Text By Katie Best
On a warm June night, as the bells in Piazza Matteotti ring seven times, a tall man in a black shirt and brown cargo pants sits at Caffe D'Italia explaining his love for photography.
"Inspiration does not come to me; it comes from within me," Matteo Fiorucci says in Italian to an American visitor, the passion of his enthusiasm transcending the language barrier.
The images in the portfolio at his side bear witness to that passion. Fiorucci captures the beauty of Cagli and the Marche in a wide range of subjects from its wheat fields to its people. It seems the perfect home for any artist. The artistic tradition in the region goes back more than five centuries, producing many renowned artists.
Fiorucci's interest in photography began during his childhood in nearby Cantiano.
"As a little boy I used to flip through magazines just to look at the photographs," he says.
In middle school, Fiorucci remembers being awestruck when his art teacher introduced photography to the class. Later, he pursued his passion at the Istituto Statale D'Arte, where he learned more about the finer techniques of photography. While studying in Cagli, he met his wife, Cristina Renga, a Cagli native.
Fiorucci started taking pictures as a hobby nearly 16 years ago, and as his talent flourished his work began gaining attention throughout the town and surrounding areas.
Unlike some photographers who begin a project with a specific subject in mind, Fiorucci lets the ideas come to him.
"It can be anything," he says. "The subject becomes a part of my mind and my body; it doesn't matter what it is, as I enjoy researching the angles, the light, and involve myself in the photo."
The work "Adriatico" best exemplifies his philosophy. The series of photographs inspired by a summer vacation concentrates on the geometrical shapes and vibrant colors of doors near the beautiful Adriatic Coast. The images are not only vibrant and beautiful, but creative and exhilarating as well. The doors caught his attention, and he chose to study them during winter, when he thought the lighting would be best. He enjoyed photographing the geometrical shapes, but in his pictures he practices different techniques, always trying to throw something a little off balance.
One picture in particular exemplifies this technique. The subject is the middle of an old rustic wooden door consisting of four wood panels, whose texture you can feel in the images. The old wood is painted with an orange tint; the paint is not overwhelming just subtle. The orange tint of the door complements the wall surrounding the door, a red color brightened with an orange tone.
The colors are powerful, although the main subject is not the color, it is what is hanging from the door: Three different lengths of old grey wood are spaced out on top of the door.
The first plank is half way down the door with a straight, sanded end. The second is shorter and thinner than the first. The last is the longest, about three-fourths the length of the doorway.
But that third piece has a slanted end, throwing off the equilibrium of the photograph. It is subtle but present, and that's what Fiorucci aims for in his photographs.
"Adriatico" is just one of many different series; he more recently has been photographing different types of architecture, because he enjoys the angles and the light he is able to capture.
Fiorucci believes that it doesn't matter where you are; there is always a subject. "I can find inspiration without leaving my house," he says.
He expresses this feeling by pointing to an ashtray and a chair, demonstrating that anything can be a subject of art. "I see something - it can be anything - and then I think about it and reflect on it. Then I study it and photograph it."
He says he wraps himself into what he is photographing and literally becomes the subject.
Fiorucci prefers photographing digitally and in color. He believes that "color is like real life because you can see the picture and you don't have to imagine what it looks like in real life, because it is real life." Color allows people to react naturally, whereas black and white photographs require one to think and imagine, he says.
Although his talent is extraordinary, Fiorucci says he has chosen not to make photography his profession to prevent the pressures of earning a living from affecting his work. Because photography remains a hobby, he can choose projects that he is interested in, not what others tell him to photograph, he says.
That means he spends his weekdays as a worker in a nearby business and divides his weekends between his family and following his artistic inspirations with his cameras. He works with many other local photographers and collaborates with them for exhibits and other public events. When Fiorucci sells a photograph, it makes him happy, not just for the monetary reward, but for the joy he sees in the eyes of the recipient.
He believes, "photography is a passion that brings me great satisfaction. When it becomes work, I stop."