There is both a lot going on in Vitali’s images, but also nothing much at all. On first sighting, his images look like appealing 1970’s picture postcards. But they pour scorn on a commodified leisure industry. His subjects mass together with total conformity. After a closer inspection, its hard to look at his images of tourists at play without wondering why this is our idea of a good time.
Vitali has been working on his crowd scenes for many years now, and his method is both coolly detached and extremely effective: He sets up his custom made perch and sits suspended four or five metres above the ground. First, he frames the landscape with his camera and then waits for the frame to fill. Quietly, so not to attract attention, he will sit until his shot is crowded with people performing interesting interactions - and then finally he presses the shutter. There are obvious similarities here with a nature photographer sat for days in a dug out.
His pictures have recently become less about portraiture and more about landscape. Moving away from unruly crowds and beach umbrellas, he is now more interested in showing humans as colonies of mammals inhabiting various landscapes. This image, taken on the Greek coast of Milos, is a perfect example. With brilliant derision for the human species, Vitali says of this backdrop that it's ‘like a place where penguins could nest or lay their eggs.’
Vitali sets us a challenge – his work is both damning and inviting. His pictures reflect back at us how we are all members of the herd. But they possess a surface beauty and an appealing sense of nostalgia; for Campari, pedalo’s and the smell of Factor 2 sun oil.