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“Photography is a medium that allows me to disconnect from the digital world and immerse myself in a more tactile creative process.”

The Engineer Behind the Lens

Alessio Roberto, an Italian software engineer, found a unique fusion of art and technology in his journey from Milan, Italy, to Amsterdam, Netherlands. This relocation in 2015, motivated by the pursuit of better work-life opportunities, marked a significant turn in Alessio’s life. His venture into the world of photography, which traces back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, was deeply influenced by his father. This early exposure to the art form became a steadfast companion in his life, an enduring passion he has nurtured with dedication. Alessio’s story is not just about a career in software engineering; it’s a tale of how a professional in a highly technical field finds solace and expression in the timeless art of photography.

The artist’s journey into photography is not one of professional ambition but of personal exploration and escape. He describes analogue photography, his primary medium, as an avenue to disconnect from his digital professional life. His significant project on double exposure, which began as a response to the monotony and constraints of the pandemic, showcases this beautifully. Confined in Amsterdam and capturing the same scenes repetitively, Alessio turned to double exposure to break the monotony, seeing his familiar surroundings in a new, creative light. This journey, starting in February 2021 with his instant camera, Impossible I-1, represents his shift from repetitive reality to creative exploration, offering a glimpse into his process of transforming everyday scenes into extraordinary works of art.

Alessio Roberto: Play with My City

In his artistic endeavors, Alessio Roberto exhibits a unique style, predominantly involving multiple exposures using 35mm and Polaroid cameras. His long-term project, ‘Play with My City’, which he initiated during the winter of 2020/2021 amid pandemic travel restrictions, represents a creative reimagining of Amsterdam’s landscape. This project is a testament to his ability to find new perspectives in familiar settings. Using a splitter lens, Alessio playfully manipulates elements like buildings, water, and sky to offer unique views of the city. This approach not only captures the essence of Amsterdam during unprecedented times but also demonstrates his ability to see and showcase the city in ways that are both innovative and deeply personal.

Alessio’s workspace, primarily the outdoors, reflects his commitment to his craft. Essential elements for his photography include various cameras, lenses, and filters. Working predominantly solo, he immerses himself in his art, sometimes spending up to 10 minutes on a single double exposure shot. Music, another crucial element in his creative process, aids his concentration, whether in photography or software engineering. This practice of working in solitude, accompanied by music, highlights his dedication to precision and his approach to creativity as a solitary journey. It’s this solitary dedication that allows Alessio to capture the essence of his surroundings and to bring his unique artistic vision to life.

A Cinematic Journey Through the Lens

Alessio Roberto’s artistic influences are deeply rooted in his passion for science fiction and fantasy, genres known for their boundless creativity and exploration of alternate realities. This fascination has significantly shaped his photographic style, allowing him to view and capture the world through a lens of wonder and possibility. His work is a reflection of his imaginative mind, drawing inspiration from literature and film to create photographs that transcend ordinary perception. This blend of real and fantastical elements is particularly evident in his double exposure project, which mirrors the surrealistic approach of René Magritte. This influence is a testament to Alessio’s ability to weave together different layers of reality, creating images that challenge the viewer’s perception and invite them into a world of imaginative exploration.

The surreal masterpiece “L’Empire des Lumières” by René Magritte holds a special place in Alessio’s heart, significantly influencing his photography. First encountering the painting in 2006, its dreamlike quality captivated him, inspiring his double-exposure project fifteen years later during the pandemic. Alessio Roberto’s endeavor to capture the ethereal beauty of juxtaposed realities, much like Magritte’s fusion of day and night, reflects his ambition to explore the boundaries between reality and imagination. Translating Magritte’s surrealism into analogue photography presents unique challenges for Alessio. It requires blending disparate elements seamlessly to create a cohesive yet startlingly contradictory image, a process that discovers unexpected connections between different layers of reality. Magritte’s influence on Alessio is profound, shaping his artistic vision and pushing him to continually explore new realms of creativity and expression in photography.

Alessio Roberto: The Evolution of Medium and Vision

In discussing his preferred medium, Alessio Roberto does not commit to a single choice but rather expresses his fondness for working with Polaroid, 35mm, and 120/220 film. Each medium offers unique characteristics and peculiarities, allowing Alessio to select the best fit for his artistic vision for each specific photograph. His rediscovery of analogue photography, spurred by his wife’s influence in 2019, led him to embrace the tangible and complex nature of instant photography. This choice reflects his appreciation for the physical aspect of photography and the challenges it presents, distinguishing his work from the prevalent digital trends in the field. Alessio’s affinity for these mediums underscores his commitment to authenticity and his passion for exploring photography in its most traditional forms.

Alessio Roberto dreams of creating a version of “L’Empire des Lumières” using Polaroid and 35mm mediums, a project that combines his love for Magritte’s work with his passion for analogue photography. The challenge lies in finding a secure location for dual exposures, one in daylight and the other at night, to replicate the painting’s unique blend of day and night. While his home view is uninteresting for this project, he uses it for testing, showcasing his dedication to perfecting his craft. Artists like Felicita Russo, who have achieved similar feats with Polaroid, inspire Alessio to persist in realizing this vision. This dream project highlights his ambition to push the boundaries of photography, merging his inspirations and technical skills to create something truly unique and reflective of his artistic journey.

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