New York, the city of the infinite gaze (1995-2001)

“The real City has been replaced by the dreamed City”

John Dos Passos 

If the first time you arrive in New York is from JFK Airport and you’re lucky enough to find yourself on the Queensboro Bridge around 6 in the evening, you’ll be able to enjoy the magnificent silhouette of the Manhattan skyline backlit by the setting sun. At that moment, you’ll feel captivated by a dazzling play of light and you’ll let yourself be seduced, without resistance, by the irresistible charms of this beautiful city. This extraordinary experience is like a magical ritual that activates your gaze; a gaze that never rests, an inquisitive photographer’s gaze, an infinite gaze, just as the title of this book suggests.

When I was in New York, the city felt almost like a cinematic narrative, often surreal. I was constantly surprised, at every corner, at every street intersection, in every direction I took. I learned to walk aimlessly, lost in my thoughts, allowing my gaze to be carried away by the different visual stimuli that chance offered me: neon lights, the shadows cast by the towering heights of buildings, the endless reflections in shop windows, or the ceaseless movement of cars. I also learned to capture countless iconic messages in the people walking the streets, in advertising billboards, in the chaotic yet fascinating architecture. Some of these messages seemed obvious to me because they were within reach of my gaze, while others were perceived unconsciously and I have only been able to appreciate them upon seeing my negatives developed 25 years later.

The photographs that make up this book conclude a narrative of my experience in this incredible metropolis during a particularly intense period of my life. You look at the city, and the city allows itself to be looked at, but after hours and days with your eyes fully activated, you realize that the city also looks at you. You begin to notice that, deep down, it is she who controls your steps and invites you to contemplate her own life in all its details: reflections, lights, shadows, human expressions… Your perception is in color, but soon it turns to black and white so that you can have the visual pleasure of retaining in a negative everything that you see with the infinite gaze of your penetrating photographer’s eyes.