Interview with…Simone Morelli


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

Until a few years ago, I would have never imagined I would grew fond of photography. Over time, this art form has become a passion of mine and the language through which I can finally express myself. Before approaching photography, I had tried to give free rein to my creativity through writing, but once I entered the world of photography, I understood that this was the best way, so much so that it almost became an obsession.

  • Who are the masters of photography who inspired you in your photographic works?

I started shooting photos out of curiosity and before approaching the masters of photography I developed my own style. I lived for a few years in Stockholm and at that time I was gifted a Russian analogue camera with which I started shooting, trying above all to immortalize the human figure, therefore preferring people as subjects of my shots. Subsequently I started to approach the masters of photography who intrigued me and later inspired me: from Trent Parke to Joel Meyerowitz, Josef Koudelka, and then Gerry Winogrand, James Natchway and finally Marco Pesaresi

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

I am fond of photo books, a passion that was transmitted to me by a very important person, a point of reference, my teacher Stefano Mirabella. He made me enthused and opened my eyes to a specific photographic style, Street Photography. Another fundamental person in my photographic journey is my friend Perry Hall, from whom I learned the basic notions of development and printing of analog films. Photography remains for me an expressive language in all respects, a different way of telling myself, to make myself known to others. Photography has made me more sensitive, it has given me the opportunity to reflect and pay attention to small things, also through the works of other photographers. This should be an opportunity that everyone should have, so that they are more aware of the world we live in.

  • Taking a shot on the street can sometimes be difficult; coping with people’s reactions or making sure that they are not invasive in the various situations that arise is not always easy. What is your approach in these circumstances?

Taking street photos is not easy task because in some occasions we run into one of the innumerable reactions that an individual can have. This also depends on the place of belonging of the subject, city or village; if we are in Italy, Japan or India, the subject’s approach toward the street photographer can vary, but often even being in your own city, the reactions can be different from person to person.

However, the shooting moment itself does not cause me problems, I even like finding myself in difficult situations, where I still take the shot in a natural way without hiding. I am a photographer and I don’t need and want to hide it, and if someone does not accept the fact that I took a picture of him, I try to motivate the subject and make him understand my intentions, showing some of my shots saved on my smart phone, in a cordial and smiling way. This approach of mine has often helped me and allowed me to have further interaction with the subjects I shoot.

  • In recent years Street Photography has taken hold, many photographers are dedicated to this genre. What do you think is the reason why many prefer to shoot on the street?

Internet and social platforms have given photography a way to emerge. Street Photography has caught on, compared to other styles, precisely because the “street” is within everyone’s reach and also because it is possible to use different tools for this kind of photography, from the optical bench to the Smart Phone. It remains a style that can be approached with ease, capturing moments of life without inordinate preparation and no posed shoot. The important thing is to get involved and be surprised by everyday life.

  • What is the element that differentiates it from other genres?

Street photography it’s different from other styles because it’s always spontaneous and usually no one is posing for the shot (even if it’s not always like this). The photographer must be able to read the scene regardless the situation in front of him and create a composition, therefore take a nice shot.

  • Which subjects inspire you and urge you to look for the shot in the city where you live or in the places you frequent?

My favourite subjects are people, I like to observe them, capture the expressions and attitudes of mankind, but I do not disdain a beautiful landscape or the animal world, everything that is life for me is very attractive.

  • What is the limit that should not be crossed in a street photo. Are there ethical rules or is it allowed to take everything back?

Reading texts on photography and the observation of the work of other photographers has made me aware of the fact that we can photograph anything and any type of situation. Photographing details, or peering with a telephoto lens through an illuminated window or in a park in the night can be equally surprisingly. Certainly, photography has limits that must respect ethical rules that assure that none is harmed in any way. My showing off during the shot is therefore a desire to make the subject participate in what I am doing.

  • What makes a street photo effective? Can you recognize, when you’re on the street, the details that can make a good snapshot of a good photograph?

Answering is quite complicated; I could say, yes, I know what makes a street photo a good photo, but it is difficult to explain it, because the subjects, the shots and the framing styles you can choose are truly infinite. I could therefore answer like this: a good framing, a subject of great impact or a situation of great impact, or both together. The other element is certainly the emotion that taking a shot gives me, for example I love the feeling I have when the subject looks into the camera.

  • Has Street Photography as a genre developed in you the attitude to interpret everyday situations with an original vision and your own style?

I don’t like to keep the same style, I also like to approach the shoots with different tools, often changing the camera and using different types of films, I even use sometimes a “pinhole camera”. I can shot landscapes, portraits and other styles and I tend to change often the point of view. I consider myself an experimenter on photography.

  • In a street photo, do you think that the contrasts of light are important for telling a story or are they just an aesthetic fact?

The light’s contrasts may be important for telling a story, it depends, if the content of the shoot is good and the photo “speaks up”: so it can be more than a mere and aesthetic element and be decisive for the success of a photo.

  • After the shot, what are the actions you take in terms of processing and editing?

I usually shot film, and I want to focus on the action I’m trying to catch on camera, so I prefer to wait to see the picture and let it rest. In this way I can go back to it after a while and watch it with a clearer mind and a rested eye: I do this because I love to take the picture with my mind and only then with the camera. For example I worked on my last project with a digital camera, but to follow my philosophy on shooting I covered the camera’s screen with a piece of cardboard.

Do you prefer black and white shots or color?

Normally I love to shoot in black and white, but sometimes I also enjoy the color even if it ends up distracting me. My vision is in black and white.

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

Yes. My latest project, for example, was born by chance at a time when I was uninspired. Reviewing my old shots, I was struck by a photo that I had never given much attention to. The subject was an elderly lady, with an absorbed look watching out of a small bus window. That photo gave way for my “In The Bubble” project.

  • Many times we look at the photos we have taken over the years. Is there one you are particularly attached to and why?

Yes, there are, but all of them are photos that I have not yet taken. These are the shots that perhaps we all have inside and remain etched within us and make us want to go further and try to improve ourselves, trying to tell ourselves to others. I think a photographer is egocentric but also very shy.

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