INTERVIEW WITH … Flavio Catenaro

I am 58 years old and I am Italian. I am an amateur photographer and I have been shooting since 1980. In the analog period I developed and printed my photos but with the advent of digital this passion has vanished. A few years ago I received a compact camera as a gift and started taking photos with it. Now I dedicate myself completely to street photography and I try to learn from the best authors, always looking for new ideas.

How important is photography to you? Would you have ever imagined, a few years ago, this passion would have played such an important role in your life?

Significantly important… When I’m alone with my camera, time flies and I can’t get tired. Sometimes I let the weeks go by without thinking too much, other times I catch myself clicking with my eyes. That’s when I think: I need. I would say it is addictive. Of course, I never imagined that photography would still be immersive after so many years. And this is wonderful

Who are the Masters of Photography who inspired you most in your photographic works?

Giacomelli and Doisneau among my sacred monsters but also Parr and Gilden and Webb and… many others… Oh, I forgot the talented Tommaselli.

Are you interested in deepening your passion with readings and studies on culture and photographic language?

Certainly very interested but the work I currently do does not leave me much time to do it.

Taking a shot in the street could be difficult at times; dealing with people’s reactions or making sure it is not invasive in the various situations that could arise, is not always easy. What is your approach in these circumstances?

You said well, it depends on the circumstances, on the atmosphere that is created at that moment, on the light, on my state of mind. Usually I try not to steal the shot, to show myself and to involve the subject but this is not always the case.

In recent years, Street Photography has caught on, and many photographers have become keen on it. What do you think is the reason why many of them prefer to shoot on the street?

Because it’s fun, immediate, engaging, and relatively easy. The best contemporary photographers are a great inspiration for the mass of the web. And their continuous sharing on social media contributes a lot to the evolution of this type of photography.               

What makes it different from other genres?

The ability to adapt quickly to ever-changing situations. Dexterity and wit. Intuition, I would say. Be good at standing there a moment before.

What subjects inspire you and push you to look for the shot in the city where you live or in the places you frequent?

I have no special needs, it all depends on the situations that arise as you proceed. Certainly women for makeup, wig, clothing are more photogenic subjects.

What is the line you don’t cross in a street photo. Are there ethical rules or is it allowed to shoot everything?

I think it’s right to avoid filming someone who hasn’t had much luck in life.

What makes a street photo expressive? Can you recognize, when you’re on the street, all details that can make a simple photo shoot a good photograph?

You are right, the details. It’s often the details that make good street photography. Being able to grasp certain details means that you are already on the right track.

Street Photography as a genre, has developed in you the ability to interpret everyday situations with an original vision and your own style?

Unfortunately, no. I don’t think I’ve developed a personal style and I think that’s positive in the end. In my opinion I believe that, to try to maintain your style, you can get trapped in certain patterns and not evolve. I can be wrong but now this is my thought.

In a street photo, do you think that light contrasts are important to tell a story or are they just an aesthetic aspect?

Yes, they are very important to me. I think it’s a completion of a shot, it embellishes it … it’s a plus

After shooting, what actions do you take in terms of processing and editing?

Only if necessary, all the small corrections that are usually made, in terms of exposure and contrast.

Do you prefer shots in black and white or colour?

It depends on my state of mind. Many times I shoot in black and white if I’m sad and melancholic… Most often I use color

We often hear about “photographic projects” in Street Photography too. Have you ever documented a situation from which, subsequently, a story or the idea of a project was born?

It happens very often but it remains only an idea. It is not easy to carry out a project. Years pass before it is considered closed. I might think about it one day when I realize I have suitable material… In fact, I swear I will.

We often look at the photos we’ve taken over the years. Is there one you’re particularly keen on and why?

Yes, I care about a shot that I think was the first of Street I made… two elderly people sitting on a bench under which was written “Bad boys”. They spoke in a low voice and for this reason they created suspicion … So the title of the shot was “Conspiracies”

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