Urban Melodies: a Multiple Exposure Cityscape Photo Project

Traffic Jam (New York)

All images by Alessio Trerotoli. Used with permission.

“After my graduation in Disciplines of Arts and Cinema I began to travel by myself. In Europe, then in United States and in South America,” photographer Alessio Trerotoli told us in an email introducing his project Urban Melodies. “In that moment I didn’t know how to be a photographer, actually I didn’t know who I was. But my camera was with me, and walking through the streets and the alleys of Paris I suddenly found huge inspiration, an inspiration that followed me in every city I visited since that moment.”

Urban Melodies is an interesting project in that it takes exposure after exposure being layered over and over. Photographers have used the double exposure technique for a while, but Alessio takes it even further by putting more layers on top of one another. “With this project I’m trying to create, by superimposing different pictures, a sort of abstract representation of urban landscapes and contemporary life from modern metropolis like Rome, New York, Paris, Berlin and many others.” says Alessio. “I tried to put my style and my sensibility in this project, that I see like melodic images: similar to the musical notes in a melody, each picture can stand by itself, but layered with the other pictures, the new image expresses a richer meaning. All of them, if linked to one another and concatenated in a bigger context, can create something different and, most importantly, something unique.”

He went on to say that he used four or five different pictures of the same place, the same subject, to create every image. So everything is duplicated, lights and subjects multiply and build a new vision of urban life.

Montmartre (Paris)

Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography?

Alessio: I always had a passion for photography. There is a moment I can’t forget: when I was 10 years old I was showing to my grandmother photos of a little excursion I made with school in a place not far from Rome. My album was full of pictures of my schoolmates and my grandma told me: “But where are you?”. In that moment I realized that there wasn’t a picture of me in the entire album because I always was behind the camera.

It was the first time I saw myself like a photographer.

Metropolitain (Paris)

Then in 2010, after my first travels, a gallery in Rome saw my pictures and proposed me for an exhibition. That exhibition, called “Appunti di viaggio” (“Notes of travel”), was my very first step in this world. Since then my pictures were exposed in several italian galleries. In 2012 I published my first book, “Fuori dalla caverna”, with notes, tales and some pictures of my travels and at the end of the same year I began my most important project, “Urban Melodies”.

In 2013 I won Abstracta Festival with the picture “There is a light that never goes out” and the year after I won another prize in Urban International Photo Contest. In 2015, I realized other projects like “Roma Coast to Coast”, a 21km walking trip through my city, and I finished my first 365 Project on Instagram.

Phoblographer: How did the layering process get done? Were there specific ideas involved or more you playing around?

Alessio: Sometimes I have an idea, and I want to realize an image that is born in my mind (for example my picture “Montmartre”). Sometimes I find something interesting on my way, and I shoot, and then I discover to have a good material for a new “Urban Melody” (for example the image “Metropolitain”). Superimposing photos is an art that needs creativity, fantasy, curiosity and, most of all, lots of patience. It’s like a puzzle, an enigma to solve. A solution exists, the right combination exists, but we have to find it. There are no preset rules, only the rules that we decide to impose.

Phoblographer: What are you trying to creatively express with this series?

Central Park (New York)

Alessio: I absolutely love the street, the stories that every corner and every building can tell. I need to search the soul of a place, I mean, what that a place can tell me. Through my photographs I try to catch the real soul of a street or a building, with something that belongs to its history and in the same time to its daily life. I try to feed my inspiration walking for a while every day and taking pictures of daily life in my city or in cities that I visit when I’m in travel. In my life I always try to look for something beautiful around me and I think that I try to put something beautiful in my pictures. In my “Urban Melodies” you can find something beautiful in a traffic jam or in a building in ruin, so maybe it’s possible to find beauty everywhere. Once I read a quote that is perfect: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not”.

Castel Sant'Angelo (Roma)


Windows #2 (Berlin)

Windows #1 (Berlin)

Times Square (New York)

Rainy Day (Roma)

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.