CITIES 10 - along the Blues Highway - Simona Ottolenghi

Giovedì, 24 Settembre 2020
CITIES 10 - along the Blues Highway - Simona Ottolenghi

The blues is the gift that God gave to my people torn from their land, so that they would have a way to make their identity, their dignity survive and so that they would have hope, freedom. The blues is not something to be repeated, it's something that you, who you are, has to live in."



The father of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac, said that he would have liked to be considered "a jazz poet playing a long blues in a Sunday afternoon jam session".

Simona Ottolenghi's work takes us right there, to the Mississippi Delta where Kerouac wandered around with a notebook in his pocket and a guitar over his shoulder and where, many of us, immersing ourselves in the notes of Robert Johnson or Muddy Waters, tried to find the thread of our adolescent dreams of rebellion.

It's a wonderful journey into the soul of the blues that the author guides us in. A journey in which memory becomes flesh and sound, smoke and cotton fields. In which it seems to us with each shot that we are more and more there where Etta's voice (James) breaks in the syncopation of At Least!

"In the many small towns of the Delta," Ottolenghi tells us, "some in a very decadent state, this strident music is still at home, alive, and reaches everyone, daily. Among these, Clarksdale is the most important, everyone has passed through here, and here, thanks to important festivals that take place throughout the year, fans come from all over the world, helping to ensure that the soul of the blues remains alive, even among the youngest artists".

The great Jimmy Hendrix said that "the blues is easy to play and hard to try"... After following the author through her shots, maybe it will be a little less difficult for all of us!


Diceva il padre della Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac, che avrebbe voluto essere considerato “un poeta jazz che suona un lungo blues in una jam session d’una domenica pomeriggio”.

Ecco il lavoro di Simona Ottolenghi ci porta proprio lì, nel Delta del Mississipi dove Kerouac vagabondava con un taccuino in tasca e una chitarra a tracolla e dove, molti di noi, immergendosi nelle note di Robert Johnson o Muddy Waters  hanno cercato di ritrovare  il filo  dei loro sogni  di ribellione adolescenziali.

E’ un viaggio meraviglioso nell’anima del blues quello in cui ci guida l’autrice. Un viaggio in cui la memoria si fa carne e suono, fumo e  campi di cotone. In cui ci sembra ad ogni scatto di essere sempre più lì dove la voce di Etta ( James)si spezza nel sincopato di At Least!

“Nelle tante piccole cittadine del Delta, - ci racconta  Ottolenghi -  alcune in stato molto decadente, questa stridente musica è ancora di casa, viva, e arriva a tutti, quotidianamente. Tra queste Clarksdale è la più importante, qui sono passati tutti, e qui, grazie ad importanti festival che si svolgono durante l’anno, arrivano appassionati da tutte le parti del mondo contribuendo a far sì che l’anima del blues rimanga viva, anche tra gli artisti più giovani”.

Diceva  l’immenso Jimmy Hendrix che “il blues è facile da suonare e difficile da provare”… dopo aver  seguito l’autrice tra i suoi  scatti forse sarà un po’ meno difficile per tutti noi!


Bio Simona Ottolenghi

Architect, photographer and compulsive traveler.

After graduating, I feel a strong need to develop and deepen my passion for photography and especially the world of storytelling through images. Travel has always been a part of me.

Curiosity, observation and ethical approach have accompanied me to the most varied places in the world with the inevitable camera used as a tool of expression and strictly personal communication, my key through which to enter and immerse myself in situations.

In 2013, with my partner Roberto Gabriele we created, thus managing to transform my passions into work and lifestyle, building and accompanying small groups of enthusiasts all over the world, to do photography directly in the field.

Finally, since 2018 I have been curating the preparation of the many photographic exhibitions that are exhibited at the OTTO Gallery in Rome, the exhibition space located in the common areas of OTTO Rooms, the B&B that I manage, and which I designed with a strong photographic identity.



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