Tag Archives: events

INTERVIEW WITH… ALESSANDRO SCHIARITI

Researched by Roberta Pastore

ALESSANDRO SCHIARITI

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How important is photography for you? Would you have imagined a few years ago that this passion would have played such an important role in your life today?

 Photography is very important to me. I started shooting around the age of 20 and since then everything that has come into my life is linked to photography: passions, my life path, friendships. The first contact with a camera was casual, it started from scratch. The work experience in a tourist village gave me the opportunity to see reality in a different way, developing an interest for photography I never had before. I was not yet aware of how much in the future photography would have shaped me as a human being.

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Who are the photographers that inspire you or have inspired you in your photographic work?

I approached street photography only recently, and my past references come from other photographic styles and venues. I love the work of Dragan, Eolo Perfido (with reference to portraiture), Erwin Olaf. With street photography my references have expanded. I love using Meyerowitz’s colour and its mystery; the “ordered” chaos of Alex Webb, his composition and obviously once again in this case the exceptional use of colour; I am fascinated by the geometries of Henri Cartier-Bresson; the organic, instinctive and almost “physiological” photography of Moriyama. I do not always find it necessary to try to include in my photographs the style of photographers that I appreciate, but I think that their teachings and training cues can be seen in my work.

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

By all means, Sure! I am strongly convinced that art should be the right balance between individual passions and the culture of those who preceded us by writing its specific story. Every artistic current traces a path and we cannot ignore any of them if we want to pursue coherent stylistic discourses. The difficulty lies in knowing how to balance external influences, discipline and one’s emotional point of view. I like watching the works of great artists. I often research for video material where you can observe great photographers at work, trying to snatch their teachings. Watching for 10 minutes Meyerowitz as he moves through the crowd can teach us a lot more than expensive, sometimes useless, courses.

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What is your approach with the camera when you find yourself photographing strangers on the street?

Taking a shot in the street can sometimes be difficult, dealing with people’s reaction is not always easy. In this phase of my stylistic research, I am fascinated by a certain type of light and shadows. Shooting with such amount of light allows me to use the zonal fire without worries. Shooting with this technique is so fast that people often do not realize they are being photographed. I am a discreet and reserved person and I do not like contact with those I do not know, so I try to move in a sort of invisibility. However, I do believe that this sort of paranoia, linked to the unknown, is more a result of our collective imagination than of reality, people often know how to amaze us; sometimes a smile is enough to avoid rejections.

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In recent years, Street Photography has boomed, what do you think it’s due to? And what evolution has there been?
I think this is due to several factors. The first one is the birth and development of the social networks, which have revolutionized the way we relate to each other; we are constantly in contact with each other and anxious to show ourselves to others. The second factor is that, since George Eastman with his Kodak has made photography affordable for everyone, to date we have had a huge development in technology and photographic culture. “Everybody” has a camera available (now even smartphones are sold as powerful cameras as well as telephone devices). This phenomenon has cleared, for better or for worse, the concept of photography “for everyone”. Furthermore, a positive side of the Social platforms is the presence of a whole series of initiatives, thematic groups and links to web showcase opportunities that facilitate the dissemination of the culture of photography and, in particular, of Street Photography all over the world. Street Photography is experiencing a new era, one where we can all confront each other. One just has to be extremely careful not to be swallowed, trying to get some clear points of reference.

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Rome is a city of a thousand faces: from the degradation of certain suburbs to the beauty of its monuments. How do you see your city? Which are the subjects, both as people and places, that inspire you more and urge you to look for the shot, or which do you think represent this city better?

I believe that the interest in the subjects is intimately tied to the stylistic and artistic research that a photographer makes in a given period of his life. For a while I’ve been interested in a certain type of pictorial photography, using certain lights and certain colours. I am fascinated by the silence that a photo can give off under certain circumstances. The ability of the shadows to “swallow” humanity. The elegance of the eternal city combined with the evanescence of human figures often not too well defined. Sometimes I use shadows to hide faces and depersonalize the subjects of my photos. Right now, I’m working on a photographic project entitled “identity”, which plays with shadows and lights. I do not think that, in “Street photography”, the human being should necessarily be the exclusive subject but I believe instead that it is often important to create a symbiotic relationship between the human being and the road. Everything framed in the shot for me is the subject. On the other hand, when I move to the outskirts of my city, my attention is focused more on the human being as such, in a more realistic dimension than the poetic and surreal atmosphere of the centre of Rome. The road leads my feelings, I realize now in answering this question. Rome is a city that can make a huge palette of colours and feelings available to a photographer. Heterogeneous, chaotic, elegant and loutish at the same time.

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What, then, makes a street photo effective? Can you quickly recognize the details that can make a good photo out of a simple shot?

The composition: the photographer must be able to perfectly manage the elements within the frame, even destroying the rules if you have shoulders broad enough to do it. Stylistic research and the culture of the image. The “key element “, that element that is the keystone that supports the whole image. Often It can be almost imperceptible, the task of composition is to make its effect be fully felt; the feeling, the art and the emotion that, paradoxically, can sometimes also be simulated and constructed at a table, in some other occasions, they can be absolutely genuine. In my opinion, the biggest challenge for an artist is to balance rationality and irrationality. But perhaps this last factor is more what makes the difference between good photography and great photography.

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Is there something unique about street photography that differentiates it from other genres?

I believe that all types of photography, if studied in dept, can lead to unique discoveries. However, I consider “Street photography” the photographic genre par excellence. Not the first born historically, but probably the one that has best been able to tell the human being and his relationship with the context in which he lives.

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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?

Surely not. I am a professional photographer and I have learned to shoot with every kind of light and in all circumstances, and if the light is not there, I bring it from “home”. The customer must always have a finished product of quality. This is an imperative. In the “Street”, when I do not have a “commercial” obligation to shoot, I search for certain types of light and subjects and I do not feel inspired in conditions that do not belong to my current vision of photography. Surely in other phases I will be able to be attracted to something else, but I must say that in street photography I have never felt forced to shoot in any kind of condition. As for a captivating vision, the answer is yes. Of course I always try to show something different, showing the ordinary as extraordinary fascinates me deeply .

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 In a street picture, do you think the contrasts of light are important to tell a story or are just an aesthetic fact?

They are not important to me, as it is not using a flash, or preferring black and white to colour. They are “only” stylistic elements, and each photographer has his own. The important thing is the stylistic coherence and how the various elements concur to create a “signature”. I strongly believe that the “aesthetic” factor, seen as synergy and coherence between stylistic elements, is fundamental in art in general. Otherwise the history of art would have no reason to exist.

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Which are the limits of ethics in a street picture, or is it possible to shoot everything?
I believe that the limit is directly proportional to the artistic value of the work and the artist. I find it senseless that when a clueless photographer takes the classic photo to a homeless just because he is a subject that can accumulate some more “likes” on the social medias. When we talk about documentary photography, on the other hand, the story is different; a genre in which we can narrate any kind of event, is, not only, acceptable but it certainly becomes very important. In Street Photography it is not mandatory to tell an event, it is a choice of the photographer whether to do it or not. Act freely while keeping in mind some limitations.

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In general, it is increasingly common to use smartphones to take photos. And there are also those who consider their smartphones very seriously as photographic gear. What do you think about it? Do you use (or have you tried to use) a smartphone for your photos?

I tried for fun . That said there are cell phones that make great photos and also, I believe that with the mastery of composition and style you can take good pictures with any means. M.C. Brown with a cell phone, took exceptional war reportage photos. For sure it is an instrument that allows you to be invisible and this is a huge advantage for street photography. The problem is that having one of these infernal gadgets in your hands gives the conviction to be “photographers”. Another big problem is that this kind of photography is often accompanied by a culture of post-production and commercial filters that completely distort the philosophy of street photography. The problem is not the medium itself, but the culture that derives from it.

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According to your experience, it is useful to make a print of your photos, and why?

 I find it fundamental for several reasons. The first one is that the print gives a much more concrete sense of the space contained within the frame: some photos I frame with a white “passepartout/border” to have a space that surrounds and contains the photo, also training the eye to be able to complete the framing operation. A common mistake is to focus only on the subject portrayed and not to consider that the subject is only a part of the photo. Printing helps to acquire this awareness. Photos become beautiful when defined clearly in space. Another approach is to print only a few photos, which I perceive have “something” more than the rest of my production. This helps me to understand which stylistic path I am taking, how I grew up and in which direction. I have a series of frames on the wall where I often change photos, watching them helps me to grow.

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Black white or colour?

Personally, at the present, I am fascinated by colour, but at the same time I love black and white. These are two totally different way to shoot: if I do not have good light I prefer black and white, with which geometry stands out and also colour can often distract. But if I have a scene with good light and colours that give dynamism and depth to the image I have no doubts, I shoot using colour. The choice between black and white and colour is about composition: with the colour you add an extra dimension that should not be left to chance. When I use colour, I use it with the utmost respect, using it without giving it the proper consideration can be catastrophic. Black and white, on the other hand, can be used in a more instinctive way, showing off the geometric composition. B/W or colour is a choice that must be made during shooting and not in post-production.

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What equipment do you use and how much does the equipment count in street photography?

 A Fuji X100T, a good camera with its strengths and its faults. Equipment matters a lot. Surely a camera that allows you to use high ISO values helps in a genre where the use of a closed diaphragms and of fast shutter speeds are valuable. It is a genre where even the shape of the medium that is used is important, this to be less conspicuous. I believe that the fundamental thing is not the camera used but how well you known such camera. We must dominate it, know what its strengths are, what are the critical elements and use also these to build a good image. We should remember that the great authors that often inspire us used technologies much less performing than the ones we have today. How many not exactly technically perfect photos affect us and steal our soul? The equipment has a fundamental impact on our work but the quality of photography is not directly proportional to the price of our camera. Beyond an economic discourse, the equipment also influences the point of view; shooting with a reflex or a Rolleiflex, as Vivian Maier, changes the compositional point of view and also changes the “psychology” of a photo and the message that sends to the observer. Just as shooting with a 50 mm or a 28 mm would.

PERSONAL LINK

http://alessandroschiariti.wixsite.com/photographer/street-photography

 

INTERVIEW WITH… MASSIMILIANO VECCHI

 

Researched by Roberta Pastore

MASSIMILIANO VECCHI

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How important is photography for you? Would you have imagined a few years ago that this passion would have played such an important role in your life today?

Photography was probably the biggest surprise of my life. It has revolutionized my time and many of my habits. I discovered it by chance no more than 6 years ago and since then my way of looking at things has completely changed. It all started by reading some of my father’s photo books: they talked about photography, they cited Bresson, Steve Mc Curry and told life through photography. I had never picked up the camera until the age of twenty-five, then one day the chance encounter and that train not to be missed, which started at full speed.

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Who are the photographers that inspire you or have inspired you in your photographic work?

I understood the greatness of street photography after attending a photographic exhibition by Alex Webb. I had photographed very little and my focus was mainly on the study of the photographic medium. I did not know what street photography was and I had no idea who Alex and Rebecca Webb were, but I will never forget the warmth of the shades, the photographic story, the faces of the people, the compositions so studied and complex. I owe so much to that vision, perhaps everything.

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

Definitely I am. It is an integral part of the study and the development of a refined and personal style. I have dozens of texts on street photography and on the visual and on mental approach to photography. They are my bible and source of inexhaustible ideas. In this case too, the hand of Alex Webb was fundamental. The book “Street photography and poetic image” has deeply marked my path in street photography.

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Taking a shot in the street can sometimes be difficult, dealing with people’s reaction is not always easy. What is your approach with the camera when you find yourself photographing strangers on the street?

Often, mistakenly, we think of the street photography as something simple, within everyone’s reach: but this is not the case. Blame the speed of social networks and our own superficiality. Looking for a work of impact and effectiveness, in the street, is among the most difficult things that a photographer may have to do and you have to do your best to transform a trivial vision into a unique and unrepeatable shot. I like being at the centre of the scene (no, I’m not self-centred!) because I think that only in this way you are really invisible and mixed with the reality you want to shoot. People’s reaction has never scared me, in fact, sometimes it’s what I’m looking for: street photography has the power to move persons’ consciences and connect peoples and different cultures.

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In recent years, Street Photography has boomed, what do you think it’s due to? And what evolution has there been?

In my opinion there are two factors that have contributed to the boom of this photographic genre: the social network and the incredibly affordable costs. Precisely in this sense I would speak of evolution and involution at the same time. While the lowering of costs and the freedom to approach have facilitated learning, on the other hand the web has led to an excess of information that is causing a flattening of the general photographic level and to the increase of a state of confusion and superficiality around this complex photographic genre. The real evolution is inside the street photographer who searches for a profound approach both in technical and cultural terms each and every day.

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How do you see your city? Which are the subjects, both as people and places, that inspire you more and urge you to look for the shot, or which do you think represent this city better?

Living in Rome, today, is not simple at all and in this specific historical moment, street photography has certainly proved to be a great support and a valid companion of adventures, helping me to find new stimuli every day, to survive the speed and difficulties involved in living in a big city. I have always studied my compositions without caring too much about the physical space available but looking everywhere for a creative and personal vision of what surrounds me. If we want to name some specific places, having always lived in the suburbs, the local markets are certainly among my favourite locations where to find interesting situations of daily life. In conclusion I would say that I do not have subjects and places that inspire me more than others but I believe that street photography is really possible in every corner and (almost) in every moment.

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What, then, makes a street photo effective? Can you quickly recognize the details that can make a good photo out of a simple shot?

I ask myself that whenever I come in contact with a particular vision. What strikes me strongly, in most cases, are the complex compositions, rich in information and cues where the subjects are amalgamated with harmony and warmth to the urban context. I am fascinated by the dense images, which are able to tell a story and bring back the mind to events that have occurred or have being dreamed of. I love the colour, the eyes of the people and the subjects that create movement and questions. I am enchanted by a simple gesture blended perfectly with the elements of the city. I take pleasure in carefully observing the “right light” that I find fundamental in two moments of the day: sunrise and sunset. To conclude, I do not believe there are elements that are more effective than others. The important thing is how one mixes the various elements that go to compose our shot.

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Is there something unique about street photography that differentiates it from other genres?

Street Photography is a unique photographic genre that I would call almost magical. Nothing is prepared in the street and everything programmed in advance can be reversed in a fraction of a second. The success of a shot depends on the union of an innumerable number of factors that converge in the same fraction of a second, which makes it a really difficult and complex photographic genre in every situation. If we add to that the fact that the street tells about ourselves, about our time and that the people portrayed are photographed in their total naturalness, well … we are certainly talking about the most beautiful and difficult photographic genre that exists!

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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?

As already anticipated, in the street, I take photos almost exclusively in two lighting conditions: sunrise and sunset. I exclude a priori the conditions with light perpendicular to the scene, a situation in which the shadows exaggeratedly cut the possible subjects and the urban context is cold and uncovered. I prefer when the light is completely directed on the subject and the colours take shape and heat. Shadows and contrasts take on a softer appearance and everything becomes more magical. The direct light unveils many details of the scene and since I always use the hyperfocal method, I can give the photo character and strength. As for the “catchy vision” instead, the answer is positive. The development of an always ready and creative eye is at the base of all my work. For me photography is an expression of creativity and fantasy in its pure state.

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In a street picture, do you think the contrasts of light are important to tell a story or are just an aesthetic fact?

They are important, fundamental, if the final composition is constructive and able to tell one. Elements dictated by a technical choice (i.e. very closed diaphragm) or by a post-production that helps to enhance subjects and elements within the shot. If used poorly they become obvious and trivial, especially if inserted in a context that is poor in terms of interesting elements: as in the case of photos of a profile in the shadow and nothing next to it, which have become a standard that all (or almost all) photographers, in a way or in the other, sooner or later, end up to work with.

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Tiburtina Anti Fascista

Which are the limits of ethics in a street picture, or is it possible to shoot everything?

In my opinion, none. The limit is within the measure of respect that a street photographer has and will always have for each subject that he will be shooting. A subject that will always be the main source of every work of the true street photographer.

In general, it is increasingly common to use smartphones to take photos. And there are also those who consider their smartphones very seriously as photographic gear. What do you think about it? Do you use (or have you tried to use) a smartphone for your photos?

I used the smartphone in the street only once and it was also the last one. I do not want to make a speech about practicality of use, nor about approach or quality of the final result, but more simply I cannot get what I want with this type of instruments. Maybe it’s a technical limit of mine, maybe it’s just a matter of practicality and of the feeling achieved using one medium rather than another. I hate too much electronic, I always shoot in manual mode preferring the zonal and hyperfocal focusing methods. I prefer to look for the correct setting through the mechanical gears on my machine, which I find to be perfect

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According to your experience, it is useful to make a print of your photos, and why?

Not only useful, I find it fundamental. The photographer must touch his own work, observe the result in a practical and direct way. I also remember this as a mistake that I have corrected by gaining experience. It took me some time to fully understand this topic but every doubt was dispelled after printing some photos for the first time. We cannot observe our work exclusively from the monitors of our PC or on the screens of our smartphones that leave out lots of details in our photos and show us tones and colours always distant from the reality photographed. We must always print our works!

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Black white or colour?

My eyes, my mind and my heart see with colours. I have understood this in time, gaining experience in the field. It is a path that is taken with logic, studying oneself and one’s own way of observing and understanding things. I started to get interested in photography by shooting in analogue on an Ilford XT400 and I switched to digital while continuing to work promiscuously in colour and in black and white. I won the first recognition of my life with a black and white shot and I never imagined that colour would become so important. I find stimulating the search for a complex and particular vision within a vast but balanced chromatic scale able to surprise the observer. What really interests me is to be able to transform something ordinary into something extraordinary, leaving in it as many elements as possible close to the observed reality.

What equipment do you use and how much does the equipment count in street photography? How much does the equipment with which you shoot influence the final result? Based on what factors do you choose it?

I use a small mirrorless Fuji camera, the X70 which mounts a fixed lens equivalent to a 28mm with f2.8. A machine that often goes unnoticed and that makes me particularly invisible in the street, helping me to stay in the middle of the scene for as long as necessary to capture the desired moment. It has had a decisive influence on my growth, especially with regard to the research of the desired composition and the colour management, that I find wonderful with the new Fuji sensor. The fixed 28mm, as well as any fixed focal length dedicated to street (I would say up to 50mm), “forces” the photographer to search and “reason” the shot transforming him into a “real life” hunter. On which base I choose my equipment? Simple, I do not choose it: in the street I have the little Fuji always with me, while for events I use equipment dedicated to this genre. In my case, a Canon 6D and a wide range of lenses complete the tools at my disposal.

Can you tell us how you made this specific photo ? What was the post production work on this image?

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It is difficult to choose a single photo. Beyond the technical aspect and the final result that may absolutely not be striking, I believe that a street photo is an image that can tell more than a single story in a frame. In addition to the visual story that emerges from the observation of a shot there are photos that have a lot to tell in their “behind the scenes”. As with the case of this shot made in April 2016 in Rome. It’s a shot that I remember with particular pleasure and will always carry in my heart not only for the shoot itself but for the situations that led to the completion of the image. It was a beautiful sunny day in Rome after days of incessant rain. I went out into the street with the desire to “stop” some history. A project I had in my mind for a while and that lead me to browse around an old local market. I lurked near one of the entrances where the light filtered in the desired direction and the composition was getting interesting. I waited a few minutes in the hope that a subject would leave in the desired position. I took a few empty shots, then I missed one, a subject too much in shadow and so on, the shot did not arrive. I remained there for a while, without anything happening before my eyes. I had not looked into the market and I had no idea of what could happen in a short while. I was immobile in front of the scene, warmed by the spring sun, I was waiting for something to take life. Just when I thought everything was fading, at sudden the road becomes a theatre of emotions and surprises: a lady approached the entrance with a slow pace, also dictated by some physical problem and held out a hand in an empty space. In an instant a second hand popped right in the middle of my composition. He was a homeless man lying at the entrance of the market. In an instant, everything stopped. Those are the moments when I think that “street photography” is the most beautiful thing a photographer can get to work with. The scene took shape in a single moment right in front of my eyes and I was able to capture it. This represents for me a very clear concept of what street photography is all about. An unpredictable genre where you must never be caught unprepared and behind every corner something unique can happen, something that can transform a simple moment of everyday life into an image that will stay with you forever. I worked on this photo as I usually do, using the raw format development. Having shot with a very closed diaphragm (f11 if I remember correctly) and a very fast shutter speed (1/500) the shadows were very closed, just as I like it. I corrected the colours selectively until I got the desired result and I gave clarity to the highlights through the correction of tonal values, again raw format development.

Which is the technique you use in post-production? Is it always the same for all images?

In my street photographs, I do use the same technique. I always adopt the same, fast and personal workflow after finding and studying the right setting between the camera and “camera raw” software. I hate pre-made filters, I work with extreme care on the colour tone to get a balanced result and as and close to reality as possible, obviously taking advantage of the right exposure of the photo to the light for me more suitable. I like photos that have character, clearly contrasted but never exaggerated.

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How often do you print your photographs? Do you have any site or place of reference for printing digital photos?

I’m not a serial printer and I prefer to bring only the works I consider most appropriate on paper. I print all the photos that deserve to be observed, both those where the result is convincing and those where some errors did not allow me to appreciate the final photo. Initially I printed online, on classic sites. Then, with experience, I began to refine the result using the collaboration of some specialized laboratories in Rome. The result was immediately amazing. So, I started to fall in love with my own colours and to refine more and more the shooting technique and how to work with photography.

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 PERSONAL LINK :

http://www.massimilianovecchi.com/

https://www.instagram.com/massimiliano_vecchi_photo/?hl=it

https://m.facebook.com/Massimiliano.Vecchi.Archivio.Fotografico/?ref=bookmarks

 

Interview with… Andrea Boccone

Researched by Roberta Pastore

ANDREA BOCCONE

Gaetano

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

Absolutely not.

Up until fifteen years ago, when I heard about photography, I instinctively thought of holidays or birthday parties’ pics only. My first true interest in photography started with National Geographic Magazine and from then on, things have changed.  However, I always shot at alternating stages, but three years ago, following my own personal journey, I started shooting with different eyes, trying to crystallize what was exciting me. As I am not a professional photographer, today photography for me has a cathartic role: camera and long walks wash away all pains.

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What photographers most inspire or have inspired you in your photographic works?

HCB, Gilden, Scianna were definitely the main references in my approach to Street Photography. But, above all, the major influence is that of Daido Moriyama. When I first saw “Stray Dog,” it was a fist in my stomach. I had somehow found what I had sought until then in the Street Photography. Unlike others, in Moriyama’s shots the visual impact is massive: vignetting, strong contrasts and blur. For someone like me, who is not a photographer but a walker with a camera, Moriyama is the perfect inspiration.

Nobody Loves Me Here

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

I have several books of great photographers. Photographic practice is – after all –  easy to learn; the real difficulty is to have the “scene in your eyes”. I think the only real training each of us should do, is to look at photographs, lots of photographs. In a historical moment whereas we are overwhelmed by digital images sliding in front of us, a book of photographs is always the best choice.

Travel Agency

Sunny Lady

 

Sometimes taking a shot in the street could be difficult and dealing with people’s reactions is not always easy.

What is your approach with your camera when you are shooting unknown people in the street? This is a problem for many photographers: how do you manage it or how did you overcome it?

Perhaps this is the most difficult question to answer, as it always depends on where you shoot. It is easy to do it in crowded places, especially downtown, but it is less easy to shoot in suburbs. Even nowadays in Rome, a camera always causes stir and it is a paradox inasmuch as we are surrounded by security cameras and smartphones. However, with the zone focus and not the autofocus, I can be quick enough to shoot and be almost invisible. As I said before, I always walk and I never stop; it is difficult for me to stand in one place and wait for the right moment; I pass by and shoot. Sometimes, I do not even bring it to my eyes; I try to see in advance what will come out. A prime lens, in those cases, helps a lot.

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Monte Testaccio

In recent years, Street Photography has had a boom. What do you think is it due to? And what evolution has it been? 

In my opinion, it is because most of the people think Street Photography is – after all – easy to approach. You do not need photographic studios or models to shoot, as you do not even need to travel around the world. Actually, it is not as simple as it seems. Since when I came close to Street Photography, I realized that the most important thing to do is go back home and delete most of the shots. If there is no visual/emotional short circuit around, it is not enough to take photos in the street to make a good street photography.

I mainly shoot in black and white, sometimes in color. Lately, however, there are so many color shots and black and white is used more as a recovery for a mediocre shot.  I believe the real problem is the photographic massification: I see so many colleagues taking photos continuously, always changing style and subjects. Maybe this is not an evolution.

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Caffetteria

Rome is a city with a thousand faces: from the degradation of certain suburbs to the beauty of its monuments.

Rome is a city made up of many small towns, each one different from the other one. It is as if they were all pieces of a badly-crafted puzzle: you cross the street and walk moving from churches to 70’s horrifying buildings, you turn around the corner and see flyovers passing just two meters far from houses. Making Street Photography in Rome is not so easy: you can risk falling into the banal with the usual “postcard” photo. It also lacks a whole piece of modern architecture that today is predominant in many shots made in other metropolises. Nevertheless, Rome is also the city you never stop discovering, especially in small things and people living in it.

Carlo

Don Giovanni

Which subjects, both as people and places inspire you the most as they best represent this city and stimulate you to shoot?

Let’s first say what I’m not interested in shooting: the Tourist Rome you can find in postcards. Instead, I am interested in people who live their everyday lives, together with all difficulties of a disorganized and unloved city. I believe that in many of my shots, you can clearly distinguish melancholy and sadness: two moods you can find in the faces of people you meet in the street. Perhaps because they are two moods I also live a lot. . It’s as if we were all isolated from each other, yet in contact with us. Here it is, I try to shoot those contacts.

Gnam!

Reflex

What makes a street photo effective? Can you quickly recognize details that can make a simple shoot a good photo?

I just talked about short-circuit visual, but it’s a forcing. Actually, what really strikes me is the emotional impact a particular image can arouse. There are lots of technically perfect street photos, where lights, exposure, composition, colors, are perfect. But they are aseptic. I prefer a “dirty” but emotionally disruptive photo.

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Do you think is there something unique in the street photography that distinguishes it from other genres?

The human component in its deepest nature. That nature that no one will ever be able to encode in a universal scheme, as each of us is a unique piece.

Too young for fun

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 Street Photography as a genre has developed in you the ability to photograph in any light condition and to interpret situations of everyday life with a captivating vision, or do you prefer particular times or certain light situations? In other words: how much light affects your style?

Street Photography has developed, even amplified in me, the aptitude to observe. Going forward, I have experienced different ways of shooting (from lights and shadows to color) but, in the end, I always return to my natural vocation: black and white and strong contrasts.

Warm Sun

I discovered with the exercise that, if you want to play with the light, you have to be able to predict what will happen. Sadly, having not much spare time, when I can get around I have to settle for the light I find but, having the choice, I should prefer the morning or early afternoon bright light. It creates beautiful shadows and gives three-dimensional shots.

Black And White

Is there an ethical limit in a street photo, a limit forcing you not to photograph a subject or situation? Or should it always be permissible to shoot everything in the name of the right of chronicle or in the name of “art”?

I think a limit is always needed, especially in modern photography where it always tends to sensationalize. I personally think Ando Gilardi’s “Non Fotografare” should be a rule for all of us: shooting a “disadvantaged” is taking away his dignity and when you have taken away a dignity from a man, you have taken him all away.

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You are a member of the Collective “Roma Street Photography”. Would you like to talk about it?

The RSP Collective was born from a social reality that has evolved over time, with the purpose of telling a “provincial and cosmopolitan” city such as Rome and, of course, its people. Hence, the foundation of the Collective has been a natural consequence of all the photographic work done so far. We are seven authors, each one with its own style and way of shooting, seeking to offer a different, every day vision of the city we live and love. Rome has so much to tell and we strongly believe Street Photography is the best way to do it.       

 Sito: www.abstreetphotography.com

Pagina Fb: www.facebook.com/ABStreetPhoto/

Instagram: abstreetphoto

Interview with… Elisa Tomaselli

Researched by Marco D’Aversa

ELISA TOMASELLI

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

About ten years ago, while I was spending my summer holidays in my grandmother’s town, I took some pictures which were no more than snapshots. Therefore to improve my skills, I decided to join a photography course. In 2010, after few months having completed both the basic and the advanced levels, I left photography. Last year, having a photography project in my mind, I came back to my association. 

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At the time there was an on-going project for members, so I joined it looking for some inspiration. The collective project was about trams in Rome and I started spending many hours shooting in the street. At the very beginning I had some difficulties to shoot strangers and I didn’t even know what I had to photograph, so I started spending many hours looking at the work of the greatest photographers. I worked a few times with sporting photographers but I was told I was too slow. I spent a lot of time shooting in the street to get faster and to work on the Tram project. Last spring, the collective project ended with an exposition, while the partnership with the sporting photographers didn’t go on. In any case I found my photography and the way to express myself.

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

Last year I had the occasion to meet the photographer Joan Liftin, she came to my association to show us her last work “Marseille”. I was really captured by her photos, especially the ones in which there were a couple dancing in the evening holding their little baby in their arms. I didn’t see the small baby’s head at first glimpse, his presence was a little revelation that made me understood the power of photography as a mean of communication. Ending her presentation Joan Liftin said: “This is MY Marseille” and a door was opened to me.

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How do you manage colour and B&W?

I used to shoot directly in black and white. After I discovered the amazing work of Alex Webb and William Eggleston I realized how colours could have a great impact in a photo. Colour catches the eyes, a bright hue that highlights subjects in an image, will draw a viewer in the right direction. On the other hand, black and white images appear to be more timeless than colour ones. Although removing colour from a picture helps the viewer to focus on subjects’ emotional state, I prefer using colour, opting for it any time colour is a key element in the story my photo is telling. I choose black and white when the light, form, or texture in the scene is more compelling than the hues of the subject matter.

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Which kind of camera do you use?

Last year I was looking for a small and lightweight camera and I bought a Ricoh GR II. I’m really satisfied with my choice, this camera is just what I have ever needed.

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

When I check back my photos there are some elements I take in consideration to estimate their quality as light, composition and message. I have learnt from the masters that a good photo is one in which you can smell the street, you can feel involved with subjects and you are inside the photo. A worthy image can follow either every of these aspects or none of them. Anyway, for me, the most important thing concerns the emotional impact. A good photo is the one which shows both the personal perspective of the photographer and the viewpoint of the world.

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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?

Walking in the street I shoot everything that involves me mentally, visually and spiritually, often pre-visualizing my photo. After I have chosen my best photos, I process them with Adobe Lightroom. I don’t use Adobe Photoshop because I’m both too lazy to learn it and I prefer spending my time shooting in the street rather than being behind a PC dealing with a software. I just need few controls for my photos as contrast, clarity or shadows. I usually don’t crop my frame, otherwise I will loose the quality of the photo and I will have a different perspective of it that I won’t like as a result. Above all, I don’t need to develop my photos too much, because I think that street photography is a media for photographers to express their aesthetic feeling in a genuine way.

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

Last year was a prolific one for my training. I took part in many meetings with great photographers such as Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris, Joan Liftin, Larry Fink, Alisa Resnik, Niki Nitadori and Ferdinando Scianna. I attended a workshop with an Italian Street Photography team and I also joined many photo-walks. As matter of fact, theory is essential for learning purposes, but I believe that putting photography into practice is the most important activity in order to improve your skills. My favorite and inspiring photographers, just to say few names, are Alex Webb, William Eggleston, Josef Koudelka, Bruce Gilden and Mary Ellen Mark. I also have many friends who are street photographers, whose work is always an important source of inspiration for me.

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What was your first camera?

When I took photography lessons I bought a DSLR Canon 1000D. I sold it quite soon, because I wanted a camera more powerful, so I bought a DSLR Canon 7D which I have used for a few years.

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

According to my opinion, photography is an open window through which you can observe new meanings out of reality.  My intention isn’t to be an illustrator with a camera but an interpreter of my surrounding environment.

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After all, photography neither should take snapshots with both any subject and meaning, nor be a frame making your eyes turn around anywhere.

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

One of my favourite photo is Amanda and her cousin Amy, taken by Mary Ellen Mark, where she shows us Amanda wearing earrings, a necklace and heavy eye-liner, smoking a cigarette while posing in the padding pool with her cousin Amy.

Mark emphasize the contrast between the two little girls as a representation of adulthood and childhood. While Amanda looks like a woman, the little over weight Amy, wearing a t-shirt to shelter herself from the sun, is playing in the pool light-heartedly. Furthermore, Mark shoots the photo at a very specific time, to deliberately capture Amanda while exhaling the smoke of her cigarette. This was done, to express even more the young girl rebel-like nature.

Looking at the picture you can feel isolation, the two cousins in the swimming pool seem to be shut off from everyone else. Besides, I believe that the complete contrast between the two characters shows us Amanda’s lonely and tough life. What attracts me the most of this photo, is that in one single frame you can read so many elements and meanings.      

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What is your favourite technique?

Last winter I had the great pleasure to meet Alex Webb in a photography event here in Rome so I had the occasion to know better both him as a photographer and his work. At the time following on his heels I was for bright colours and strong light and shadows. Recently, I’m working with the flash off camera, in daylight or night, and for my purposes it fits perfectly. I use both camera and flash in manual setting, because I prefer choosing the quantity and the direction of light I will have on my subjects. I like shooting close to people so I don’t use zoom lens which would give me a voyeuristic perception, which isn’t my target.

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Why do street photography?

As I’ve said before, I started shooting in the street by sheer chance but it was my way to know photography. Now I’m particularly involved in street photography. It is quite challenging, it takes a lot of luck because you never know what you will find on any given day or if you will find anything at all. Sometimes it is a serendipity. Shooting people gives me the possibility to know the world around me, it lets me feel more into life. By taking photos with my camera I can get new meanings from the ordinary world, realizing iconic images which are able to communicate without language boundaries.

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

The shot that better represents what street photography is for me and why I’m involved with it, it is the one with the hand in the dark. My shots aren’t often linked to a particular place or time but to an emotional impact.

When I took this shot, the atmosphere was relaxed and joyful. In the crowd I caught these two characters out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t think that much but I took the shot immediately because their mood was a lot in contrast with the surrounding, as if they were in their own world. What I enjoy more about photography is to find non-ordinary life in an ordinary world. (((((More than people I photograph a translation of something I already know.)))))

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

I don’t know the people I shoot, I don’t talk to them. I usually walk in the same streets, I don’t focus on the shortcoming of the place, but rather on the possibilities. It doesn’t matter where I am, I’m more interested in wandering and experiencing life than in taking photos.

PERSONAL WEB SITE :

https://www.flickr.com/photos/140819514@N06/

https://www.facebook.com/elisatomaselli.fotografia

 

Interview with… 深津友成 (Tomonari Fukatsu)

Researched by Roberta Pastore

深津友成 (Tomonari Fukatsu)

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Going back to in time how was your passion for photography born?
There was nothing special that triggered me to start “photography”. I just gradually felt like taking pictures little by little.  But to stretch it a little, it might be the earlier time when I started to let my photos be shown to anybody openly, taking advantage of SNS.
 
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Considering your works, which ones marked your entrance in the world of real photography? 
 
Personally I don’t think that any of my works marked my entrance in the world of real photography. I still need some more time to feel so.
 
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How do you manage color and b&w?
 
It’s quite a natural thing for me to choose color when I feel like like expressing about colors themselves. Otherwise I usually enjoy b&w photos.
 
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Which kind of camera do you use?
 
I have been using a FUJIFILM /X-E2 and XF35/1.4 for 3 years. Personally I am quite satisfied with this camera.
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What determines if a photo is “good one” or not?
 
How deeply you put your heart into your work and how long you can keep on talking about it. I believe such points are essential elements to determine if a shot is good or bad. If you can tell about the elements and stories of the work in details, then I think it should be considered a “good” photo.
 
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When you’re 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 most of the cases, I already have the basic images before shooting, but after the result of the development it can be even better.  But I should say that the result is often below my expectations !
 
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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?
 
To tell you the truth, I didn’t do any special training. I always carry my camera with me, predicting the flow and movement of a specific person, going to the right place in advance.  I judge the best angle immediately on the spot, I take a shot at the best crucial moment !
So I can say the best training for me is taking pictures on the street.
I am always inspired by my fellow photographer friends by means of SNS.
 
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What was your first camera?
 
An Olympus Pen EES (half-frame camera). When I was a junior high school student, I borrowed it from my father and visited Kyoto and Nara on a school trip.  I remember taking snapshots of the historical temples and shrines and also my friends joking and playing. Well, to be frank, more than half of those pictures are out of focus since I had no prior knowledge of the photographic technique.
 
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What is photography to you? And what should not be instead?
Photography to me is the way of expressing myself. Just as it is.
 
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What is the photo that struck you the most of a great historical photographer?
Ihei Kimura’s  “Hongo Morikawa-Cho”
 
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What is your favorite technique?
 
I often try the so-called “slow shutter” technique. I also enjoy taking photos with a window reflection, even I don’t know if that can be called a “technique” or not.
 
Why do street photography?
 
I think I like to be in contact with people…, I’m the kind of person who can’t stand being alone!  (laughing )
 
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What is your best shot and what does it represent for you?
 
Well that is a difficult question. I don’t think I have got a “best shot” yet. I need some more time to get it.
 
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What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots?
 
Streets (towns and cities) are artificial structures created by us, human beings. I like taking pictures of various moments of people, looking cool, un-stylish, beautiful or even ugly who live in such a material world. I must confess that, recently after taking street photographs continuously for some period of time, I have gradually begun to feel that those inorganic streets are also “alive”.

 

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.

INTERVIEW WITH … Michael “Monty” May

Researched by Roberta Pastore

MICHAEL ” MONTY ” MAY

My name: Michael May – born 1958 in West Germany – married with the best wife of all – two elder sons – two fabulous dogs.
My profession: journalist – working as a staff photographer at a German newspaper for more than 25 years now.

 

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

My career as a photographer started in a wake of a desaster.

It was the time, when I studied sports at the university in Münster in 1980. Unfortunately, I broke my ankle during a football match in such a complicated way, that I had quit sports studies and activities completely fhus becoming a sports invalid looking for a new challenge. I restarted my life with photography.

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

One day somebody gave me a ticket to visit the library at the graphic and design institute in Münster to look for some buried treasures. There I found all these magic photobooks featuring the old masters such as Henry Cartier-Bresson, André Kertész , Eugène Atget, Samuel Brassai, Andreas Feininger, Bill Brandt, László MoholyNagy and August Sander. I could borrow these books for weeks and so I did.

I cannot say with with absolute certainty, which particular picture was the initial spark to getting seriously with photography, but it was definitely a black and white one. Maybe this eye-opener by André Kertész:

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Even my two dogs like Kertész. (This snapshot was taken in our living room.) A magic performance without posing.

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This following picture I took in 1982 with my first (used) camera (MINOLTA XG9) on orthocromatical film material (AGFAORTHO 25) in Umbria. It was my first film as a newbie in photography and the first picture to be proud of.

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How do you manage colour and B&W?

I started my career with shooting with Black and White films. B/W was the only category in photography that seemed to be accepted in the artistic photo world in those times suggesting credibility when used for documentary and social reportage.

Colour photography was synonymous with amateur photography; even Ernst Haas of MAGNUM did not publish his fantastic colour work, because no editor was really interested in this kind of stuff.

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But regardless I made thousands of colour positives for exercising my personal skills in  lighting and full framing. For  a long time I went out with two camera bodies. One for B/W and one for colour. Nowadays in the digital world it has become much easier to solve this „problem“

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Which kind of camera do you use?

Fuji X100T. The best  purchase ever. I even use this camera in my newspaper job for street photography, classic concerts, theatre performances and situations which are difficult in terms of the amount ofavailable light. For the „categories“ (such as sports, tele, studio and flash photography) I prefer my NIKON D-700, which is an excellent allrounder.

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

HCB would have said, „you have got a good picture if you turn it upside down and the composition still works.

A good photo from my point of view is a timeless shot, which works on different and complex layers, memorability and iconic qualities of some decisive moment, and lastly has been expertly printed and presented on a gallery wall or in a photobook. Nothing more and nothing less….and last bot not least, humourous, quirky and intriguing.

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But if we raised the bar of quality very high, even the best photographers in the world would only have about 100 top pictures in their portfolios.

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, yes, when I find a very interesting location and have enough time to wait and see how a scene may develop. I do take my time to make some blind shots and check lighting systems, composition and framing to be ready for the decisive moment 

As I never crop my pictures, the final post production (developing the RAW files in Capture One and processing as 16-bit Tiff-files in Photoshop) can do done pretty fast.

In my personal work-flow it’s just fine tuning at the end, provided that the RAW material is perfect from the beginning.

 

Museumsinsel Hombroich
Museumsinsel Hombroich

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What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

 Before I started with photography I learned all the techniques and theory from specialised books. So I was a really self-taught amateur before I began a practical training in documentary photography and darkroom work as a photographer at the newspaper.

Photobooks have always been a source of inspiration have always been photobooks, the tutorial work for the adult education centre and meeting so many well-known Magnum and National Geographic photographers, who had their exhibitions in our high-regarded „Städtische Galerie“ in Iserlohn

http://www.iserlohn.de/kultur/staedtische-galerie/

This is Magnum photographer Richard Kalvar in my studio:

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Magnum Fotograf Richard Kalvar

What was your first camera?

My first camera, as I mentioned above, was a MINOLTA XG9, followed by MINOLTA XD 5 and XD 7. In 1994 I bought my first LEICA M4, some years later an M6 and CL. At the newspaper I worked with NIKON FM 2 and F3 until we bought our first digital NIKON cameras.

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

It’s my job, my hobby, (my wife) and my life. Life is in a permanent photographic flow and from time to time the whole family is very much involved in my activities, but they give me a lot of supports for example in organising „Observations 2017“ our second Street Photography Festival in Iserlohn, which will happen between 07/14. –  07/23. next year.

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

This iconic shot by Josef Koudelka:

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 An intriguing shot, which turns a real street scene into surrealism in a very subtle way. Top Notch!!

What is your favorite technique?

Shooting with 35 mm and fixing all camera systems into manual mode. Focussing hyperfocal, manual ISO, manual lighting, manual flashing. As I have been shooting for 35 years now, I trust my own skills, parameters and personal experiences more than any computer systems in cameras.

Why do street photography?

For one, I am a member of the Observe Collective, a group of street photographers from nearly all over the world. Consequently doing street photography makes a ton of sense. For two, apart from that it is the photo genre, I always loved most in my photographic life, even before I’d ever heard of its existence. To me it has always been shooting candid people in their environment. In order to document public/social life and behaviour, though not necessarily only in the streets. 

As Bill Brandt once said: „I am not interested in rules and conventions – photography is not a sport“ .Maybe he was a sports invalid too

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

Less is more, keep it simple and make it clean, clear and perfect is my personal credo and this picture represents it all.

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Sometimes persons and elements come together for a decisive moment in the viewfinder of your camera for a split of a second to celebrate a feast for the eyes. Then they drift apart and vanish completely.

If you recognise the potential of a scene and get that decisive moment perfectly, you will be a winner and take it all, but if you missed it, you missed it and there is no further need to tell the world what and how and why you missed it – you didn’t score the home run this time, but…. don’t worry, your once-in-a-lifetime shot is just waiting around the corner.

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

I always try to be the invisible man, the silent predator. Still I don’t shoot from the hip or with a tilt screen. I shoot candidly with the camera in front of my eyes. So everybody has a fair chance of recognizing what the fuck man? I am doing. In those cases I try to explain myself in a friendly way. Street photography is not very common in Germany and you can get into serious troubles, if you publish pictures of people without their consent. My (as I hope) eloquence and combined with my press card have thus far helped me a great deal in difficult situations. And if all fails: Press the delete button…as much as it may hurt.

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Personal Websites:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/monty1958/
http://www.observecollective.com/
https://www.instagram.com/montymay/
https://www.instagram.com/observecollective/

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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