Attilio Fiumarella was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016 with his photograph, The 100 Swimmers. Interested in how humans interact with their surrounding environment, the artist draws attention to architecture. For this work, he wanted to claim the importance of the Moseley Road Baths as part of the national heritage after the city’s council decision to close them. The image embodies history, diversity, community, culture and a passion for swimming. We talk to him about his work.
A: Your work often seeks to define the relationship between spaces and their inhabitants. What initially led you to explore these themes?
AF: I have studied Architecture at Porto School of Architecture before getting into photography. I have started my career as an architectural photographer and then, while studying photojournalism, I became interested in telling people’s stories.
A: To what extent do you feel that your architectural background has influenced your photographic style and the way that you convey your message?
AF: I have always seen architecture as the box where life happens. Moving from Architecture to Photography was a natural step. I have often used photography as a mean to explore and explain architecture. Today I use Architecture to frame my images.
A: In your series The 100 Swimmers, which was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016, you present a dramatic narrative of the Moseley Road Baths and its patrons. How important do you feel public facilities are in establishing a city’s personality?
AF: In my opinion, a public building is the voice of the collectivity drawn by the hand of an architect. Is a place that represents and gives identity to the public. We could make a map of the world just representing their iconic buildings and would there will be no need to write the names of the cities. If I say Coliseum, where does your mind travel to?
A: Other than architecture and landscapes, what subjects particularly inspire you?
AF: I am very inspired by people’s stories. For me everyone has a good story to tell – from the people on the other side of the globe to those living on the other side of the street. I am very interested in what many would call “normal life”.
A: Your photographs often exude sincerity and meaning. Is this a theme you aspire to incorporate throughout your work?
AF: Maybe is just my attitude, as I privilege the people and and try to give them a voice. I try to get those who I photograph to the other side of the camera, the side where I stand. Doing so, I hope that together we build to give to the public.
1. Attilio Fiumarella, The 100 Swimmers. (2014). Courtesy of the artist.