Monday, 23 November 2009

Viewbook: Francesco Giusti: SAPE

Photo © Francesco Giusti/Courtesy Viewbook-All Rights Reserved

Francesco Giusti lives and works as a photographer in Rome, Italy. He recently won First Prize in the Viewbook Photostory competition for his documentary series, SAPE.

SAPE is the acronym for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, which loosely translated from the French means "the society of persons who are elegant and have an 'ambiance' about them"...in other words, dandies. Most of the SAPE members are found in The Republic of Congo.

I won't repeat what is already explained in the blurb accompanying Francesco's gallery, but in essence a member of the SAPE considers himself as an artist, and dresses up in his personal style with the appropriate accessories, for the sake of being unique and original. A real SAPE, or sapeur, is not only elegant but has to be a gentleman and a pacifist. They carry amusing and eccentric nicknames (one of them in the series is named Christian Dior), parade in the streets and congregate in bars.

My thanks to Kate Wilhem of Peripheral Vision who reminded me of Hector Mediavilla, another photographer whose work on the Sapeurs was published in Zone Zero magazine. I had forgotten that I had posted Hector's work here.

Tangentially, this post is also about Viewbook, an interesting and easy to use online portfolio service. It has three options for creating online portfolios and galleries, which can be tried free for 30 days.

I tried the cheapest version "Basic" which only costs $4 a month, and allows one to upload up to 250 images. I tested its Image Manager which works very well, and uploaded about 16 large (1000x667 pixels at 72dpi) images in no time at all. Most of my images are about 0.75 mb, but it seems the maximum file size is 10mb per image, and can be resized if necessary. The maximum length is 1024 pixels. Not bad.

I haven't yet tried the two other options: Standard and the Pro.

For an attractive, simple and quick website for photographers, I found this to be one of the better alternatives available. I was pleasantly surprised at how simple setting it up was. Here's my trial gallery The Dancers of Tamshing Goemba on Viewbook. It took me less than 5 minutes to put it all together. However, my photographs were already prepared and ready to upload.

You can compare that version to the original gallery of my website.

(I am not at all connected to Viewbook, and this should not to be construed as a commercial endorsement.)