New York City based photographer ALESSANDRO ZUEK SIMONETTI was born in Italy and grew up parallel to the urban street cultures of the early 90′s. Developing his own distinct photographic language reflects his deep interest in young niche cultures. Quite often each project stretches beyond the photographic medium which serves as a sign of his maturing expression as an artist.
After his graduation from the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice in 2001 he became a professor of Photography at The Institute of Arts in Padova, Italy. His works have been published in important national and international magazines such as Rolling Stone, GQ, Arkitip and Lodown. He has also collaborated with brands such as Carhartt WIP, Zoo York, Lee, Bijules, Redbull, Evisu, Sartoria comunication and Slam Jam.
THE WORLD TURNS TO SHIT AND YOU HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR HOME BEHIND. WHAT DO YOU TAKE?
A comfy pair of sneakers.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM? AND WHAT DO YOU MISS FROM THERE?
I’m from a small town at the foot of the Grappa’s mountain, it’s called Bassano del Grappa indeed.. Yes, it’s where they produce grappa. So you can imagine drinking there, for kids, comes by default! Anyway, i used to hang out with a bunch of straight edge kids when I was younger, so I didn’t experienced my first hang over until later in life. I don’t necessary miss Italy but i miss the accessibility of simple stuff, and the quality of life you can have there. NYC gets me visually tired after a while. I started to miss nature when I moved here.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT AUSTRALIA? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HERE?
I went to Australia, amazing country. They have gigantic representations of everything! The big prawn, the big banana (which I experienced in person!), the big guitar, the big mango.. what’s going on over there? I flew to Sydney and from there drove with a friend to the Gold Coast. Half way there we stopped on the Highway at ‘Little Italy’, they had a huge painting of the Old Bridge in my hometown! I think the most impressive thing to me about Australia is prominent presence of nature, even in the city. It was an amazing experience.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED NOW?
In NYC with my other half and my dog, a 15 years old pit bull. I live in the East Village.
WHATS THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING IN NYC?
You can do anything at anytime.
WHERE’S THE BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT IN NYC?
Well… listen, next time you go to NYC go to the spot Da Andrea, tell them your a friend of mine and you will get a great family experience! Tigelle with Prosciutto di Parma is my favourite appetiser.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER?
I started to use photography in a more conscious way at the age of 16, around this time that I was getting deeper into graffiti and skateboarding. Being sensitive enough to get close to this kind of phenomena in Italy was pretty rare at that point. Hardcore-Punk and hip hop music were, and still are, a really small niche in Italy. This environment gave me a sort of independence that its rare for teenagers that were listening to pop Italian singers and going to the disco at Sunday.
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ARTISTS HAVE INSPIRED YOU RECENTLY?
I’m getting struck more and more by the work of photographer Renato D’agostin. He is producing a timeless body of work that i believe it will leave a mark. Classic approach and contemporary attitude cohabit in his photography. He’s, in a way, a young master. I always looked with admiration to the work of this old italian Designer Bruno Munari. In NYC there’s a pretty active art/photo scene and i always pushed to do stuff in here.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY FROM THE WU-TANG TOUR?
Seeing Method Man smoking a joint sitting in a couch!
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? ANY SHOW’S COMING UP OR ZINES COMING OUT?
I am working on two new publications. The first is a piece I shot in 2008 during a reunion of NYC’s 80′s HC-Punk bands, that will be presented in Berlin in mid July. The second piece is a small book published by Paw Wau. It’s for the upcoming 8ball zine temporary newsstand at the Lorimer stop in the L subway line. The zines will be purchased at a automatic vendor machine… Geniale!