Introduction

How does the look of a blind person look like? Can the blind show joy, happiness, disappointment, pain, suffering, pity, regret, with the only use of their eyes? The absence of sight can mean also the absence of complicity behind the camera’s lens?

We always use the term blind to characterise a person, such as blond, fat, poor, rich.

And maybe, in some way, that’s the truth. It doesn’t matter if it happens in Africa, Asia, or the old Europe. The fact is, they cannot see the light, the colours, the daily scenes, how awful or gorgeous they can be. The blind are a contrast. It is easier to ignore them, their handicap is hidden, but they do have it. 

It’s not necessary to turn the face to something or someone else, they won’t see it.

They seem ‘normal’, but they’re not. They have their own world, the same and another than ours, made of different feelings, different images, different colours. And darkness.

The multimedia Blanco has won a few prizes, including an Honorary Mention Anthropographia Award for Human Rights, Professional Best Global Health Multimedia (2011)and the 2nd Prize at the World Press Photo Multimedia Contest (2011).

Interview

We asked some questions about the multimedia Blanco, to Stefano De Luigi (SDL) photographer, and Annalisa D’Angelo (AD), multimedia director and producer. 

Blanco was originally conceived as book? Why did you decide to translate that into a multimedia and what opportunities or advantages multimedia offer?

SDL: Long time has past since the creation of the multimedia project “Blanco”, but despite the time spent, Blanco remains very contemporary. The idea of having a body of images taken in analogic and turn them into a multimedia, came to me from an experience I had few years before. I had already dealt with the same process, with another work before Blanco. “Cinema Mundi” is a project about the “cinema world”  that I had to transform  into a short movie because I was invited by the film festival of Locarno to “summarise” my project and concentrate it into a short film. It has been screened during the festival.

At that time (2007) I worked with a film editor, I worked with her, I should say in the classic way, as a director does with his editor; then other people were involved for the production of an original soundtrack and graphics. In the end  having followed all those processes and worked in team, it was so clear to me that a photographic work could be transformed into “a living matter” as a new visual project.

After two years, the growth of the Internet was so impressive that I also thought about the potential “audience” which Blanco would take advantage if it was spread through the net. An audience much broader than the specialised public of exhibitions or book buyers. 

Blanco is born out of these experiences and considerations. I had the chance to meet Annalisa and Ippolito with whom I immediately had a deep sharing of vision and purpose.

Blanco goes beyond the simple documentary work; this work makes also some psychological considerations, and I would say, has almost a philosophical view. This was certainly the key point. 

To go beyond the simple document, and not to stay only on a factual level, to feel free, to be able to evoke a human condition of being blind, it means also that people who can see are blind, somehow. So I think that’s why Blanco still arouses interest 5 years after its release.

Can you describe the editing process? 

AD: Stefano was very generous with us, he gave us total trust. We first met and spoke about the work in general, then about the idea of ‘whiteness’ and about the book Blindness by José Saramago, followed by the homonymous movie by Fernando Mereilles. Ippolito and I refreshed our memories by reading the book and watching the movie with different eyes. This first meeting was of fundamental importance for the editing process and for the later phases of the work. I had in mind what Stefano wanted, what he described to us. 

After this first meeting, he gave me a large amount of images to choose from, leaving me complete freedom. 

The sequence was made thinking of a world that slowly goes blind, where people are lonely, they appear and disappear into whiteness. But our idea was also that all people can be blind, including the ones who are not, just by not being able to see through things. 

How important is the intervention of a multimedia editor?

AD: Ippolito Simion – the multimedia editor – and I worked very much together, we discussed about the images I chose, and about the sequence, we changed and moved things together. He decided the 3D movement etc, but we always discussed the whole process together. He is a very creative mind, so it was great working together. We also worked together with Sara Taigher and Valerio Arcioni on the motion design.

How and why did you choose that sound/music? 

AD: For the music we knew we wanted an original soundtrack to go with the multimedia, so we contacted a composer, Simonluca Laitempergher. We showed him the first sequence, then the actual multimedia. Ippolito had used a sound as base for the video, but Simonluca reviewed the whole thing completely, though he kept the “dling” sound which for us was fundamental. It was a perfect collaboration, I think. 

What program was used to create the multimedia? 

AD: More than one program was used, one of them was After Effects.

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Stefano De Luigi | BLANCO

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