Fade To White, Blanco by Stefano De Luigi

For the first time ever, World Press Photo is awarding multimedia in its annual competition. In March, the jury, chaired by photographer Ed Kashi, announced six finalists in two categories: linear and interactive. Among them is a ground breaking production entitled Blanco, a project exploring blindness across the globe by Italian photographer Stefano De Luigi.

Through a mesmerizing series of fades and transitions, pans and movements, the photographs appear to come alive. Backgrounds blur, move slightly, then disappear into white. De Luigi’s images, which is also a book and exhibition, depict the affect and treatment of blindness in 14 countries – from schools for the blind in Bulgaria and India, to diagnosis and treatment in Vietnam and China.

Stefano De Luigi—VII Network

Stefano De Luigi—VII Network

A young student sits at the Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind in Hanoi, Vietnam in June 2006. He suffers from a total absence of eyes from the consequence of the use of Agent Orange by the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.

To create Blanco, De Luigi approached RAT Creatives, a multimedia design studio in Rome, proposing they create a piece to accompany the exhibition. Annalisa D’Angelo, a director at RAT Creatives, said the inspiration for the production, which she refers to as “e-motion” as opposed to “multimedia”, was Fernando Meirelles’s film, “Blindness.

“Stefano had given us a fundamental keyword we kept in mind throughout the whole process: ‘white’” she said. “Before starting the actual video we made a precise storyboard we proposed to Stefano. He accepted it and the work started.”

A composer, Simonluca Laitempergher, created the original score while watching the nearly-completed film. D’Angelo said the ring tone heard throughout the piece is a reference to Meirelles’s film, “This sound, almost pure, is the musical correspondent of white. It has an organizational function both from a dramaturgical point of view and a symbolic one,” she said. ”It is a reference to purity. “

De Luigi said working on Blanco was a unique experience, adding, “What I am most happy about is that Annalisa and Ippolito, the directors of Blanco, have deeply understood what drove me all these years working on blindness.”

The winners will be announced May 7 at the World Press Photo awards ceremony in Amsterdam.

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