Giuseppe Palmisano creates lovely and bizarre photographs by juxtaposing woman’s bodies with antique furniture in his new book Oltrepensare.
In many of Palmisano’s photos, his subjects become another prop on his set. In one, a man and woman lie under the mattress like a box spring; another shows a woman clad in only tights leaning under a table top, her bright red legs standing in for the legs of the table. In closets, bathtubs, and under piles of laundry, the bodies of his subjects act as an extension of their environments.
Palmisano says that for each photo he starts off by choosing his subject, and then the location, which is often the subject’s home.
“Usually the girls I choose are photographers and so I get in touch with their vision of things. There is the choice of the place, if I like the model’s household it’s better because she will be relaxed to climb closets or things like that,” he says. “All the rest is improvisation of poses and objects, out of the blue, a really open rehearsal that you could even watch. There is a lot of communication, and also not taking photos is a really artistic moment. Usually the best shots come when I say I’m done. We do a long pause after some shots, often the last shots are the best.”
Some highlights include the playful images in a series titled Abat-Jour (French for lampshade) that depict women with lampshades on their heads. Here, the Bologna-based photographer seems to be channeling the fashion photographer Rodney Smith, who obscured his subjects’ faces in a similar way, most memorably on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. Pamisano says his impulse to hide his subjects’ faces comes from his theater background. “I wanted to find masks that could delete personal stories and could tell other people’s stories as well.”
Palmisano’s book, Oltrepensare, can be purchased here.