© Massao Mascaro

Massao Mascaro: ‘I find it hard to deal with things head on’

Gilles Bechet

Sub Sole, on display at Fondation A Stichting, is the third series of Massao Mascaro, a young photographer who loves to go beyond the first glance.

Between 2017 and 2020, photographer Massao Mascaro wandered the Mediterranean coasts, an initiatory journey in seven stages in the footsteps of Ulysses. Ceuta, Naples, Athens, Palermo, Istanbul, Tunis and Lampedusa, places crushed by the sun where he took the time to immerse himself to meet people, young people sometimes also wandering. He has taken thousands of analogue pictures there. “These are images that remain ghosts in my head. When I develop my negatives, I discover images that often do not correspond to what I had retained.” He photographs faces, bodies and places that he rubs together in a montage. An octopus spread on the ground in Naples responding to young Tunisians embracing. A solar frame without needles is next to a charging smartphone whose wire draws the infinity symbol. “I find it hard to deal with things head on. And there is beauty when I am moved, no matter what I am looking at.”

Sub Sole is the third series of this young Frenchman based in Brussels and trained at Le 75. For him, a good photo is one that he looks at again and that he does not get right away. “As we consume a lot of images, having photos that are difficult to decipher at first glance and that we discover like an onion that is peeled layer after layer is a good thing.” He has yet to complete a project in Brussels, a city he appreciates for its chaos and hospitality. “Even if the sun isn’t shining, it’s a city that has a lot in common with Marseille, which some people call the Brussels of the Mediterranean.” In the course of his walks, the unknown emerges where it is not expected, such as the Ecuadorian communities that gather in Duden Park to practice a very special kind of volleyball. A story in pictures still to be written.

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