INTERVIEW WITH … Francesco Ruffoni

RESEARCHED BY ROBERTA PASTORE

Francesco Ruffoni was born in Italy on September 24th 1980 and lives in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.He has always been passionate about travelling and sees photography as a way to document the places he visits and the people he meets.“I love to mix with people and I feel the need to do so, to capture an idea, a moment or an emotion with my camera.

Who are the artists, also outside the photography field, that inspire you in your photographic work and style? Those who most inspire my photographs are the great American photographers such as: Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand and Elliot Erwitt. I consider their photographs to be masterpieces. I also follow other more contemporary photographers. I think that today’s photography has introduced us to many new talents with excellent works.

How important is style to you and what do you think are the features common to all your recent production? The photographic style is what every photographer aspires to have their own communicative key different from the others and for me also is important too. The common features that can be seen in my last project “Chiang Mai” are certainly a journey that began a few years ago by telling about my daily life touching more aspects such as humor, reflection and the emotions the I live here every day.

Your street photography is extremely focused on the people. What do you look for in the face of a potential subject, what are the characteristics that move you to take a photo and, in your opinion, which is the characteristic that a good street phoytography must have? I often try to capture a natural expression of the subjectthat at that moment attracts my attention but his gestures and dynamism in his daily environment are also important, clearly i’am looking for something strong and communicative. In my opinion, a good street photography must first of all have an idea behind it and composition that both effective, that is, to create photographs with different ideas out of everyone’s reach.

What is the importance that a glance may have within an image and what relationship is created between the subject and the viewer? The look inside the camera is certainly important but sometimes even just taking a photograph in the daily actions of life can in my opinion come out interesting photographs, if you are not afraid or awe of photographing a person especially when looking in the camera between photographer and subject happen something magical, because it is the subject who at the moment offers you the photograph.

What reaction do your subjects have once photographed? Do you happen to interact with them?I try to immerse myself in the social context that I want photograph trying to be as much as possible within the composition, despite everything many times the subjects are surprised and give me the feeling after the shot of not understanding what they really are interesting for me…Yes I have interactions mainly with children, I show them the photographs just taken.

Taking photography on the street is not easy. One needs to seize the moment before the perfect instant that we want to capture is lost while being able to not interfere with the scene unintentionally. What is your approach on the road to capture the perfect moment? At a technical level what advice can you give for this kind of approach? Yes, I think Street Photography is among the most complex in photography. My approach on the street to capture the perfect moment or whatever a good photograph is to have a lot of time to devote to photography, if I see a place or something that can become a good photographic inspiration is to return to that place for sure. I carefully observed the dynamics always remaining attentive and vigilant can help a lot. Then a trained eye that can be refined over time and a lot of luck too.

What kind of camera do you use and which focal point do you prefer for your work and why? I used a medium format mirrorless camera, very light and manual. I used 23 and 35 mm. focal lengths but I prefer 35 mm, because this focal length is everything to do it allows me to make close-up portraits and set portraits.

Has street photography, as a genre, developed in you the ability to photograph in any light condition and to interpret everyday life situations with an appealing vision? I am not really interested in light but yes in photography, if I see a good photograph at noon or with a strong light I do it, many times it can be a good starting point for something different and interesting.

Based on what factors do you choose between black and white or color? I usually turn black and white photos when the color dominances are clear between them and especially when I decide if the project or series of photographs will be in black and white or in color.

Are you going out specifically to take photos or do you always carry your camera with you at all times, ready to shoot at any time?I always try to take my camera with me, always ready to shoot.

What is your relationship with post production and what do you think is its job in the economy of taking a photo? The relationship I have with post-production is very basic. I limit my self to adjusting a few things but that can bring out the details of the photography certainly. Made the post-production for certain types of photography has it’s great dominant but for street photography in my opinion is not necessary a post production too accurate.

Chiang Mai is your playground, the city where you shoot. What it means to shoot in Thailandia ? Do you find that the subjects there have things in common that you seek? What fascinates you about this environment? What are the features that make it unique? Tell us about your typical day on the streets of this city with your camera around your neck. After several years of photographing in Chiang Mai, I was able to understand how people live and move and consequently how to photograph them without deteriorating the scene…I’m fascinated by the movements and culture of these people and the way in which they present themself in the envoirement in which they live with is totally different to the western one, in my opinion is also easier to take a pictures here because the local people are not afraid of the camera. Chiang Mai is my home is difficult to explain in words why and what fascinates me about this city, I can only say that it is magical with is traditions, markets and nice people. I usually go out for photography during the day even but I prefer the afternoon, there are several places in the city where people have different types of connections, such as markets, parks, squares and streets, where is easier to find situations and dynamics that can happen and it’s I spend a time there every day (3/4 hours). I walk a lot but I move slowly trying to be very attentive to what is happening around me, waiting for the moment or an interesting scene to photograph it. If I understand that a good photograph could come out in certain place, I try to go back several times and maybe something happen. In my opinion to be able to take good photographs of Street Photography many things are necessary: spend a lot of time in the street, passion, constancy, good composition, idea that you want to convey, trained eye and also a lot of luck.