words: p. firrincieli • editing: a. ryerson • photos: p. firrincieli
Hello. My names is Pietro Firrincieli. Here is the short and sweet on how I came to be where I am today. I was born in Italy in 1985. Five years later I owned my first pair of skates, and I started BLADING in 1996. At the age of eighteen, before I got into photography, I was doing graphic design and, with some friends, started a t-shirt company – Bisca – something no one should ever start. We had an international team, including Marc Moreno, Ricardo Lino, Stephan Alfano and Remi Meister. ( Check out the company bio @ http://www.biscaclothing.com/news/info.html ) Some time passed and my interests evolved from graphic design to video production. I did a commercial for Bisca and some other small projects. One of them was bought by MTV Italy and starred my great friend Jason Adriani. Sorry I never did a version with English subtitles. ( Here is a link to it @ https://vimeo.com/12642680 )
At that time, I was wondering how to do analog movies. And the cheapest way to learn the whole process was by starting photography. I picked up the camera at the end of 2007 and in early 2008 I was assisting Maurizio Marcato at his studio. It was an Interior Design and Architecture photography studio where I had learn how to light a whole set in a cinematic way … of course in the Italian cinema way, not Hollywood for sure. This full immersion into the job took me away from BLADING. For a time I was hardly present at the Italian rolling events, showing face only a couple times a year. When I worried about losing touch with BLADING I would say to myself, “it’s natural, I’m growing up.” Bullshit…
After two years, photography owned my life. I left my job and moved to Milan to take a masterclass in photojournalism held by Contrasto. Contrasto is considered the most important Italian agency, the one that runs the distribution of Magnum, Italy, to give you an idea. While there I met people like Alberto Sinigaglia, who is my partner at Kassel & Wassel (a commercial photo studio we started together), and Chiara Fossati, who became a close friend. After the masterclass, Chiara went to intern at Cesuralab, a collective of young photojournalists founded by Alex Majoli. Majoli at the time was a Magnum photographer and now is the president of Magnum. ( http://www.magnumphotos.com/ ) One day Chiara asked me to visit her at Cesuralab and so I did. The people there were cool and they asked me to collaborate with them. Three days later, I was living there. When I started I was a tech guy with no soul. After getting to know the Cesuralab friends and the Magnum photographers that came to visit, I started to understand the significance of a project, and the meaning of being the photographer… to play an active role in your story. And of course, I had my story. I’m a blader. I decided to document the Winterclash. So I made a few calls and in a few weeks was back at it, in a van, with my friends, on my way. It was nuts, I was reborn. I felt so good. When I got back from Winterclash I left my job at Cesuralab and I also left my girlfriend. I had made enough money with Kassel and Wassel to be free a while, and started the Blade Diary. (You can CHECK IT @ http://www.pietrofirrincieli.com/ )
Since that day I make sure to never miss a chance to be with my friends and to document our lives, the pioneers of BLADING in Italy. I am very proud. I’m proud of my friends and thankful that we were brought together through rollerblading, and I am thankful that BLADING helped make me the person I am today. The Blade Diary is now one year old. It’s been published several times on be-mag.com. I’m stoked how it comes out in such an organic way. Aside from The Blade Diary, which is my family album, I am focusing on another aspect of rollerblading. At the risk of sounding like a Mindgame psyconaut, my experience leads me to believe we should show BLADING to the public in an elegant way, and not in the stereotypical 90′s Beastie Boys way, I’m sure you all know what I mean. After 20 years, the death lens/fish eye photography desensitized the public to the relationship between the athletic gesture and the space in which it is performed. I’m trying to capture the beauty of that relationship in the light it deserves. So to avoid the stereotypical Fisheye Thrasher shot, I show the true-to-life proportions of space and action that take place in our sport and the elegance of the BLADER against the ugliness of the concrete. When all is said and done, I’m not saying that fisheye photography or video sucks. The distorted and quick-cut style of our street culture is our own legitimate language and the best way to communicate and hype people up within our industry. But I also see the need for our art and lifestyle to be viewed by the non-BLADING community in a way that they can appreciate us and gain a better understanding of what we do where we’re coming from. It’s important for the rolling industry to be seen for what it is – legitimate, respectable, and with much to offer the world.
In the future, I’d really love to shoot the major competitions, as well as street skating around the world. I will document the first generation of bladers who will act as inspiration for generations to come. So… if you ever want to session with me I’ll be happy to sleep the night on your floor. And if you want to crash at my house for a while, that would be cool too. Just write me at firstname.lastname@example.org See you at Winterclash next February 2013!!!! My best, Pietro.