New York-based photographer Giacomo Fortunato has always wanted to do a project involving heavy metal, a music and culture that’s been an integral part of his life since childhood.
So when he discovered 70,000 Tons of Metal, the world’s largest heavy metal cruise, he got his camera and hit the high seas.
“I attended the cruise as both a spectator and a photographer, intrigued by the premise of metal on a cruise ship,” he said. “It seemed like a funny juxtaposition of 3000 people wearing black in the Caribbean sun listening to what some might consider the least relaxing music ever.”
Giacomo has been a fan of metal since he was eight years old, when his cousin introduced him to the genre. Since then, Giacomo has felt that the metal community is one that “venerates total liberation”.
With most of his photography, Giacomo aims to dive into some subculture and capture a snapshot of that world, so this project was no different – if a little closer to home.
Giacomo was able to get a press pass for the cruise, which allowed him to access the photographers’ pit at the front of the stage. With 60 metal bands on board and 3000 fans from across the globe, he had a lot of visual content, but decided to focus mostly on the fans who really embodied the spirit of letting go.
“There is always a rawness and raucousness to what I shoot,” he said.
One thing that was great about attending in part as a photographer was that Giacomo was able to connect with people he might not otherwise have got a chance to. He interacted with a lot of people through his photography, and in turn, was able to get more intimate portraits of them.
Giacomo says that overall, the cruise was a blast. The biggest challenge was lack of sleep, which he cites as a sign of having a good time. He gave this series the name ‘To Hell and Back’ to honour the idea of diving into this heavy metal experience with all the chaos, and then resurfacing good as new.
“My images are a testament to engrossing myself in this seemingly hellish world, capturing the debauchery, and returning ‘back’ where the grit is more concealed.”
To view more work from Giacomo, you can head on over to his website.