ended a few days before one of the greatest and most appreciated Italian photographers, known above all in the international fashion scene, dead.
Giovanni Gastel was and will always be a witness to the most intimate and introspective expression of photography.
His greatness lies precisely in the ability to establish a deep relationship with his subjects and to transmit in his photographs the empathic bond that binds the photographer to them.
This allows Gastel to create sincere and authentic portraits with a strong expressive charge.
“I like comes from the shot, from the moment of seduction that must occur between a subject and the photographer for a photograph to dig a little deeper than the image”
“The People I like” is a gallery of over 200 portraits mostly in black and white and large, 130 × 90. Shots that portray characters from entertainment, music, fashion, sports, politics and culture.
On the walls, poems and literary verses, loved by Gastel, embellish the exhibition and gather around the artist’s emotional sphere.
The exhibition tells about “The people who left me something in the relationship we had on the set, who taught me, touched my soul …”
Giovanni Gastel has stated several times that one of the most interesting characters to photograph was Obama. “A moment of great emotion”.
A very elegant, beautiful, highly educated man, as the artist himself defined him, and from whom he managed to get a laugh.
It was an honor and a privilege for Gastel to know that Obama, in this joyful shot, reviewed the history of the black people.
“I try desperately to get out of the pose to enter the portrait which is a profound analysis of being. The people who let me in, let me see something, are the ones I prefer to photograph”
Giovanni Gastel’s portraits go beyond the exteriority of a subject, its beauty, which Gastel finds in the defect, defining beauty, especially the feminine one, “a sum of defects and imperfections.”
He penetrates the gaze of the people photographed, scrutinizes their souls, capturing their personality and more interior aspects.
Portrait photography makes eternal the meeting between souls.
“I’m not a mirror, I’m a filter.
I always tell my subjects: it is you who enter inside me, you go through what I am, my pains, my joys, my culture and you come out in the form of interpretation, which has a relationship with what I have seen inside you”.