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INTERVIEW WITH … Luigi Chighine

Researched by Roberta Pastore

LUIGI CHIGHINE

Hello! First of all, thanks a lot for this opportunity, I enrolled in “The Street Photography in the World” group in 2013 as a mere spectator and now, four years later, I am here to talk about my street own photography and this makes me quite proud.

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My name is Luigi and I was born in one of the smallest provinces of Italy, Ogliastra in Sardinia. Immediately after the university I moved to Bologna where I have been living for many years and where I carry out my physiotherapy activity. In addition to photography I am a big movie buff, I love Leconte, Von Trier, Mungiu and many other little-known directors not renamed in the mainstream cinema circuits. I think this passion helps me a lot in selecting which scenes to photograph.

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

My passion for photography was born in 2012, I was in New York for a pleasure trip and by chance I saw a photo exhibition. Returning to the hotel I thought about the photos that I had taken during the vacation and I was ashamed of them. As soon as I returned to Italy I promised myself to attend a photography course. In Bologna I had the good fortune to meet Fulvio Bugani who taught me how to photograph and how to understand photography. I attended several of his courses and workshops. In my career I have met several photographers and each of them gave me something, added a piece to my mosaic and I have treasured each meeting.

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Considering your works, Which ones marked your entrance into the world of real photography?

Photographically speaking I am very young, probably 2016 was the most important year for me and the trip to Tokyo was the turning point. Comparing with previous trips, I started with an idea already in my mind, with a design, this also thanks to two photographer friends, Simona and Roberto, who insisted so much for me to create of a portfolio and not just single shot on its own. Making “street photography” in Tokyo was really fun and challenging.

 

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 How do you manage colour and B & W?

I use both: just think that I started photographing pretending that colour did not exist, I shot in black and white “jepg” format so not having the opportunity to change my mind in post-production. With the passing of time I discovered the photos from Webb and I started to appreciate colour. During the last year, I have mainly taken photos in colour even if black white remains my favourite style. Why? It has a charm and a romance that the colour cannot recreate.

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Which kind of camera do you use?

I use a Nikon D700 and prefer to use a 24mm or 28mm lens. The 28mm allows me to practically go inside the scene, with the 24mm I stay afar and I take in as many details as possible.

 

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

In principle, a photo must communicate something, it must create an emotion. When dealing with the pictures, the first impression is the decisive one, the one that triggers the reaction … and I am always reminded of a quote by Erwitt

 “The key point is take the picture so that then there is no need to explain it in words”

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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?

Generally, I like to study the places where I am shooting and to remain stationed until something interesting happens. In some cases, you know right away if there is something going on, If the right light and the players you are looking for, will present themselves. In these cases, I am hypervigilant and ready to shoot. I am very patient and I often go to the same places several times until I get the shot I want.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

I could make a very long list, I will only mention Erwitt, Bresson, Meyerowitz and Webb, of the latter I love his compositions, I like to lose myself in his photos. Among the new authors, I follow Matt Stuart and I was quite impressed by the work of Giulio Di Sturco on the Ganges, the cleanliness of his images is enviable.

 

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What was your first camera?

I started with an entry level one, a Nikon D5100 with a 35 mm prime lens and an average 16/85 mm zoom.

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

Photography with a click can stop time, capture the fleeting moment, arouse emotions, revive a memory and can keep it intact over time.

What should not be? It should not be a clone stamp !

 

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

The choice is a really difficult one, but one of my favourites is a picture of Bresson, taken in Seville, here it is: It ‘a photo in the photo, it is amazing!

 What is your favourite technique?

 As I said earlier, I like to work with 24 or 28 mm lenses and I am a fanatic of composition and image cleanliness. In 99% of the cases I work with the camera completely set to manual. Last year I have enjoyed working at high ISO and aperture, with low exposure times, to enhance blacks, lights and the contrasts that come out of the scene I was shooting.

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Why do street photography?

“Street Photography” represents what we see every day, it documents emotions, relationships, everyday events in which human beings are the protagonists. Of “Street Photography” I love the spontaneity of the subjects I shoot, that almost all the times do not realize that I am photographing them. When you go out in the street you never know what you could see and often in the same place the protagonists will change, I love this unpredictability.

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

My favourite shot is dated 2014 and I did in Istanbul on the Asian side. I had chosen a spot that liked a lot even if environmental conditions were not the best, it was raining and very cold.

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Finally, the blue hour came, I felt that something was going to happen: a woman, dressed in red with red umbrella came. I was at the limit of the reach of my 24 mm, she lowered her umbrella and covered her face making me happy. The covering of the face gave her a touch of mystery that I often try to have in my photos, while the atmosphere and rain gave to the scene that almost melancholy feeling that I like a lot.

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

I try to be as chameleon-like as possible and I adapt myself to the subject I am shooting and above all to the places I visit. While choosing, and staking out places, I try to be as inconspicuous as possible because I think that you will always have to try to steal your shot. Comparing it to “Photo reportage” you are not obliged to make contact with the subjects, it is a colder relationship and you can afford to be ruthless. Sometimes it happens that my presence is noticed, then the first thing to do is to make a smile then … we will see.

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