Niels Schubert uncovers the spontaneous microcosm of Genova beaches

Niels Schubert Genova I Tuoi Colori 6

Niels Schubert is a German Architect, Advertising & Art Photographer. He lives in Stuttgart, Germany and is operating worldwide.

Besides his commercial work, he brings further a personal research exploring the connection between humans, urban space and landscape. The latest result of this artistic examination has led to the series Genova- I tuoi colori in which he demonstrates the implicit and undiscussed organisation of space and private sphere and the resulting pattern on the microcosm of public and private beaches in the greater area of the city of Genova.

His photographic style can be described as precise and strong, attitude that leads to pictures which are striking and informative at the same time. Niels, through his lenses, wants to act unseen, without disturbing subjects stillness and quiet that would impact their visual appearance. He observes their extemporaneous ways of doing looking for unwritten rules that regulate people-spaces relationships.

About ‘Genova- I Tuoi Colori’– words by Niels Schubert:

The project was born in 2014. Traveling from Sardinia to Genoa, I observed the city from the sea in the early hours of the morning. In the first moment, I was attracted by the architectural, amphitheatrical position of Genoa, and by the rhythmic order of the buildings along the narrow coastal strip. The variety of colors of the constructions, their closeness, the chaos in the order, fascinated me. For this reason, I decided to deepen my first fleeting visit of the city.
Eventually, I found myself in another place. I rented a room in a hotel on the seafront east of Albaro city. The first thing I saw on the Corso Italia waterfront was the reinforced concrete pier that stretched for about 100 meters into the sea. A third of this space was equipped with umbrellas still closed where some ladies lying on the deck-chairs or on the ground, relaxed quietly, enjoying the first sun, which still casts long shadows. This somewhat surreal screenplay centered on my desire to find out and made my curiosity and desire to deepen this knowledge spring up.

The following week I decided to return to Genoa, where I plunged back into the microcosm of the city beaches, along the coast that joins Genoa to its eastern suburbs. Three more trips to the Ligurian capital followed in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The visitors of my show in October and November of 2017 and the connoisseurs of my work asked me repeatedly the same question: if before taking pictures my protagonists are informed of my intention to photograph them: I must answer no. If I did it I would change the result of my work. I have an obligation to act anonymously so as not to embarrass and make my protagonists act naturally.

I consider myself a photographic journalist and narrator, maybe even a little hunter of prey. My job is to observe, anticipate and achieve. I would never betray or despise the image or rob people of their private sphere, even though they are themselves freely exposed in public. My intention is rather to draw them out, wrapped more shrouded less, with the utmost respect and empathy from their surrounding environment, to make them deviate actors of a moment’s snapshot or protagonists of a short story.
From all this there are often photographic motifs, strictly composed of a suggestive graphic character with an almost hyper-realistic and highly precise nuance both in detail and in the background.

In particular, this effect is recognized in the chapter Bathing Establishment. These are the reasons inherent to the environment of the Associazione Motonautica Ligure. More than the usual images of beach and bathing as we know them for example from Massimo Vitali, I am interested in the minutiae, the details and the arrangement, the whole and the contrast of people in the microcosm of the city’s free beaches. The organization of the spaces without agreements, the forms, and images that derive from them are the basis for my photographic compositions.

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Time to read
4 min
Words by
Published on
16 August 2019
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The aim of a shop is to collect cool stuff.
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