Sebastiano Leddi tells us about Perimeter
Perimeter is a sui generis magazine, one of those that with a few words (and many images) are able to reveal the authenticity of what they tell better than others. Between its pages, Milan undresses from its most glamorous and fashionable clothes to remain naked in front of the reader.
The editors of the magazine describe the project as follows:
“In a historical moment in which people experience a strong sense of alienation, here we are giving life to a reality that goes in the diametrically opposite direction. We want to tell the golden moment that Milan is experiencing, like a boiling pot, it churns out news, events, manifestations almost every day [...] With the eyes of some of the most talented photographers of our generation we will tell you about Milan "
Born in 2018, at a time when Milan was experiencing one of its luckiest periods, between art, culture and fashion, Perimeter today it reinvents itself and greets 2021 with a new shape, the square, and a new series, Block, which speaks better of our contemporary.
To be fair, however, it must be said that this magazine is not new to skin changes and that Block is already the third saga of Perimeter, after Tasca and Side. Each year, in fact, the project takes on a new form, packaging six issues for each series, all collectible in one casket, as if it were many chapters of a single project.
We asked Sebastiano Leddi, founder of Perimeter, to tell us about the new course of the magazine, but also what it means to create a print magazine after 2020.
Sebastiano, why is the third Perimeter saga called Block?
Block resembles a block, something very solid in construction. Ours is a very urban narrative, in this sense our Block becomes almost an architectural element, a habitable form.
Furthermore, the square shape is an interesting feature also from the point of view of the graphic layout, we try to make the most of the photograph without paginating it with a cut and, given that many photographers shoot in analogue with medium formats, this shape is absolutely congenial to all. 'paginated. We have chosen to wrap the number with a cover which, when opened, reveals six sides. It is a graphic element that in a certain sense wants to embrace the city, summarizing the context in which the stories narrated take place. I also anticipate that, in addition to the six editions dedicated to Milan, Block will have two specials on Rome and Tokyo, and a third will also arrive dedicated to Nairobi.
In the editorial you describe Perimeter Block as a response to the fear of change, but also as a reflection of what we are experiencing. How much has the Milan that you tell about in your magazine changed in these three years of publications?
I would say radically. Perimeter was born in a moment of total celebration of the city, in which Milan was in the spotlight of the world, traveling at incredible speed and was always told in a self-promotional way, following a narrative that we could define as celebratory. We wanted to tell the real Milan, not the showcase. Through the image we have tried to restore the soul of the city and we have also applied this initial approach to the situation we are experiencing now. Our attempt to tell the truth has consequently shown the new image of Milan. The most interesting thing is that by scrolling through all the numbers of Perimeter it is possible to make a comparison between the before and the after and I believe that this faithfully returns the contemporary.
How did you select the photographers and projects collected in this issue?
Perimeter is, even before being a magazine, a very active community in the area with events and presentations, so we all know the photographers we host on the pages of the magazine, but also on our website. Most of the time it is the photographers themselves who propose stories, other times it is we who contact them to propose a collaboration. This happens in Milan, while for Rome and Tokyo we launched calls involving clubs, schools, photography shops and bookstores that helped us spread the word.
Once the projects have been received, the editorial team takes care of the selection by deciding which stories go online and which ones on paper. Generally there are three elements on which we rely in our selection: narration of the territory made exclusively by local photographers because we are not interested in the tourist gaze; projects related to characters and events; more documentary photography, not artificial, we tend to be interested in something true.
With the exception of Marco Erba's photographic project, which also wraps the magazine with its accordion cover, in this issue of Perimeter the city of Milan emerges through those who live it. Is it a coincidence or a deliberate choice?
When we speak of territory, we do not necessarily or exclusively refer to a landscape or architectural tale, but we mean the perimeter in which the story takes place. In general, I can say that there is a very random flow of receiving projects, sometimes we receive more stories about people, perhaps because the architectures are more difficult to photograph, other times we receive more urban photos.
For example, when you find the editions dedicated to Tokyo and Rome in your hands, you will realize how different they are from those of Milan. Tokyo is very special, it has a very evocative photography, you can perceive at first sight that we are dealing with a different culture from ours. Rome, on the other hand, is very raw, almost suffering, angry, as opposed to a more aesthetic, luminous Milan.
In a year in which many newsrooms have lowered the shutters, delayed releases and opted only for digital, you have rowed against the trend and you have even grown. How do you explain it to you?
During the pandemic we have organized '100 Photographers for Bergamo', it was the largest collection ever made in the world of culture for charity that supported the hospital during the pandemic and which continues today in the project Open Edition Gallery.
This initiative has given us enormous media exposure, it has really made us reach all over the world and obviously there has also been a return to the network that has allowed us to develop new collaborations and new projects, such as those on Tokyo and Nairobi.
Does a print magazine make sense today?
It makes sense to create a historical, something that remains. Ours is an archive project of stories that happen in the present but which obviously turn to the future. We want to tell Milan over time and paper is the only thing that lasts.