Piergiorgio Corradin has lived in Livorno for eight years, leaving Turin, where he was born and raised, but bringing with him everything he absorbed of his hometown's post-industrial legacy. A cross-contamination that became clear to him when he interacted, from behind the camera, with Livorno, the capital of the Tuscan province of the same name
This city is quite at odds with the regional panorama that surrounds it, with only 400 years of history and therefore not as old as Florence, Lucca and Pisa, so its varied urban fabric contains historical buildings standing alongside the modern ones of post-war reconstruction. He also explained to us that: “the port's presence is overwhelming, but at the same time it is not very open to the rest of the city; the town centre doesn't overlook the sea. For this reason, too, the process of creating my image of the city is discontinuous, slow and gradual, passing through commissioned work and saunterings."
During his wanders, Piergiorgio Corradin obviously also came across the Fish Market, an iconic building along the lines of a pagoda, designed by Beata di Gaddo and Pietro Barucci, and built in 1960.
The building, with its bold stylistic language, halfway between the historic Venice district and the Old Fortress, became a favourite destination for the photographer, seeking to explore its details with his camera. In his work, Corradin, pays tribute to Luigi Ghirri, the brilliant Italian photographer who said: “Taking pictures, to me, is like looking at the world in a state of adolescence, renewing my stupor on a daily basis, a practice that reverses the motto of Ecclesiastes: nothing new under the sun. Photography seems to remind us that ‘there is nothing old under the sun’.”
Corradin himself always captures some surprising details, starting with the exterior, where he photographed the mural by Libera Capezzone painted on the market rooftop. It is a large sardine and has become a real landmark in the city, accompanied by the words “LISCHE SQUAME CODA AMORE LIBERTÀ” (FISHBONES SCALES TAIL LOVE FREEDOM) coined by Livorno-based artist, Viola Barbara. These words underline the painting and have given Corradin's photographic work its title.
In all these observations, it is interesting to see how his shots of the brightly coloured, fine quality and functional Fish Market interiors with warm wood and exposed concrete don't show any fishbones or scales, but you feel as if you can smell the fish that is sold here every morning wholesale. And these are the photographs that demonstrate Ghirri's lesson: photography can penetrate into the heart.
Corradin takes his photos without falling into the trap of parasitic images, photographing the market during its quiet moments. This does justice to the architectural structure with its joyful but solemn atmosphere and allows the viewer time and space to plunge into this environment where aesthetics and work come together. He commits an act of extreme honesty, a rare virtue in the world of visual communication, striving to capture the meaning of the place, without depriving us of the pleasure of discovery and wonder.
Some of Corradin's photos are displayed in the exhibition titled Fotografia e Mondo del Lavoro - Il lavoro nel mondo della nautica: cantieri velici, cantieri nautici e correlati (Photography and the World of Work - Work in the world of boating: yacht-building yards, shipyards and more) opening in Livorno on 2 June.