Overview: out and about in a carefree period | Photography
When Francesco Gioia took this photo halfway up Shaftesbury Avenue in central London, he didn’t think of the privilege of being able to move around the city freely without fear of infection, nor the luxury of going to a cinema on the spur of the moment. head to see a movie. It was September 2019, six months before the UK lockdown, and he was more interested in shapes and colors and how people’s clothes could strikingly interact with their surroundings.
He saw a man walking down the street wearing an eye-catching hat. “So, as I often do, I quietly chased him and took a few pictures,” he recalls. “It wasn’t until later that I realized that in addition to the complementary colors you see in the photo – the blues, whites and red of the cinema logo – there was also a small stain of sweat. heart shaped on the back of his shirt which made the shot more interesting to me as it looks very stylish otherwise. (He never saw the man’s face.)
At the time, Gioia, who moved from Florence to London in 2015, spent six or seven days a week roaming the city streets for such details – a dedication that has won her numerous awards over the past year. year, as well as the accolades of famous American street photographer Joel Meyerowitz. Now he could come out just one day in seven. “I started photographing inside my house in the first month of lockdown, and I think that made me a different photographer. Before the pandemic, I called myself a street photographer. Now my name is just a photographer. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of the street or at home with your parents, as long as you have a photo. “
Thinking back to that image a year and nine months later, as the country emerges from the lockout, Gioia sees it as a reflection of the freedoms we barely thought about at the time. The Curzon Cinema sign is less of an abstraction now, a color to compensate for other colors, and more a reminder of moments of joy we no longer take for granted.