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Beyond the Frame: Massimo Gurrieri

By World Photography Organisation | 4 months 6 days ago

For our series Beyond the Frame we ask photographers successful in last year's Sony World Photography Awards to share their stories. This week Massimo Gurrieri steps into the spotlight. 

As soon as I returned, my ideas were clearer. I was drawn to the wide spaces and long bridges. I took this image in the early afternoon during a walk along the banks of the river. The light was particularly fascinating due to remarkable refraction both from the sky and from the sand on the ground.

This image was taken in February 2019 during the first few days of Kumbh Mela, one of the largest Hinduism festivals and pilgrimages in the world. The event lasts around a month, during which Iduist pilgrims go to the chosen city for sacred rituals. It’s celebrated every 12 years between the four cities of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik. This event that sees the presence of millions of pilgrims on several square kilometers of land has been the subject matter many great photographers turn their lens towards. 

During the first few days it was difficult to tune in to the situation. I’m also a musician so I was strongly attracted to the songs and plethora of sounds. There was a lot of confusion and some very large spaces to explore, so I spent the first few days trying to understand the place and people.

The heat, the cold of the night, the bridges that cross the three sacred rivers, like long tongues that are lost in the fog, test you. After five days spent listening and exploring, exhausted, I moved towards Varanasi. The city is a special place for me. I see it as a spot where you can regenerate yourself. I spent a few days there and then I went back to Allahabad, one of the cities where the festival was held.

As soon as I returned, my ideas were clearer. I was drawn to the wide spaces and long bridges. I took this image in the early afternoon during a walk along the banks of the river. The light was particularly fascinating due to remarkable refraction both from the sky and from the sand on the ground. 

In a field there were some construction workers who were putting together an entrance door where these two vast elephant heads would be attached to. The heads were lying on the ground in a corner, almost hidden, but when I noticed them I immediately understood what I was looking for could be revealed. I was attracted to this dreamlike picture that was slowly forming. I used a prime lens. For me it’s not an easy choice of lens because it forces the photographer to look for something interesting. It pushes the photographer to immerse themselves in the scene. 

I am interested in photography acting as a trigger for us to ask interesting questions that can be brought to light. 

Enjoy Massimo's Instagram feed here.

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