On the side of the witches | Security - Wishevoke

On the side of the witches | Security

Encounter Adriano Alia in a small park in Porta Romana. He is sitting on a bench, waiting for me, with a large book next to him and a small analog camera in his hands. I asked Adriano to get to know us, curious about his unusual first approach to photography. I already knew his work through myself SocialIn Milan he made a name for himself by photographing some of the most famous rappers and numerous models. Those who visit Milan at night, especially those Release party, you will have probably met him or at least heard of him. I only found out later that Alia he was in prison and that it was there that he first approached photography.

In my research I discover that this is a project done between bars, but more importantly that some of these photos were a project exhibited in an exhibition at the PAC in Milan. Then I prepare some questions and meet Adriano. He immediately shows me the large book leaning on the bench, it is the catalog of the PAC exhibition – titled New recordings. For me you go to the lost people will take place in fall 2022, which marks the beginning of his entire journey. Let’s talk about his arrest and the numerous renditions before his arrival Bollate Prison which, he says, changed his life. His career and success to this day.

During the conversation there were moments of strong emotions – especially mine – that underline the great ability to adapt and make amends that humans can demonstrate even in difficult situations. In this sense, in confining this willpower within the walls of a prison, help must come first from above or, as happens in many cases, from outside, but above all allow believing in the possible redemption of the prisoners.

Adriano aka |  Security

Without a doubt, the story we tell today is one of the few with a happy ending. Adriano would like to emphasize that this course is designed and organized by PAC Milan and Ri-scatti Onlus – the volunteer association that has been creating events and initiatives since 2014 social redemption through photography – and sponsored by the City of Milan with the support of Tod’s and the contribution of LCA Studio Legale, none of this would have happened. Let’s start with the interview and Let’s find out how to become a photographer in prison.

Let’s start from the beginning. How did you approach photography in prison?

AA: During my time in prison I had the opportunity to learn to shoot. One day they arrived at Bollate prison Amedeo Novelli from Sony e Diego Sileo from PAC from Milan, offers us a photography course. The course lasted a few months, during which we had the opportunity to learn how to use the camera and use it inside the prison, in the rooms accessible to us, so also in the cells, in the air areas, in the prison corridors and Common areas. I had fun, I found my passion and from that moment on I never stopped taking photos.

Your recordings cover a period of two years. How did you manage to continue taking photos after the course ended?

AA: Even after the end of the course I was able to continue taking photos by putting myself forward as a photographer for the prison newspaper, MapBollate. However, this only happened after the newspaper editor’s approval Susanna Ripamonti that I officially continued filming. I took photographs at interviews with family members and at events when politicians or public figures went to prison, and continued to photograph those who accompanied me. Until the day of my release – August 18, 2023 – I filmed every day and developed myself over time a real report of life in prison.

What were your favorite subjects? What did you pay attention to when taking your photos?

AA: In everyday life, my friends were the main topics. I suggested that he take photos outside or even in his cell in his free time. I found the way of life we ​​had fascinating compared to what is outside, because inside there are things that in freedom you see as normal objects of use and consumption, whereas in prison some objects, some ways of doing things, some things that we did sounded special to me and my opinion after they were worth photographing. My own friends told me: “Adri, can you take a picture of us, can you make it here?” Look, I got these new clothes for the interview”, or “Today I’m cutting my hair”, “I want to “Send a photo to my friend outside.” So Taking a photo of them was no longer a simple photo, but a message sent to loved ones to show how good we could feel inside.

Adriano aka

From the way you tell it, shooting in prison seems like a simple process, but I’m sure there’s more to it than that. Have you ever encountered obstacles? Hostility?

AA: There was always a bit of hostility, especially from some prison officials, because it was something unusual. Many thanks instead to Susanna Ripamonti and the director Giorgio Leggieri This gave me so much freedom that I had the opportunity to really get into photography.

Do you think the hostility is because you may have documented something unpleasant?

AA: Yes, you can say that I also took photos some deficiencies of the prisonmaybe even things I couldn’t have photographed or shouldn’t have seen in the first place.

Is there a problem releasing these recordings today?

AA: No, the photos I took during the course have already been published and have already been shown in an exhibition at the PAC in Milan. At the end of the course, some photos were selected and these photos were exhibited at Contemporary Art Pavilion in Milanand therefore everyone I photographed during the course had already signed release. I always took the photos that I took after my friends’ classes.

Despite your bad experiences with incarceration, prison seems to have offered you a new opportunity. What do you think about it?

AA: Yes, it seems absurd to say that, but The time in prison was the turning point of my life. Above all, the last two and a half years that I spent in Bollate were perhaps among the best years of my life, because in any case, after a few years of always being with the same people, indissoluble bonds are formed that are your companions become gods brothers. Ultimately, Bollate is a prison, but it is not closed to the outside world. There are lots of volunteers, lots of courses, lots to do. If you are someone who wants to do something, Bollate Prison offers you the opportunity to do so. I did so many things, I tried to spend my time doing as many things as I could every day, all day, and the days flew by.

You told us that before Bollate you were in both San Vittore and the Opera. Are these options also available for prisoners there?

AA: Yes, when they arrested me in 2019, they took me to prison Saint Victor. After a few months in San Vittore, they took me to the opera, even though it was my first imprisonment. I still don’t know why. The opera is a prison very boringThere’s little you can do other than training and playing cards. After a year, thanks to Covid, I managed to stay in the community for a year. Due to ongoing investigations by the public prosecutor’s office, they then decided to send me back to prison, where I served until the end of my sentence. Things went well there because I didn’t return to the prison from which I came, but they sent me to Bollate. The photography course I took actually took place in other prisons in Milan – Opera, San Vittore and IPM Cesare Beccaria – but I think that the opportunities that Bollate offers are not so easy to find in other prisons .

What happened when you were released from prison? How have you dealt with the world of photography outside?

AA: As soon as I got out, I didn’t plan on taking photos because I thought that my photography only had something to do with prison and that there was something outside when I was free too much competition. I was a bit demoralized and thought I was no photographer and a drop in the ocean. Then I thank my friends, especially Ad Andrea Sata e AdviceI found the motivation to keep going. I boughtanalogous cheap and a 200 ISO roll of Kodak Gold 200 and I made my first photo roll. It was cool because I happened to meet a lot of really cool people during that time, especially famous people, which I won’t list here. Then I developed further, I bought a nicer camera, always analogue. A compact Olymp that has now become my indispensable companion.

After you were released from prison, you inevitably found yourself without your subjects. Why did you choose the people of the night as the new protagonists of your photographs?

AA: Imagine that after my time in prison, I no longer knew the night. When they arrested me I was twenty-five years oldI was young and loved going out at night. When I was free, I remembered how much I enjoyed the evening, visiting beautiful places and making new acquaintances. I was very well received and taken along by my friends Release party. I had no idea what a release party even was.

I think there’s a strange parallel between prisoners and celebrities, both of whom are a bit reticent about being photographed. Do you agree?

AA: Yes, without a doubt. In prison I learned to photograph those who don’t like being photographed too much. Criminals and VIPs don’t want to get caught. In prison I learned to trust my subject and photograph them at the right time. They almost always take cool photos because they are spontaneous. The result is a slightly lurking, almost paparazzi-like photo it is never asked but as natural as possible.

Last question about the future. What do you expect? Do you have an exhibition planned?

AA: Yes, I would like to have an exhibition in Italy, although I fear that it would be a little exploited because Italy is a country still a little bigoted about these things. At least that’s my fear. My dream would definitely be to do it in Milan, where the imprisoned children I photographed can come. For me It’s important for people to see what can be done in a prison and that they understand how important it is to support projects like this. It’s full of young people in prison brilliant, who only discover their talent in prison because they may have had a life outside that didn’t give them a chance to discover it. But you have to pay attention to that. Because if no one helps them, when they get out of prison they end up doing the same things they did before or even worse because they are even hungrier after getting out of prison.

Credits Adriano Alia

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