Interview by GIULIA BERSANI — Photos by LVDOVICO MAGNO
Lvdovico Magno is a French photographic collective: Paul Arnaud, Thomas Cristiani, Hugo Denis-Queinec, Pablo Freda, Adrien Toubiana. You could spend hours browsing through their photos and never get bored. You might be looking for anything and you’ll find it on their Tumblr, somewhere, presented with their own distinctive touch.
It is incredible how these five young artists are able to juggle with so many different kinds of subjects at once, yet always preserving their distinctive originality – never disappointing the curiosity and taste of their followers.
GIULIA B. — Which are the connections between you all? I mean, do you live together? Are you all the same age?
LVDOVICO M. — We are in our 20’s and we’ve been friends for a while! We don’t live together but we all live in the same area in Paris.
GIULIA B. — How much and how do you control each other’s photos? This is the first time I interview a whole collective, so I’m not entirely sure on the way it works… I guess it is really important to trust one another.
LVDOVICO M. — We trust each other when it comes to posting images online, we do it separately most of the time. The rest of the group discovers the pictures once they are on the blog, like everybody else. The real deal is when we work on selecting images for a show, but it’s fun to do.
GIULIA B. — Would you say your work is somehow close to reportage photography?
LVDOVICO M. — We’ve been doing a few reportages all together (for Vice Magazine, for example), but we don’t particularly try to adopt a realistic point of view. Sometimes it’s daily routine, but it also can be something extracted from commissioned work.
GIULIA B. — What importance do you give to the story as opposed to aesthetics?
LVDOVICO M. — The story, if there is one, comes after the photo has been posted. It’s mostly a selection process, where colour and composition are the main guidelines.
GIULIA B. — Do you ever tell people what to do before taking photos of them? How often?
LVDOVICO M. — We all work differently, so it’s hard to tell, but most of the time people don’t realise they’ve been photographed. On the contrary, our friends know that they might end up on the blog anytime and they are ok with that.
GIULIA B. — Could you recognise, without knowing it, which photos belong to whom? Which are the common traits between your photos and which the differences?
LVDOVICO M. — We are really surprised that even after 2 years we are unable to recognise with 100% certainty which photo belong to whom. Of course each one of us has got their own speciality (portrait, snapshot, still life), but we are all influenced by others’ work and it becomes more and more difficult to know who did what
GIULIA B. — Where do you wish your work will lead you to?
LVDOVICO M. — We don’t plan on going anywhere, we all have our own work, Lvdovico Magno is mostly fun, and once a year we do a show. It happens that we are commissioned to work for a magazine or a brand, but it’s mostly publications and exhibitions.
GIULIA B. — Which is the main power of the flash?
LVDOVICO M. — The technical aspect proper to the flash allows us to work very fast in dark conditions, but it’s about pointing at something which is very simple and effective.
GIULIA B. — Is there something we will never see in your pictures?
LVDOVICO M. — Not really, we already posted studio pictures, pictures of ourselves, shitty pictures. We don’t see that much numerical images on the blog (except for a few Iphone hidden pictures).