NYBodyArt may be a New York-based publication largely featuring New York subjects, artists, and their oeuvre, but our content is also inspired from across the US. In fact, we take such pride in our domain that we are occasionally reluctant to cover a particular subject or person, simply because we feel our audience would appreciate the local content. That said, it takes a particularly outstanding individual or action to impel our attentions internationally. Milan’s Romolo Milito (or l’un des nombreux as he prefers) was such an individual. Romolo’s photographic art provoked so many questions as we admired it, that we felt compelled to speak to him directly. In fact, our interview had to be translated, as he put his thoughts together in his native language. Language barriers and translation aside, disciples of il mondo dell’arte (literal translation: the world of art) can appreciate our talk with l’un des nombreux.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you currently located? Where can our readers find your work?
My name is Romolo Milito but it’s very important for me to use the by-name “l’un des nombreux” for all that concerns my activity as a photographer. I live and work in Milan and you can find my work at www.lundesnombreux.com but most of all on my Flickr, that I keep updated with new material http://www.flickr.com/photos/romolomilito/; and obviously on the inevitable Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lundesnombreux.
How did you get started as a photographer? Did you always plan to do this?
It was my mother’s second husband(I consider him a “second dad”), he was a very good hair stylist and was very famous in the Seventies; in the Eighties he became a small businessman in the hair style world and he was always looking for photographers and models for his catalogs. In 1988 he gave me a reflex and some lenses fit for the purpose and he placed me side by side with some photographers, that taught me the technical basics I needed. I was only a child, learning while playing, but some shots ended up on the catalogs. When my father died some years later, I gave up photography. In 2006 I took the F301 (my father’s gift) back in my hands and I did positive film for a while, then I entered (late) the digital era. Weddings, small agencies, some more interesting agencies and then I became an assistant. In fact, as I always underline, I don’t consider myself a photographer but an assistant at best, nevertheless today I offer myself as a freelance photographer, as I can avail myself of a personal studio and of competences ranging from film to digital photography. I am respectful of the professionals who invested their life in this activity. I just write with light, in the most professional and creative way, but the appellative “professional” is not for me. I can’t tell if I‘ve always thought to do this job, but I can say that now I dream to retire myself on the shores of Brittany when I’m old, taking pictures of men and sea.
Your new series “continuous life frames” is all about regular people. Tell us the inspiration for this project and what you’re hoping to express with these images.
“Continuous life frames” is now complete and the next goal is to organize an exhibition and realize a photographic book. The idea came from the extras, the backstages, the opportunity to meet extraordinary and “true” persons, who love photography but aren’t professionals. People who wanted to tell something personal or intimate through my work, my way of writing with light. With a person sent by an agency it could rise dialog, empathy and the will to communicate out of convention and beyond the rules expected for the different professional and social roles. I just gave into this research, it’s up to you to judge the results.
All of your photos have such an amazing and distinct feel, what inspires your use of light and texture?
Light is the highest master and guide for every step of mine, it’s light that decides. This morning at dawn I was out in the fields with my dog and I stopped to look at some grove of reeds I’ve seen a lot of times before, but the daybreak light, “cutting” them in a very peculiar way, made me stand still to stare at them, framing them with my eyes. That’s fantastic! The other important element are people. Some persons have something miraculous as for inspiration. If there’s some kind of value in my photos it derives from their complexity, frailty, rage, sorrow, instinct. I just catch the light they reflect, nothing more.
Who are your current favorite photographers? Who’s work inspires you?
There would be a hundred names to make but I’ll just say who I feel the closest (this doesn’t mean that I consider myself equal to them!): Sieff and Newton, to whom I dedicated two tributes in 2007 and 2010. As for contemporaries, I consider Terry Richardson one of the most honest and praiseworthy.
Which of the photos in CLF is your favorite so far? Why?
A black & white film, developed on ilford paper, that portrays my wife’s hand and belly. In a few days we will welcome Giulia, our first child, and that belly is now so different but just as amazingly beautiful. In CLF stories there are also personal stories, because how can you talk about other people’s emotions if you don’t put yourself on the line?
Although our translations may not be perfect, we did our best. We feel l’un des nombreux’s content seems to transcend language, regardless; please check out his work at his official website