Category Archives: interview with…

INTERVIEW WITH … Emel Akar

Researched by Roberta Pastore
EMEL AKAR

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I was born in Ankara, capital city of Turkey. Due to my father’s duty, my school life has moved from city to city. I grew up alone because my mother worked and I have no brother/sister. At university I studied mathematics and then I started to work in the public institution. I tried to get my loneliness in life by getting hobbies. The most favorite of them is to play piano, archery and Argentine tango. 

 

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Going back in time how was your passion for photography born?

I think my passion started when I was very young. I had to stay alone in the house and I found my parents’ photographs; in their childhood and youth years, their engagement and wedding ceremonies, the meetings they attended, the happy times they had with relatives, and the other moments of their lives. I separated these photos by chronological or black and white tones. Without those photos, I’m sure there will be more questions about my parents’ lives than I already knew. I think photographs give clues about life that I do not know.

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Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?

It’s hard to say clearly because I feel so new in photography, but my first marked entrance when I was shooting of a basketball team’s championship celebration. Photos I took were published on the Facebook page of the winning team fun club and one of these photos selected as a cover The Street Photography in the World.  3. How do you manage colour and B&W? I love my photographs more in black and white format. I always shoot my photographs in Raw format and after I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom program for editing them.

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Which kind of camera do you use?

 I am using Fujifilm X100S. The ease of use made me impressed.

What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

My approach to a photo is usually based on the effects and associations that the photo has caused to me. There are many things that make a photo “good one”; emotional impact, technical and aesthetic competence, having strong story as well as mystery it contains are effective when I make a decision.It’s a bit hard for me to say it’s not a good one. I can say it does not make any sense to me.

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When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?

My mood when I am shooting, makes me very impress. When my mind is full of images that I want to capture, I usually do not see anything else. But generally, I usually let the street to move me, I try to feel the air and the ambiance in the street. Shooting is actually the result of the desire to transfer the image of the story in my mind that I saw on the street at the moment. I generally see the image when I am shooting sometimes as a result of a post-production.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

My photography adventure has begun November 2014. I attended in a small group in Izmir to take basic information about photography. I’m very impressed for the first, Vivian Maier when I saw her works and learned her life story from “Finding Vivian Maier”. Then I met my friend/my teacher Anıl Aydın by chance who is also a street photographer. He gave me a lot of support and a lot of information about technical and aesthetic aspects of photography. He won me vision and I’m grateful to him.I have special interest of Magnum photographers. I am reading Frank.Capa’s life story right now. Ara Güler is my favorite from Turkey

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What was your first camera?

When I started photography, I bought second hand Nikon D 90    camera with 18-105 mm and 50 mm f1.8 lenses. I generally used my   camera with 50 mm lens.

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What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?

There is a method we all use to understand life, to add value to our lives and to tell ourselves. Photography is an expression for me.

What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer?

It’s really impossible for me to answer this question. There are many impressive photos and it is really hard for me to pick out one of them right now. Maybe later.

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What is your favorite technique?

I don’t have a favorite technique yet. I am using manuel focus now.

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Why do street photography?

Because street is live, dynamic and everything is inside. I am an office employee working for government from 8.00 to 18.00 a day for about 20 years. You never know what street photography means to me. I think, We-office workers- learn the life from movies, from images and from books. Working in a closed space drifted away me from the city and everyday life. Whereas I love to observe streets, people and their behavior, acts. Street photography makes me connect with life.

What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?

This is reminded me of this question: “If you had to go to an island and you could only take one photo which one would it be? If I had a photograph that included everything I thought or felt…

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What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?

I pay attention not to make any contact with the street and the people on the street in order not to be affected. If I absolutely have to communicate, it is not difficult for me because I like to chat and share. I do not plan on the streets, how do I behave like I do.
I do not want to bother anyone on the street.

Thank you very much for giving me a place such a high quality street photography community. Best wishes from Izmir, Turkey December 2016
https://facebook.com/akar.emel
www.flickr.com/photos/emelakar/
https://www.instagram.com/blue_linn/

INTERVIEW WITH … Alessandro Prato Atko

Researched by Roberta Pastore

ALESSANDRO PRATO ATKO

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Alessandro Prato Atko fotografia di Francesco Di Marco

I was born in a little town on the French border called Ventimiglia in 1969. After several trips for business reasons I moved to Imperia where I have been employed since as a technician. Although no one in the family was familiar with photography, I got passionate about it by chance in the 90’s. After a long hiatus the passion re-emerged and at the end of 2013 and I did look out to the social world; in 2014 I opened a daily diary on Tumblr from where I did come across the first personal satisfactions and new stimuli.

Going back in time how was your passion for photography born? What was your first camera?

To answer you I have to make a leap to 1991. During my military service in the dormitories there was a guy that documented those days with a camera. Honestly I didn’t understand his dedication, but I  fascinated , although it was not yet a real passion, I think that the seed of photography has planted in me in those days. In December of 1992, my mother asked me which was my wish for Christmas; without thinking I replied “A camera! ” I got a Nikon F401X. I started taking my first photographs regardless of their type; family, friends, landscapes; often the results were disappointing and, in my city, the chances of comparison were almost non-existent. At those times, unfortunately, the opportunities to gather information and study Photography were not as accessible as today and my finances were not so flourishing; slowly, and unconsciously, I stopped taking photos in 1995. In 2008 I started to travel with regularity and I bought a compact digital camera. I took pics without pretensions, photographs to show to family and friends. At the beginning it was thrilling but soon it got boring so I decided to buy a digital SLR that allowed me more control in taking pictures. Shot after shot the passion resurfaced, grew up and  strengthened. I began buying books, studying systematically the work of great photographers with obsessive frequency; I began to surf the net in search of authors of which I had only heard the name, information about the photographic technique, hours and hours of study, if I had had the same dedication during my school career, today, probably, I would be a nuclear  astrophysicist.

Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?

Once a man said “If you can smell the street then is SP “. Surfing the net we can read nonsensical talk with which people identify the Masters; at first glance those are only words used to give one a tone, but then you come across something where those words echo something in you, revealing a most intimate meaning. The shooting about the “street women” was impulsive and it was the first time I felt that “smell”; the sitting woman, with her look and posture, goes beyond the theatricality of the scene.

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How do you manage colour and B&W?

The question does not arise when you shoot in film, but when you enter in the digital world things can get complicated: you run the risk of focusing on some preconceived ideas without considering other possibilities. I confess that was true for me; at the beginning the B&W was a “must” as long as I came across the work of Saul Leiter, Joel Meyerowitz, Alex Webb, Matt Stuart and many others amazing photographers. I have changed my preconceptions and today I don’t think that colour is an element of distraction, even if I think many photographers take refuge in the B&W conversion in an attempt to transform a photo devoid of content in an impacting one. Volumes, shapes and converging lines, silhouettes, street portraits, surreal scenes, high-contrast scenes, basically pushed me to shoot in B&W, but of course there are exceptions in which the colour is an essential ingredient and, without it, the photo does not make sense, or the salient features of the subject would not be highlighted. I think it’s always a matter of balance and harmony; during my photo-walks it often happens that my interpretation of the scene is suggested by the scene itself.

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Which kind of camera do you use?

In my kit there are two Fuji that I use daily, a D600 that I carry with me in my travels as second body, two Olympus OM-1 loaded with B&W films at different sensitivity, a Nikon FM2 and of course my first love, the F401x. I like to work with prime lenses, ranging between 28 and 50 mm and from time to time I don’t mind using a disposable camera. I would love one day to achieve a little dream add to my kit a Leica M6 and a Plaubel Makina W67, GAS affected ? I hope not! I love to challenge myself!

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What determines if a photo is a “good one” or not?

To find the right answer, to be applied as a mathematical formula to each photograph, it would be like winning the Montecarlo’s Jackpot. Jokingly I talked about a mathematical formula . Subject, context, energy, action and interaction, ambiguity, abstraction and surrealism, atmosphere, are some of the variables of such formula; the right mixture of all these elements, or some of them, may result in a “good photo”. I think that a “good photo” should have, first of all, a universal language. Among the fans of  Street Photography it is often referred the crucial nature of the Decisive Moment, but is it not as crucial the moment when the photographer performs its editing? Observing your own work with the necessary detachment is, in my opinion, the first step that determines whether a photo is a good one and not a beautiful one.  Good Photography is not a fleeting moment, it captures your attention for more than a few seconds, it hits you in the stomach by stimulating genuine emotions, it has a pinch of salt that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, it renews its strength every time you see it. The Good Photo is the one that you probably would like to print and hang on a wall.

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When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?

Usually I watch the light; if it’s cloudy or raining I put in the bag the film cameras and flash, but if it is a sunny day I choose the mirrorless camera. Without expectations I go out for my photo-walk, I rely myself on the case and on my mood. I live in a small town and often my walks become cyclical and tedious; nevertheless, it’s a great workout for the spirit of observation, and more than once I was pleasantly impressed by the surprises that the street has given me. When I work on a project, however, I focus my energies where I hope to find the useful conditions for the project itself. I shoot exclusively in Raw and therefore the post production is a required step; even if I consider myself an “undisciplined maverick”, over time I gave myself a few rules and strangely I follow them! Avoid cropping or, exceptionally, limit it to the minimum; avoid manipulations which alter the content of the image, remain as faithful as possible to the nature of the image. In my workflow the photos are edited so that they can be printed respecting the original colour space destination; the excess of saturation, clarity, vibrancy, sharpness, break the harmony; I think that  overdoing, sometimes, transform a good photo into a bad one. For  films the process is similar; after the developing phase I scan the negative and, if necessary, I apply a little curve that simulates the darkroom’s “dodge and burning” process.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

I’m a self-taught amateur; as I said, the network has been a great source of information and inspiration. If I think how all started, I smile. I was with some friends in Genoa to watch an exhibition and take a walk in the historical centre. Some of them started taking pictures of people; my spirit of competition drove me to emulate them, but like a slap in the face, I realized that I was not responsive , that I was thinking too much, that my SLR had not a good setting: a disaster!! I decided to search and buy a book that could help me. “Street Photography” by Alex Coghe was the first response to my needs; that was followed by many others. I began to store the first names and study the works of the masters: Weegee, Winogrand, Gilden, Leiter, Robert Frank, Parr, Webb, Meyerowitz, Moriyama, Doisneau, Erwitt, Friedlander, Koudelka, Scianna, Gardin, Salgado … In 2015 I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop with Joel Meyerowitz, amazing and unforgettable days , from that day my flickering thoughts have consolidated and my photographic vocabulary has been enriched. I honestly don’t know if there is one photographer who has inspired me more than the others, but certainly the works of the great masters, together with those of many friends I’ve met online, have profoundly changed and influenced my way of doing photography.

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What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?

The Photography for me is like a record where satisfaction and frustration play their tunes regardless  all other things. Photography is a part of my life, pure passion. A never ending journey that allowed me to have extraordinary experiences; the photography should not be a cliché, a sort of competition between people, a manifestation of the ego. Photography is freedom of expression; it is an applause to the subjectivity of the individual.

What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer?

The photographic heritage is so vast that I find very difficult to identify  one that caught me; in the Scianna’s “Religious Celebrations of Sicily” the child’s posture pointing to the sky, linked to the woman’s face, hits my emotional cords every time. “Wake” in the Koudelka’s Gypsies and ” The Bus” from Trent Park are other pics that I love. The Hedda Hopper portrait of Weegee is a pic that I love in a particular way… maybe because I recognize in it my attitude.

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What is your favourite technique?

I think that the technique that every photographer adopts is closely related to his attitude; my shooting is very physical, I like close distance and  “face-to-face” is a recurrent happening. There are no secrets in my way of working; camera in manual-mode, zone focusing, point and shoot; lately I don’t mind the use of flash. I don’t seek the wow effect, but a personal light control, and a surreal atmosphere from which my subject pops out. I lied maybe I’ve a little secret. You never know which music I am listen during my walks!

Why do street photography?

As I said all started by chance, a challenge to myself; in the beginning the goal was not to make Street but to dominate the photographic medium. Then I stopped and I looked and I thought , without being aware of it, I was a witness of the everyday, I started to gain awareness, to free my imagination, to give room to emotions, to perceive the energy, and those small details who had no relevance now took on an unexpected meaning. Today we take thousands and thousands of photographs: what I wonder is whether all this work will produce some effect on future generations. Maybe it is utopian, but I love to think that this work can offer the same emotions that our predecessors have offered us.

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What is your best shot and what does represent for you?

It’s easier for me to identify the worst one; I think that for every photographer it is difficult to answer this question, and, when he does, he normally chooses a shot that doesn’t have the popularity of others. Obviously I have some pictures that I particularly like, first for the picture itself but above all for what it reminds me; “The nuns at the café”: a wonderful day with two dear friends; “The silhouettes in the tunnel”: the solution to a pic that I’ve studied for a long time; “The clothes in the sun”: Joel Meyerowitz and the rules of the case. Which is the best one? Honestly I don’t know. I hope there are many others behind the corner, and I hope to be able to catch them.

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What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?

Generally, I have a resolute approach; I always follow my instincts, my mood and the perception that I have of the surrounding environment; I don’t interact with my subjects, but sometimes people ask me ” Why? “. In these situations, a peaceful dialogue is triggered after which you realize how many people like to tell about themselves. Sometimes people laugh amused, sometimes they ignore you.  Sometimes one collects some bad words in the bag, who has not?

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personal web site :

http://alessandroprato-atko.tumblr.com/ https://plus.google.com/+AlessandroPrato-Atko https://www.flickr.com/photos/alessandropratoatko

 

INTERVIEW WITH … Alessandro Cinque

Researched by Roberta Pastore

ALESSANDRO CINQUE

Born 27 years ago in Orvieto, lives and works in Florence. Professional photographer since 2009 thanks to the passion inherited from his father that, at the early age of 10, gave him his first film camera. A passion that soon become work in 2012 with the birth of his photographic studio, the “Studio Fotografico Firenze” together Florence born photographer Nicola Santini. The experience gained snap after snap allows him to specialize working with national level companies, international ones (ENI, SNAI, BRUNELLO CUCINELLI etc .. etc.) and industry professionals like Alessandro Del Piero, Andrea Bocelli, etc. etc. His passion led him in recent years to travel, to travel the world with a backpack and his inseparable LEICA M9 which allowed him to describe places, stories, people and emotions that only through a photo could be told. Involved in social work with various non-profit organization that, in addition to producing reportages about integration in Italy, he has travelled several times in Africa and Asia. Its leitmotiv? “Inside of me there are two types of photographer: one that does it as a work and one that does it for passion.”

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Going back in time how was your passion for photography born and how did you start in the professional world of photography?

I have the great luck to have a photographer as a father and he taught me everything I know about photography and how you manage light and space. At only 16 he introduced me to the working world, giving me the opportunity to assist him during his shooting, at 18 I had my first photo shoot on my own, I still remember it, a couple of Scots that came to Umbria to get married, at the age of 20, in 2009, I opened my own photography studio in Florence.

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ALEX3576Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?

I must say that I consider my last job in Africa, “Contrast” (“Contrasto”), a good job, definitely the best I’ve done so far, given that for the first time I was able to tell a story I cared about without any string attached. What I consider “real photography” is something else, I am inspired by the great masters of what I call Photography with a capital P, and it’s not up me to say if this latest work has remotely approached such levels, though, if this were true it would be a source of great pride for me and a sign that I’m on the right track.

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What is photography to you? And what should not be instead  ?

Photography for me is testimony and storytelling. What should not be? It should not be a falsified testimony by a influenced photographer, a photographer who wants to exploit a fact, an event in order to impose his views. I believe that a good photographer is the one that while telling us a fact, makes us understand what his opinion is, without “slamming it in our face”, taking us to his point of view, but without being insistent. On one hand the story that takes place, on the other hand the opinion of the photographer. Photography must not be used for personal purposes, for ulterior motives, but to remember, to be a useful tool for those who benefit from it.

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How would you describe your style?

I do not think I yet have my own style, I think that for a photographer that is the hardest thing to build, if I should succeed in that at the end of my career, it would be an important milestone. With all the books I’ve looked at and read, I think that for now, also given that I am quite young, I am influenced by the great names in photography, and that, even if unconsciously, I am also inspired by them in some shots and compositions.

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 What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer?

Alex Webb, Bombardopolis, Haiti, 1986. That is not a photo, it is a story, it is an album of photos, there we see the great skill of a great artist, that toying with the composition and managing maniacally spaces can tell a “world” in one click.

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What was your first camera?

My first camera was a Yashica FX-3 super 2000, I am very fond of it as it was given to me when I was 10 by my father for my first holy communion. A funny story about this machine is that it was the first with whom I “worked”, I remember in fact having this machine always hanging from my neck, any day of the week, I used to go with my grandmother to the cafe of the village where I lived, and there I took photos at all her friends, photos that I later sold them, once developed, to buy those “essential goods” that serve to a 10-year-old child. Still today I charge some film in it and I award myself shooting afternoons with my trusty camera.

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What is your favourite technique?

 I really enjoy taking pictures in slow times and small aperture, I love the 1/24 sec time because it is the midway between a photo with a little movement and a photo quite still. For now, I prefer the 28mm and I’m training to use this lens, managing space with a 28mm is not simple and even its usage is not easy, since it forces you to be very close to the subject. My dream is to get to use a 21mm lens and to realize dynamic photographs, filled, with no gaps. It will take a long time and a lot of work, but I have age on my side.

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How do you manage colour and B&W?

In these days I am reading “Colour Theory” by Itten. It is important to understand what are the colours that may or may not go together, so that while shooting you can go find matching pairs. Manage color or B/W is not simple, it all depends on what you want to tell, in my last job I decided to use “Black and White”, because since in some pictures there is blood, I did not want the red colour “screaming” too much, distracting the viewer from what I want my message to be. With B/W you can also tell sad stories in a sweeter way. Mimmo Jodice, that I consider a great photographer said: “Colour is the description, black and white is imagination.”

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 Which kind of camera do you use?

Currently in my kit I have a Canon Eos 5D Mark III and a Leica M9. Two completely different machines and my approach to photography with them changes profoundly. The camera does not make the photographer, that’s obvious, but the way of operating the camera that I have with the M9 and the rangefinder is very different from when I shoot with Canon, the M9 gives me time to study and to see the photo in advance. Surely it is a psychological thing, but with the LEICA I have another type of relationship.

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 What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

For me the good photo is one that is well done, it says something, leaves a message and it works.

When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?

 I compose my images during shooting, I am absolutely opposed to distort reality with the help of post-production, as I said before to me photography is a testimony. The photographer is like a journalist and instead of writing with words, he does it with light. I try to imagine the shot while I’m doing it and that’s why the rangefinder helps me a lot, it makes me see what’s going to happen before it enters the camera field of view. Sometimes when I see a specific picture I wait to realize the right shot even for a few minutes.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

I was and I am inspired by the great Magnum photographers, I have studied many many books, I have visited photo and art exhibitions, I have seen photographic projects, I have met other photographers and I have compared myself with them. Next year I will participate in a workshop with Ernesto Bazan and I am very eager to meet him in person to try to learn as much as possible from a great photographer like him.

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 What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?

Very often the favorite shots of each photographer are not the best ones they have taken, because in those pictures the author can see a memory, an emotion, a feeling, and he can remember word for word the path that has brought to realize that shot. My favorite at the moment is one that I have taken in Burma in 2015. I really like the contrast between the subject and a dog, both characters seem to taking the same motion.

What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?

I try to give back to the people I take pictures of what they are giving me, as soon as I see an interesting situation I try to build a relationship with the person I’m going to shoot, even if only with a nod with my eyes. After making a shot that I like, when there is an opportunity to talk, even just to say hello I try to do that; with the mere fact of being there at that time, they gave me a memory, a testimony that without them I could not have told.

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Tell us about your project Contrasto, how was it born? What were, if there were any, the difficulties to carry it out ?

My project “Contrasto” stems from my encounter with an Italian non-profit organization: “Oltre le Parole / Beyond words” that totally trusted me to tell what they have done in these last 20 years. With their aid, four hospitals were built in Uganda and also lots of schools that have given more than 400,000 children the opportunity to study. I wanted to tell the “contrast” that I found in this land of strong “contrasts”. Where joy and sorrow meet and clash, where the screams of joy of the children broke the deafening silence of the hospitals.

Personal Web Site :

https://www.facebook.com/AlessandroCinquePhotographer/?fref=ts

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INTERVIEW WITH … Reuven Halevi

Researched by Roberta Pastore

REUVEN HALEVI

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

Going back in time how was your passion for photography born?

For as long as I can remember, from early childhood onwards, the physical experience of vision has played a significant role in my life. That said, photography as a phenomenon, as an activity and aesthetic expression, was for the first decades of my life off-limits. I don’t think I ever dreamed about being a photographer, as if I had come to the conclusion early on that I would never be able pick up a camera and have the mind, heart and skills to convey what I saw to the rest of the world in a meaningful way. That said, I have always had a long-distance relationship with photography and the masters. And there are several identifiable moments in my life when photography came to redefine the paths I chose. Like the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), and the photojournalism of the character Teresa. I had a wild desire to do exactly what she did. But again, I shrugged and carried on with other plans as it seemed…well, off-limits to me. However, I did incorporate photography into my work in cinema and especially when directing for the stage. To keep it short: I believe I have always had an immense passion for photography, to the point where I more or less consciously had to force a lid on it. Until of course I could no longer stave it off, which happened only a couple of years ago. And here I am.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

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Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?

The last time I directed for the stage, and the last time I location scouted for a film novella I wanted to do (both happened more or less at the same time). I realized I was deeply unhappy with the nature of directing. I could not carry on with all the dissipation of energy, all the compromises. The core of what I wanted to express and convey couldn’t survive the mundane processes of production. I ran out of steam and felt paralyzed. Not to criticize theatre directing per se, it was more a question of mutual incompatibility. So I eventually got a camera, but didn’t really know what to do with it. Until one day I was sitting in front of the computer doing my taxes and growing increasingly weary of numbers and the general meaningless of most things in life. I suddenly got up, grabbed the camera and said to myself “now I am going to step out into the world and take a real photo”. And I did. BTW, never again have I been able to repeat this feat. It seems impossible to place an order for the taking of a really good photo and then actually do it.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

How do you manage colour and B&W?

That is very much part of an ongoing debate I have with myself. I have no trouble admitting that I could – at times – go either way. But I have several series in colour that wouldn’t make any sense in B&W, and vice versa. Most likely I’ll never settle for either or as a general rule of thumb. Of my work on the city of Rome, 70% of my photos are in colour. Maybe because Rome is an extremely chromatic place, and the colours make up for a lot of its peculiar identity. Also, while I was all B&W in the beginning it all changed once I moved on to Fujifilm’s X cameras, and the wonderful Classic Chrome colour profile. It fits snugly with my aesthetics. While I experience many colour profiles as limiting and whatever end result a huge compromise (thus I’d rather shoot for B&W), Fuji’s CC enables my expression.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

Which kind of camera do you use?

I mostly use a Fujifilm XT-1 (I have two, while waiting for the XT-2) or an analogue Leica (M2) that I inherited from my granduncle.

What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

Well, that is the mother of all questions… So much has been said and is being said every day on this topic that it makes little sense for me to go through all the viable “academic” answers. But looking at it empirically, I have a slight clue and one indicator is my immediate emotional reaction upon taking in a photo. If there is such a reaction (I’ve had all of them, from bursting out with laughter to having tears running down my face within seconds), well, that says a lot, though probably not all. If you have to look for the value in a photo, then I feel there is something wrong. A photo brimful of the “right” elements can be as dead as the paper it has been printed on, while a photo where everything is “wrong” can at times hit you right smack in the heart. Go figure. To protect myself from this question I have been hiding behind the words of André Kertész who when asked why he liked a specific photo during what I believe was an interview made by the BBC, repeatedly replied very simply “it pleases me”. That sums it up perfectly to me.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?

In all honesty I believe it is impossible not to have images in my mind when I shoot, though that may sound like a provocation. I believe that all the images that I have consumed, digested and experienced throughout my life, and all the images I have photographed or otherwise created are all part of an ongoing dialogue between the world and myself. I cannot and wouldn’t want to position myself outside of this dialogue. And I cannot extricate myself from a referential totality of images. No one can. Then again, this does not mean that I go out with a specific photo in mind trying to look for and capture it. Not as long as we are talking about street photography. It is true that in the beginning I went out consciously wanting to emulate certain photos and photographers, but only for strict training purposes. I believe that is the basics for learning anything. But the goal was only to widen my gaze and heart as much as possible, nothing else. Why would I ever want to take a photo that already exists? By emulating the masters (big and small), the goal is to reinterpret, to add something, to push our knowledge one inch further. To the second part of the question, as to the (digital) post-production phase, I’m heading towards the end of a process of transformation. In the very beginning I spent, though not a lot, still too much time fiddling around with levers and stuff, effectively “creating” the photo after-the-fact on my computer. I’m even half-good at Photoshop and whatnot. Today I feel that if I spend more than a couple of minutes adjusting brightness and black point, I’m actually killing the photo. I’ve seen this time and time again. I have to say that there is nothing more refreshing than undoing every adjustment, seeing the photo as it was shot and then very soberly give it a very limited number of corrections. This happens only in Lightroom, and the most creative I sometimes get is perhaps to do some very basic and simple dodging/burning, the same kind I would be capable of doing myself in a darkroom. To me personally the photograph itself “happens there and then”, in the world and in the camera.

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Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

Technically speaking I am 100% self-taught and I have consciously not wanted to attend any course, school or training for the simple fact that academia kills me. Humanly speaking I am a product of the culture I was born into, again, that referential totality that constitutes all of us, and I would have to mention absolutely every experience I have ever had. I am saying this in all honesty and seriousness. My granduncle Harry Braude who was murdered in Auschwitz in 1942 is an important emotional inspiration. He was an actor and had his entire life ahead of him. I feel inspired to vindicate him and to pick up where he left off as an artist, though of course through a different form of expression. But I realize that the question asks for sources of inspiration from the world of photography. Well, today my greatest emotional-visual inspirators are Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander…and Klein, Eggleston, Levitt, Koudelka, Erwitt, Callahan, Kertesz… Impossible to narrow it down. Of our contemporaries, there are so many that I prefer to mention someone “outside” of the realm of photographers in the strictest sense of the term: David Lynch.

What was your first camera?

A Canon 5D Mark II.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?

Photography to me is a way to negotiate my own temporal presence in the Brotherhood of Man. A way to not succumb to apathy and deadly routines. A way to contribute to the ethical survival and evolution of our species. A way to contribute to our collective referential wholeness, very simply by documenting how and who we are. To me personally, photography is the cultivation of culture. And naturally, the best means of self-expression I have yet to come across. As to what it should not be, I am not sure I know how to reply. I reckon we need bad photography in order that good photography may emerge and stand out.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer?

I have tried to find an answer to this question, that is, the one photo that struck me the most. But I wouldn’t be honest to myself had I mentioned one single photo. Instead, I’m going with a couple off the top of my head, knowing very well that my reply will be different a week from now. The first photo that came to mind was Paul Strands 1915 photo Wall Street. The second, Garry Winogrand’s photo from New York 1967, the couple carrying chimps. Both examples of photos that rock me emotionally (and consequently, intellectually) every time I see them or remember them. But there are so many, and I’m sure I’ll regret not having mentioned others instead.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

What is your favourite technique?

There are so many, relevant to all the different aspects of practical real world shooting. From how I approach the day, how I move about and position myself relative to a subject, to how I hold the camera and which settings I may opt for. I am currently refining a technique that I’m hardly the first one to come up with, which I’m calling “automatic zone focus”. This in regard to digital photography. If I’m shooting people close (which is far from the only thing I do) and I see a subject, I keep my camera in AF, decide at which distance I want to shoot, point the camera quickly to something at the same distance (the ground, a wall, my hand or leg), half-press prefocus and hold it until the subject is in range and then shoot. I am sure people will cringe at this, but it works very well for me. Apart from this, I believe all techniques are valid. According to specific needs. All techniques and methods are means to a goal, a “towards-which”. Just like a tool. It’s all a matter of picking the right tool. So there is in my book no one single technique that I go to.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

Why do street photography?

It is the most intimate and immediate form of communion with humanity, in my experience. Personally, I do street photography because I have a strong notion that it transcends my own me. It is more important than myself. It gives my life a…procedural meaning. It extends me beyond my own neuroses. The public realm is the default “place” of our collective state of mind, the very manifestation of “us”. When we shoot the streets I believe we are acting out a basic human right and obligation, which is to observe, document and interpret history, and the way and who we are. Street photography is a constant dialogue between the city and the citizen, and this continuous refining of our attitude towards the public realm pushes us towards the city of tomorrow. Even before exhibiting our photos, by simply being out there shooting these public phenomena, we inform our fellow citizens that the city warrants, merits being photographed and commented on and interpreted and discussed and remembered. Each time a kid out there sees us, we might just have conceived the street shooter of tomorrow. We produce civic self-awareness by just being there, doing our thing, making new cultural references for the people while in fact practicing a counterculture of seeing, not only being seen. We show people that you can photograph the city and its inhabitants without being a tourist (or a terrorist). I believe this is of enormous importance. But these are intellectual explanations about why I shoot the streets. There is an infinite number of other valid reasons. To be blunt, every human needs self-expression. And this, among all forms of expression I have tried, allows me the most integrity, honesty and eloquence.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?

I have thought long and hard about this question, and found it impossible to pick one. Then I remembered the one photo I have that is different from all the others. First of all because it is a proto-photo. I took it 13 years (!) before I started photographing. It was Halloween, 1999 in New York City. What it means to me is that it informs me about what I am searching for going forward. And lately I have been moving more clearly in a direction that ideally reconnects me with that photo. I am increasingly attracted to the metaphysical, hyper realistic and unsettling. Not that that is what the photo is brimful of, but that is what it offers me. The suspension. Both temporarily, spatially, corporeally and emotionally. Somewhere in between the black and the white I feel there are symbols I am only now starting to see. And this research feels right and truly honest to me. I’d say the Halloween photo is most likely not my best, but it is to me – at least right now – my most meaningful photo.

What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots? The streets and the people who inhabit them represent to me a caldron of fear and empathy. People scare me, but at the same time I really, truly platonically love them. I even empathize – a lot – with the 130 kg braindead gorilla in front of me who wants to break my skull with my camera for having photographed him. I think that pretty neatly sums it up.

INTERVIEW WITH … Ciro Cortellessa

Researched by Roberta Pastore

CIRO CORTELLESSA

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Going back in time how was your passion for photography born ?

My passion for photography started at the age of 18 when I bought my first SLR with a standard 50 mm lens, fascinated by the images of a dear friend of mine. I began to experience every photographic genre thanks to the advice I read on many photographic magazines. I have been hooked to photography for 32 years, since the era of the images was a far cry from what it has become today. Slowly, with the passing years, I began to discover a great attraction for reportage and investigative photography to the point that I decided to abandon all experiments to dedicate myself, up till nowadays, to travel in many areas of crisis. Parallel to photojournalism, I dedicate myself to Street Photography, the second great passion of mine, so that today I am a member of the collective “Italian Street Photography” with the aim to spread internationally the Italian style of this photographic genre. I used to shoot primarily with films in black and white and color used to be only for the photo slides. For many years I have printed my photos in black and white and this has allowed me to understand the entire process that was behind the creation of a shot till its materialization on paper.

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Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?

I havevmade a lot of reportages in different areas of the world, including Vietnam, Turkish Kurdistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan,India, Turkey, but the one that marked my entry into the real world of photography was the one I shot in Bosnia. Telling the devastation of a war so close to our borders has involved me a lot under the emotional aspect, without neglecting even its organizational one due to the fact that I had to crossmany territories in the Balkans that are still mined today.

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How do you manage colour and B&W?

With regard to the management of black and white and color, I follow these practices. I always shoot in Raw format and according to the purpose of my work, I then decide whether to present it in black and white or in the past I strongly believed the stereotype that reportage and street photography should only be in black and white. In recent years however I have shot many of my works in color and I still keep this trend.

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Which kind of camera do you use?

As soon as I started photographing I bought a Nikon camera and for 25 years, I have been aloyal user of this brand, changing various models. I have recently decided to switch to Canon, specifically  I usea 5DMARKIII with lenses as the Canon 24mm f 8 and the SigmaArt50mm. f 1.4 for reportage and a FujiX-20 camera for Street Photography.

What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

Basically I take a picture only if I consider that the situation that I have in front of the lens has something to tell me. So I always do a selection in the shooting phase, on the wake of the emotions that I feel. If the situation does not tell me something I do not take the It’s not my modus operandi to shoot in any case and then look at the image on the display. I consider that a waste of time because I could lose interesting situations to shoot if I immediately look at the shot just taken. Many photographers do that.

 

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When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?

To this question I think I’ve already answered in part in the previous point.I do not have an image already in mind. I definitely think I could deal with specific situations during shooting according to the place where I am. The post production for me is limited exclusively to the exposure correction if I find any serious errors.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

I am self-taught and the “Street” was without a doubt my true school. In my life I have attended just one workshop for war reporters with Francesco Cito, but I have gained my experience from the territories I have come into contact and with the people I have met. As for my second great passion, Street Photography, I have carefully studied the great exponents of this genre such as Garry Winogrand, Bruce Gilden, William Klein and others, still managing to create a Street Photography style of my own. I take my inspiration from the people I meet on the street and the myriad of situations that occur around me. Basically I do not choose a photographic theme especially when it comes to Street Photography. Street Photography is improvisation, it’s a bolt from the blue, it’s speed, anticipation of the scene that is going to happen. It’s a difficult genre that requires constant attention to what happens around us and for this reason a good Street picture repays for the kilometers one often walks to pursue it.

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What was your first camera?

My first camera was a NikonF601 with a 50mm f 8 lens.

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What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?

For me, photography is the translation of an emotion into images, but not only that. It’s a master key that opens every door on different worlds and  that allows us to see what often goes un noticed by the speed with which that moment vanishes. That moment we know will never come back. Photography must not be spectacularization, should not be detrimental, but above all it must not be debasedin its beauty. Today the sharing speed of each type of images has reached un expected limit seven just 20 years ago. Photography once upon a time,and not so long ago, used instead to require more dilated times that allowed to savor the joy of having stopped a unique and unrepeatable moment. Let’s get those times back even with today’s technology.

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Below my websites and my Facebook pages :

http://timelux2.wix.com/ccstreet

http://timelux2.wix.com/cirocortellessa

https://www.facebook.com/CiroCortellessaStreetPhotographer/?fref=ts

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Biography :

Ciro Cortellessa lives and works in La Spezia. Reportage Photographer, he has created his work in Bosnia, Turkey, Turkish Kurdistan, India, on the Pakistan border, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, on the border of China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan. He has won numerous national and international awards, including:

1995 – Second prize at the International Art Competition city of Hallstahammar (Sweden)

1996 – Sixth prize at the International Art Competition city of Hallsthammar (Sweden)

1997 – Photo exhibition ” Gente di Mercato ”
1997 – First prize in the Photo Contest City of  Santa Margherita Ligure
1997 – Photo exhibition ” Infrarosso, il mondo dell’invisibile ”
1999 – Photo exhibition ” HD, il mito americano”
2000 – Photo exhibition ” Presenze ”
2002 – Photo exhibition ” Srebrenica, 11 luglio 1995 11 luglio 2005, il genocidio e la memoria”

2003-2005 –  Design and implementation of the documentary with  Marco Della Croce ” Il cielo sopra Srebrenica” documentary about the war in Bosnia.

2005 – First prize in the Photography Competition “Memorial Raffaele Ciriello” for war reporters.

2006 – Preparation and publication for the “Observatory of the Balkans” of the reportage- dossier on the effects of depleted uranium shells during the war in Bosnia.
2008 – Photo-reportage/ exhibition “Good Morning Vietnam” on The effects of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
He has partnered with magazines like “Quark”, “Tutto Turismo”, “Viaggiando”.
2010 – 1st place at the National Photographic Competition ” Sudest del mondo” with the reportage “Good Morning Vietnam”.
2013 – Photo exhibition ” Le figlie sono come le madri, donne lungo la via della seta” after the eponymous documentary written and directed by Lisa Castagna at the Women’s Museum of Merano (BZ).

2014 – Photo exhibition ” Le figlie sono come le madri, donne lungo la via della seta ” after the eponymous documentary written and directed by Lisa Castagna at the Cineteca di Bologna.

Photo exhibition Photolux with the solo exhibition “My Street Photography” Lucca.
Held photography courses reportage and street photography.
Photographer Fujifilm Italy.
Photo exhibition “Le figlie sono come le madri, donne lungo la via della seta ” after the eponymous documentary written and directed by Lisa Castagna at the “Fabbrica del Vapore”, Events in Expo Milano 2015.
2015 – Photo exhibition  “Don’t forget Srebrenica, l’ultimo viaggio di Ibrahim Šaban”. Padua
2016 – Photo exhibition  “Don’t forget Srebrenica, l’ultimo viaggio di Ibrahim Šaban”. Brescia
2016 – Top 20  at the London Photo Festival 2016
2016 – Photo exhibition in London form the 29th  of February 2016 to the 29th of May 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH … Andrea Torrei

Researched by Marco D’Aversa

ANDREA TORREI

Going back in time,when did your passion for photography started? 

Photography has always been an important part of my life. A daily presence in many aspects: magazines, books, newspapers and movies. At home there were always issues of National Geographic magazine, just to cite one, that I leafed through with great curiosity and amusement. I can say that photography has influenced my personal education through news and social reportage, the sphere in which I work. I was born in Italy in 1967 and live in Rome and I worked for several NGO’s, (non governmental organizations). I had never thought to actually busy myself with photography until a few years ago also due to a sluggish economy and a slow labor market. I’ve used the extra time on my hands to dive into this, for me, new adventure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Considering your works, which did mark your entrance in the world of real photography?

It was a workshop in New York City in October 2014 that set me on course for street photography. Before that I did some portrait  in studio and went on to landscape and macro, very useful experiences for the study of light and detail. But from New York on, street photography is my main interest.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How do you manage color and B&W?

Often it is not I who decides that a picture will be in color or B&W. It is the photograph itself that suggests it to me according to several factors like mood and lighting. I have no set preference. Initially I tended more toward B&W but lately I explore color with pleasure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Which kind of camera do you use?

An Olympus M5. Small, light and, above all, unobtrusive. I usually use wide angles, I’m not a big fan of telelens that I use very rarely.

What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

The interest it evokes, the message it conveys are the main elements to me. Then I ask myself why a picture has impressed me so much and I start noticing several aspects like the subject, the light, the composition and the so called “decisive moment”. I think a good picture is the outcome of a combination of these elements but most of all it is the inspiration of the photographer. It could happen that the light is not that impressive nor the composition perfect or that the horizon or street plane are not perfectly level. That is not my primary consideration in regard to the “feel” of the photo. I don’t care for “pretty” and “perfect” photos. Street photography regards mainly people, the capture of a fleeting moment. A photo can be blurred, out of focus and yet of strong and great impact.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?

Some pictures are part of a series. So in this case I have a clear idea in mind of what I look for. Others come from a completely unplanned moment like the picture n. 16 taken in Istanbul, near the Blue Mosque, where I was immediately attracted by the play of light, shadows, and silhouette. I always struggle to get my pictures in camera, before I click. Post production is very important and I use it to enhance the picture I already have. About post production I would like to say that I see a lot of very interesting pictures around but devastated by an overbearing post production that, in my opinion, has got nothing to do with street photography. It’s really a shame.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Photo n:16
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

I attended several photography courses and workshops where I met good teachers and a stimulating environment. Inspiration, anyway, is all around me, comes in many forms and from different sources.

What was your first camera?

I don’t even remember. It was a point and shoot camera.

What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?

Photography is a powerful language and tool, for better or worse. It documents, informs, and even shocks, makes people feel strong emotions and think in depth. So it should be used with a high sense of responsibility.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer ?

The list is too long! Many amazing pictures and photographers would be unjustly overlooked. But I only would like to name some italian photographers like Mario de Biasi, Nino Migliori, Berengo Gardin, Mario Giacomelli, Ferdinando Scianna, strongly recommended to get acquainted with the history and culture of my country.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What is your favorite technique?

I follow the light, the people and my instinct. I’m very impulsive. I started with a minimalist approach which is not the easier one. But soon I discovered the pleasure of multilayered images, pictures with several points of interest. When I see an interesting situation I start to build the picture around my subjects, trying to tell a story, like in photo n 1. It is extremely difficult to get a good picture, there is always something that goes wrong. It takes a lot of patience and determination. It’s true what they say: street photography is 99% failure and can be very frustrating. But this is the technique I like most and when I deem a picture good it gives me great satisfaction.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA photo n.1

Why do street photography?

Taking pictures of my times, of people around me is the most challenging and rewarding experience. Street photography is also a surprisingly amazing therapy to get know myself, another unexpected great side of this adventure!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?

I do not think  I have a n. 1 best shot that does represent me, perhaps others might tell me.

What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?

There are places where it is  relatively “easy“ to shoot. In Cuba, for example, where people are very photography friendly, I often have been invited at home for a coffee. I met people and families and got to know their stories and enjoyed taking environmental portraits. I rarely get confronted in the street. See the picture N 7, of this family in Trinidad.  They noticed me after I clicked. I smiled to them and showed the picture in the monitor; they replied with a smile. In other places things get more complicated. People normally are very suspicious and jealous of their privacy. Some can react very badly. Street photography is not easy at all! But definitely thrilling and very addictive!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA photo n.7

INTERVIEW WITH … CRISTINA DUCA

Researched by Roberta Pastore

CRISTINA DUCA

I was born in ROME in 1970. I’m a mom, a wife, a worker. I’m a curious person who llikes  observe the world around me.  I’ve always done it, without a camera too. During last 2 years I have started to get more in touch with the photography world, and this passion captures me more and more.   I love photography and I love people. SoI try to capture their moments and emotions. Camera is a friend that is always with me. It is in my bag with the phone, the keys and the agenda, it is becoming more and more part of my life.

PERSONAL WEB SITE : https://www.flickr.com/photos/naturae/

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Going back in time how was your passion for photography born ?

Photography had always attracted me, but my commitment started in an unusual way. I have a blog about “farming on balcony” and I needed a new camera to take better images. So I bought it  and I started to shoot. Passion started to grow click after click. So I changed subjects, from vegetables to persons.

Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?

Was a photo that portrayed the feet of a man and a woman sitting inside a bus.  I showed the photo to a friend and he told me: hey this is really a street!  I liked that pic, so I continued with this  kind of photos,  for me new at that time.

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How do you manage colour and B&W?

I try to obtein the best in camera. After I use Lightroom to editing photos.

Which kind of camera do you use?

I have two cameras. A Canon 6d and a Sony dsc rx 100.  I use both of them, even if with the sony I’m a little more invisible.

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What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

Emotion first. Light, geometry and composition after. In the past I thought that a pic was good if people likes. Now I think that a photo is good if communicates something, sometimes only to me, other time in a more objective way.

When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?

Sometimes I have an image in my mind. Happens when I find a place or a light that I like. In this case, I compose the photo and wait the right subjet. Other time the subject arrives  unexpected and I have just the time to catch it. The photo born when you have the camenra in your hand, not in editing phase. Post-production is important to get the best of a picture, as photographers have always done.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

My training is “never a day without camera with me”. Besides this, I love read photography books, listen tips of expert photographer and watching the endless amount of wonderful images available today. When I started, I was quite unprepared about photography and photographers. So initially, I had no real influence. Now I begin to know and appreciate the work of many great photographers. I love artists like Bresson, V. Maier, F. Fontana, but not only. All of them, even if differently, surprise and attract me.

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What was your first camera?

A little camera, a Sony DSC RX 100.  Often I continue to use it, I love this camera very much, both for its performance and for its small size; with the Sony I’m more invisible.

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What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?

I know only what is photography for myself: is a passion, is a way to live emotions. Mine and that of other people. And should be respectful of the people.

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What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer?

Among the photos I love most, there is the portrait of Matisse by Cartier Bresson. A man and his life all in a shot.

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What is your favorite technique?

I haven’t a preferred technique. The only thing I can say is that I love use wide-angle lenses

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Why do street photography?

Street photography is the way that allows me to put into practice what I used to do without owning a camera: observe people, take a snapshot of their life, capture an emotion… I love people as they are, in my view this is the most attracting show in the world.

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What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?

Is difficult replay to this question. I love many of my pics, each one means something to me. If I have to choose, peraphs the “mom in the bus”, one of my first street photo. I don’t know if is my best pic, buti this  is the photo  that gave me confidence to continue with this photographic genre

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What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?

The street is a big  theater where people are  reciting their lives. Sometimes I have no relationship with  the people in the pics. Other time, directly or not,  I know the people in my photos.

 

INTERVIEW WITH … Shlomy Evron

Researched by Roberta Pastore

SHLOMY EVRON

Thanks Street Photography in the world and Roberta Pastore for giving me the opportunity to present myself and explain what street photography stands for me. I am a quiet person with sense of humor and good imagination. I was born in 1957. I live in Ramat-Gan Israel, a city near Tel-Aviv, divorced; have two kids, Adam and Shirley, 23 and 21 years old. Computer programming is my profession; I don’t practice my profession for the last 10 years. I have studied computers at the Hadassah College, and one floor above us was Photography Faculty. At that time, I did not understand why one should learn it … now I know why!!

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I was shooting birds pictures at the park when I saw four Arabic womensitting on a bench speaking and laughing. It looked like an interesting picture to me. I thought if a western looking woman would walk in front of them it would be a much better shot. So I pretended I am shooting birds and actually wait, and then a woman doing jogging was running down the road towards them. When she was very near them I took the picture.

Going back in time how was your passion for photography born ?

Photography was always something I wanted to do. I had a film SLR camera, Canon AE-1 Program and I took pictures of places I was visiting, my family, friends, the “usual” stuff. I have learned from books the basics of photography and thought I was doing fine, people around me liked my photos. At 2008, I divorced and I don’t really know why I decided to buy a good digital camera and learn more about photography. I bought a Canon 40D and a 24-70 lens. Behind my home was a field with birds and butterflies.  Soon I realized I needed better lenses and other places to shoot at. Parks were the places I went to, finding out that taking pictures of people, depicting the way they behaved and what they were doing was much more interesting than birds andbutterflies. When I saw a sign says “No B.B.Q. zone” at the park and a guy taking sun bath with shorts only, I realized that if I could take a picture of the sign covering the guy’s ass it would be funny. When I saw a bunch of Arab women sitting on a bench talking and laughing, I knew it would be interesting, but if a young woman doing jogging could pass in front of them, this would make the picture more interesting. So I took pictures with a 100-400 mm lens without kknowing what street photography is about and I was having a lot of fun.

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Tel Aviv harbor is a nice place for street photography, a lot of shops andpeoples. The white and red lighthouse caught my eye. I waited for red and white strips clothing to arrive; young good looking girl entered the shop after a few minutes, now I was waiting for her to get out (taking picture of the back of peoples is less interesting then taking a frontal picture). I thought it could take a while but to my surprise she went out a few minutes after…

Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?

I am an amateur photographer; I don’t know what real photography is. I don’t know what art is, I only know that as long as I follow my instincts and manage to capture with my camera what makes me smile (dogs always makes me smile)  or looks interesting, I am doing fine. So I do not consider my self as someone that is “in the world of real photography”.

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Matkot is a very popular game in Israel, at later day hour there is a good shadow falling on the wall behind the players. I took a few pictures at a certain angle from which the reflection from the glass will look good.
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There are street cats in Tel Aviv harbor. This one was behind a glass and was not afraid of me. I took few pictures from an angel that the reflection from the glass will look good.

 How do you manage colour and B&W ?

I always take my pictures in RAW. Then I download the pictures to my computer and look at theme and decide what will be better, color or B&W. Sometimes I know before taking the picture that the picture will be in color, because there is a matching in the colors..

 Which kind of camera do you use?

Nowadays I am using Canon 5d mark II with 17-40 L lens. My next one will be mirror less, smaller an more quite one.

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This time the dog was doing nothing, just standing at one place lookingaround. Near by a few fellows was practicing flips. I wait to capture oneguy in the air just in the right place…

What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

If the way I manage to capture what I saw and what I thought should be in thepicture is good enough, then it’s a “good one ” . Many times I fail… sometimes Ifind out after looking at the picture on my computer that there are things I did not see and they add to the picture meaning, making it better than I though at the moment I took the picture.

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There is a street in Tel Aviv Carmel market painted in red. I saw more red around on the fabric upstairs. Good spot!! Then I needed to wait forsome interesting thing to arrive…
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Flea market at Lisbon. Flea market is always good place for street photography.

When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase? 

For me there are two kinds of street photography. Most of the times I find an interesting spot, it can be special light, interesting composition or character. I stay at the same place and wait for the perfect combination to occur. Sometimes I just wonder around and all of a sudden something interesting pop up. The post processing stage is very simple for me, to change things likebrightness, shadow and contrast. I use Canon software Dpp that comes with the camera, no Photoshop no Lightroom. I want my pictures to look as naturalas possible.

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Bnei Brak is a Jewish orthodox town near Tel Aviv. I liked the black wall; it is a perfect back ground for the orthodox men, as they wear black clothes.
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I wanted to capture the worker at the typical Lisbon Alfama’s streets. He was putting out the building garbage with his back to me. Then he put down the garbage on the floor, he turned around and I took the picture happily with three tourists in the right step and place, The 28 train line was also nice bonus.
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This couple went toward me when I was standing near balloons. I saw a dog popping from the guy’s jacket. The dog noticed me, the couple did not.

What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

I am a self educated person. My preferred photographer is Erwin Elliot; his pictures have a great sense of humor. Once I saw an interview with him, he was asked where he learned photography; “I read the camera manual ” was his answer. That’s all a photographer needs, perfect control of the camera and his vision.

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Tel Aviv harbor at winter has some times waves attacking the port dock. Many like to play with the danger of getting wet, specially kids, and me.
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Tel Aviv beach at a windy day, much wind surfing going out to the sea. This dog was jumping playing with his collar. Luckily I managed to capture the dog in a position looking as a wind surfer as well.

 What was your first camera?

I don’t remember exactly, it was a pocket camera, may be Olympus, I was young, my first SLR camera was Canon AE-1, I loved it every much.

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Best way to take a dog jumping is from the floor. It looks like they are very high in air. Taking this couple of dogs shot become more interesting with another couple in the air.

 What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?

When I was young the question what is the meaning of my life kept bothering me. When I got older I understood the only meaning of one’s life is, the memories he leave behind. For me photography is a perfect way to leave behind my way of looking at life using my passion and talent for photography.

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Bnei Brak at Purim is very good time for street photography, with manypeople going out to the streets. The closed shop at the background looked like promising place to capture shadows, so I stood there and waited. Those two young guys stood in perfect place for my intentions, when the shadows looked interesting I took the picture.
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Another shadow capture at the old city of Jerusalem. This time I found the situation by accident, I was walking and saw it, I took two shots. They did not noticed me, were too busy talking…

What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer?

The “napalm girl”from Vietnam is the first one pop in my mind, one picture that speaks more than any number of words.

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It was a cloudy day at Tel-Aviv beach, there is an advance shooting at cloudy days – you don’t need to think where the light comes from and can take the picture with the light falling on the right place. It was Independence day and many kids were having fun at the beach. That girl captured my eye, her swim cap was interesting.

What is your favorite technique?

As I answerer in Q6 I usually spot an interesting place and wait for the “;Decisive Moment” to arrive.

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Eiffel tower is great iconic place that was photo from all possible angel and light. That made me more ambitious to find a unique picture from that place. I walked around the tower finding nothing at all. After two hours of walking around I saw a woman with a tattoo on her back, looked like it was a perfect match to the Eiffel…
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Independence Day at Tel-Aviv beach. There was air force flyover. When I saw those three girls lying on the sand I knew that at some point three airplanes would fly over them, they where in good place to watch the flyover. I was right…

 Why do street photography?

For good photos one needs to know very well the subject he is filming. I was shooting birds, butterflies, flowers, architecture, and peoples. I realized that for good birds shooting I need to know very well birds, where they leave, whattime of the year they are staying there etc. The same goes for all kinds of photography. As a city person I decide people and what happens between persons is my best area. Also I have a sense of humor and good imagination that I can express in street photography I can express.

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It was at 15 of Av, it’s a lover’s day on Jewish calendar, and it’s considered to be perfect day to find husband/wife. I went out to find

What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?

I love the picture where there are balloons in the lower left corner – all the balloons with smiling faces, and a couple that walking towards me also smiling, the guy is holding in his jacket a small dog that looks straight to the camera and is very serious. May be because I love dogs I like it so much.

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Jerusalem – The Church of the Holy Sepulcher yard. From time to time there isa parade going in and out of the church. I don’t know why they stopped but it gave me an opportunity to get close and take that picture.

What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?

I don’t speak with peoples before shooting them. I like the picture to be as authentic as possible. Sometimes I’ve been asked why and what I am shooting. I answer the truth: I am an amateur photographer and love to take interesting pictures of real life situations.

INTERVIEW WITH … Federico Argangeli

Researched by Roberta Pastore

FEDERICO ARCANGELI
He was born in Rimini in 1983, small city on Italy’s east cost, where he currently lives and works as a nurse. In 2014 He discovered his passion for photography, especially for analog photography. In May 2014 He founded the blog “People_Are_Strangers” where He publishes his shots. He takes part in some competitions with excellent results and becomes a selected photographer of Wolrd Street Photography community. In 2015 He becomes a member of the collective Romagna Street Photography. In september 2015 He exposes his project “Freeze” at Sifest Off and He is finalist for the Marco Pesaresi award with his project, about Rimini’s beach, “Summer Attitude”.

Website: federicoarcangeli.com
Blog: pplarestrangers.com

Freeze Project:
Is a project about people. What makes us special are details. Hence my need to get closer, face to face with people. The flash is used to emphasize facial features and to separate the subject from the background. The result is a photo with no place and time. “We are a set of instants, as fast as flash light”.

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Going back in time how was your passion for photography born ?

My passion for photography was born not so long ago. It’s a pretty recent passion, born about 2 years ago. When I moved out and started to live alone, together with my stuff I took an old Pentax Super ME that belonged to my father. I wanted to use it as ornament. Then, one day, staring at it, I asked myself “Why don’t you use it?” So I read the instructions, did some researches on the web, I put my first roll in (I’ve been a ‘roll virgin’ until that moment) and I started to shoot. Since then, I have never stopped.

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Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?-

At the beginning I took a lot of photos, shooting everything. Sunsets, animals, colour and black and white rolls, high Iso and low Iso, landscapes, even flowers. But people gave me the real inspiration. But also with people I didn’t really make a selection though: I tended to shoot everything that struck my attention, without a real design. Lately I changed my approach: I tried to work following a project. I consider the last two projects I developed this year, “FREEZE” and “Summer Attitude”, good ones, good enough to let the critics judge them.

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How do you manage colour and B&W?

Using a roll, it’s a choice I take before shooting, when I put the roll in.
I love black and white, I rarely use colour.
I think that B&W has a soul, it’s more essential because it takes out an essential data, but it’s more evocative. Shadows, atmosphere, everything is more dramatic. Maybe it’s only me: I’m a black and white person.

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What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?

In the streets I try to be discrete, but what I prefer the most is a direct approach, face to face with the subject and I very often use the flash. Generally I tend to avoid eye contact with the subject before shooting, and once I do it I answer with a smile and a ‘thank you’. Most of the time people thank me in return or more simply they continue their own way lost in their thoughts. It rarely happened to me to argue with those who didn’t want to be photographed. In this case I explain that taking pictures to people is my passion and that I will not publish the photo without their approval, so generally everything goes well. On the contrary if this should bring to a furious fight, I think that I won’t defend myself, but I’ll continue to shoot.

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Summer Attitude

Is a beach project.
The sea and the beach are places where we expose ourselves, we take off our clothes and our inhibitions too, showing others our true self, our assets and flaws. Life is different on the beach, everyday rules change, the boundaries of what is permitted expand and our most primitive part comes to the surface.
Today’s society, media, politics, religion draw our attention to what divides us: differences.
Summer Attitude aims at being a journey – feet on the shore and eyes ironic – focusing on the little gestures which make us smile and the little things which connect us, just as the sea around us.
All the photos attached were taken in Rimini during the summer of 2015.

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Which kind of camera do you use?

I have 7 cameras, two reflex (Pentax Super ME, Pentax Super A), three rangefinders (Fed2, Fed5, Canon Canonet QL17) and two point and shoot (Olympus Trip 35, Ricoh GR1). They are all analogue 35mm.

What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

It’s never easy to judge your own photos, or to be critical about yourself. Many times we are so emotionally attached to a photo that we are not objective when we look at it. That’s why I think that shooting through a roll helped me. Sometimes they pass weeks or even months before I print a roll and I see the proofs that I forget about some shots. But this allows me to be more detached when I watch them and, as a consequence, to be more objective. I believe that what makes a photo a good one is what it transmits. The subject for sure, as well as the light, they are very important factors but more than this, it’s what a photo gives you when you watch it.We pour ourselves in the pictures, in our subjects choice, in the framing. What I look for in a picture when I look at it is not the technique, but the photographer.

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When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?
When I go out and I am on a street, I don’t know what will capture my attention or what kind of photo I will shoot. I always have my camera with me, because you’ll never know when it’ll be the right time to shoot a good photo. So the first rule is to be always ready and to keep your eyes wide open. Working following a project allowed me focusing and understanding when to shoot and when not to shoot deciding it before. Nevertheless, streets and people always surprise you and this is what I like. To be surprised.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?
My best teacher has been one camera of mine, Fed2, completely manual. No lightmeter, manual focussing, only metal and mechanism. There is no teacher better than this. It forces you to think, to learn the rules and techniques, so to have your own techniques and then to forget them. I read some books, scrutinised some blogs, I watched many photos of other photographers, from master to amateur like me. Asking myself how could they shoot those pictures, what technique did they use, being curious.

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What was your first camera?

My first camera was a Canon D1000, that I bought together with my brother. I think to have used it for a trip to America before abandoning it. Pentax super Me, the touch of its metal, its weight, the noise of the shutter and mechanisms, rewinding the roll… I would say this was my first camera.

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What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?
I’m not that pretentious to say what photography should not be, but I can tell you what it is for me. Being a street photographer I love people and the environment surrounding them. I don’t like pose photos, it’s spontaneity that I want. Sometimes I try to be discrete, invisible, and weightless. Other times on the contrary I’m more direct, face to face, influencing the scenario, getting closer, as much as I can.

What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer ?
There are lots I photo that struck me. When you start taking street photos you can’t consider Henri Cartier Bresson or William Klein. But what struck me the most was Bruce Gilden style and more than a photo it was a book “A beautiful catastrophe”. Every page left me breathless.

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What is your favorite technique?

For sure hyperfocal and area focussing. In the streets things happen very fast and most of the time you only have the time to push the click button. Closed diaphragm and hyperfocal allow me to be ready without worrying about focusing, risking to lose the moment.
Recently I use external flash a lot, to emphasise subjects, their face details, as I can direct the light detaching the subject from the background.

Why do street photography?

This is a very interesting question. Very often people ask “How do you take a photo?” or “What kind of setup do you use?” but not so often people think about why that photo was taken or why do you do street photography. As I was saying before, this is a recent passion, and as all recent passions it is very strong. First of all I found out that taking pictures makes me happy, and taking photos to people makes me even more happy. Very often, when I’m not working and I’m at home, I want to take my camera and go out in the streets because I feel that I’m loosing something and I want to be there when it will happen. I admit, I’ve always been a wanderer, but now I have a real excuse to go out more often. So I do street photography for myself more than for any other reason, and then to show people that in their everyday life amazing things happen.

What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?

One of my best shot is this (insert Photo1). I remember that the first time I saw it, after scanning and printing it, I couldn’t believe myself. I thought: “Man, this could be a Lynch movie’s cover without any doubt! “. This photo gave me lots of satisfactions, it was chosen in a world street photography contest in the portraits section, it was exposed in Dublin in an important show about street photography last summer and it gave me the right push to continue. Lately there has been another photo that I love very much and that
I don’t have enough of. I took it during a party, at night, on the shore. (insert Photo2). Maybe it’s the atmosphere it gives me or maybe it’s because I wonder what that child it staring at. I think I’ll continue to look at it until I find it out.

INTERVIEW WITH … Alfredo Oliva Delgado

Researched by Marco D’Aversa

ALFREDO OLIVA DELGADO

Born in Seville in 1958. My passion for visual arts began very early in my life. I have always liked painting, film and photography, but I decided to study psychology at the University of my city. I currently work as a professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Sevilla. Photography is a hobby that I live with great intensity, especially during my holidays and weekends. I could say that photography is a way of life for me. Although I’m an amateur photographer, I often give lectures and workshops about Photography & Psychology.

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Going back in time how was your passion for photography born ?

 My grandfather was a professional photographer, and my father was an amateur photographer, so I grew up in a context in which photography was always present. Image and art was important to me since my childhood, but during my adolescence I was more interested in painting than in photography. When I was 21 I attended a photography workshop, and after that I bought a second hand photographic enlarger to set a darkroom with some friends.

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Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography?

 When I finished my studies in psychology, and I started my academic career in the university I had to work very hard, and had no time for photography. So, for many years I didn’t take a single shot. About seven years ago I bought my first digital camera, and my passion for photography came back again. I think that my first photographic trip to Morocco was a milestone or turning point, and could be considered my entrance in the world of real photography.

How do you manage colour and B&W?

I process with Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS6, both, color and B&W. Sometimes I have used Silver Efex Pro2 to convert colour photos to black and white.  It works really well.

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Which kind of camera do you use? 

My camera is a canon 6d that has replaced  my former Canon 5D MKII that unfortunately passed away last year. Most of my photos were taken with these cameras. I also have a Fuji x100, but I don’t feel comfortable with this camera, and I hardly use it.

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What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?

That is a really difficult question. A matter that interests me a lot both as a photographer or psychologist. Why people show so significant differences in their visual or aesthetic preferences? Why do some people like photos that are even disgusting for others? Culture, art and photography education and experience are important factors that influence our preferences. Although, of course there are also innate factors responsible for universal preferences. But getting to the point, for me a good photo should include  an intelligent composition and a strong idea and a narrative: It should tells us a story; a story that provokes emotions in the viewers. Maybe that’s the most important point in a good photography. Complexity is also relevant: an image with multiple layers requiring an in-depth reading from the viewer. Those images will remain in our minds for longer than a just funny or pleasant image. Originality must be also considered, and a good shot should avoid cliches. Aesthetic is important in an image to catch our attention, and a beautiful photo could be a very nice image, but a really good photo need something more than just beauty.

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When you are shooting, do you have an image in your mind? Do you build the final photo before shooting it or are your images also a result of a post-production phase?

I think the most important and decisive moment is the one in which you take the picture, and the one immediately preceding it. Sometimes I’m looking for a certain picture, and sometimes it is the chance that offers me the picture. I don’t have a single way of working. With regard to processing, I think that you can’t make a photo good by post-production. Obviously you can enhance some aspects (contrast, saturation) which improve the initial shot, but you can’t  turn a bad shot into a good photo by post-production. When I started with digital photography I used to process  my photos too much, especially landscapes. Now processing is not important to me, and I don’t like overprocessed images. I think that many photographers has followed a similar pattern of change in their way of working.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

I could say that I’m a self-taught photographer. I followed some workshops, but mostly I learned what I know from books and photography forums on internet. I’m really interested in the theoretical aspects of photography, so I’m constantly reading about these topics (John Berger, Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes, Minor White, Richard D. Zakia). Some of my favorite readings are those about the relationship between photography and psychology , a subject that is not well known by photographers and that I consider interesting. In fact I teach a seminar on this topic in the university of Seville and usually write about it in my blog.

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What was your first camera?

I can’t remember the model but it was a SLR Minolta that I bought when I started working. Before that I had used my father’s camera, that was an old Yashica model with a viewfinder.

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What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?

I’m open to different styles and uses of photography, although I’m drawn to poetic images that are ambiguous and suggestive. Anyway, I agree with Michael Freeman when he wrote that photography should be true to the medium. Each medium should explore and exploit what it is good at, and not mimic other art forms, which means having a clear idea of what photography highlights are: the documentary spontaneity of the moment captured, veil, differential focus, motion blur, reflections or shadows. An intense post-production, as we can see today in many pictures on websites such as 1x.com, turn a photo into a graphic design. To me that isn’t photography.

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