EYE CANDY

If You’ve Been to the Beach in the Last 20 Years, Massimo Vitali May Have Taken Your Photo

Massimo Vitali, courtesy of the artist and Benrubi Gallery

The Italian photographer Massimo Vitali has spent the last two decades wandering the coasts of everywhere from northern Belgium to the Mediterranean island Zlatni Rat, not to mention venturing into Iceland’s hidden lagoons. He’s hardly been alone: Vitali specializes in group photos of beachgoers, whose vast scale and contrast with the landscape he often captures via scaffolding and platforms stretching three meters high, allowing for the dozens sunning and swimming below to become almost abstracted. After all, it’s the masses that have always interested Vitali: he first started photographing crowds in the mid-’90s in his native Italy, compelled by post-election frustration to try to meet—and perhaps understand—the people who had just voted for Silvio Berlusconi. It’s a practice he’s stuck with ever since, one that’s since adopted an environmental focus, too. (“Landscape reflects the conflict between man and nature,” Vitali once told W.) “Disturbed Coastal Systems,” his latest exhibition, up on April 20th at New York’s Benrubi Gallery, captures Vitali’s trips to places like Portugal, reflected in each at first seemingly homogenous image accordingly: look closely, and you’ll find the towering Praia da Torre Fortress amidst the beachgoers, some of whom, as usual in Vitali’s group shots, just might be staring back.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy the artist and Benrubi Gallery, New York

Massimo Vitali, Carcavelos Pier, 2016.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy the artist and Benrubi Gallery, New York

Massimo Vitali, Carcavelos Pier, 2016.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy of the artist and Benrubi Gallery

Massimo Vitali, Cefalu First Surf, 2008.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy of the artist and Benrubi Gallery

Massimo Vitali, Deauville BB, 2011.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy the artist and Benrubi Gallery, New York

Massimo Vitali, Cala Conta Point, 2016.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy the artist and Benrubi Gallery, New York

Massimo Vitali, Cala Llosa South, 2016.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy of the artist and Benrubi Gallery

Massimo Vitali, Poesia, 2010.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy the artist and Benrubi Gallery, New York

Massimo Vitali, Piscina das Mares, 2016.

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Massimo Vitali, courtesy of the artist and Benrubi Gallery

Massimo Vitali, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, 2011.