Tag Archives: events

INTERVIEW WITH … Luigi Chighine

Researched by Roberta Pastore


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.



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.


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.





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.



 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.


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.



 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”



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.


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.



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.


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 !





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.


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.



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.


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.


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


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.



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.


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:


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


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.


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.



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“


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.


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.



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


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


This is Magnum photographer Richard Kalvar in my studio:

Magnum Fotograf Richard Kalvar
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.



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.


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

This iconic shot by Josef Koudelka:


 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.


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.


Personal Websites:


Researched by Roberta Pastore


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. 




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.




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.



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.




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.




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



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.


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.



What is your favorite technique?

I don’t have a favorite technique yet. I am using manuel focus now.



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…



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

INTERVIEW WITH … Alessandro Prato Atko

Researched by Roberta Pastore


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.



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.



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!



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.



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.


03_AP_The silhouettes in the tunnel

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.


02_AP_The nuns at the café

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.


04_AP_The clothes in the sun

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.


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.


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?

01_AP_Street Women

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


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.”


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.


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.



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.



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.




 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.




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.




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.




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.”



 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.


 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.


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.



 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.


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 :



INTERVIEW WITH … Reuven Halevi

Researched by Roberta Pastore


Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

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

For as long as I can remember, from early childhood onwards, the physical experience of vision has played a significant role in my life. That said, photography as a phenomenon, as an activity and aesthetic expression, was for the first decades of my life off-limits. I don’t think I ever dreamed about being a photographer, as if I had come to the conclusion early on that I would never be able pick up a camera and have the mind, heart and skills to convey what I saw to the rest of the world in a meaningful way. That said, I have always had a long-distance relationship with photography and the masters. And there are several identifiable moments in my life when photography came to redefine the paths I chose. Like the film The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), and the photojournalism of the character Teresa. I had a wild desire to do exactly what she did. But again, I shrugged and carried on with other plans as it seemed…well, off-limits to me. However, I did incorporate photography into my work in cinema and especially when directing for the stage. To keep it short: I believe I have always had an immense passion for photography, to the point where I more or less consciously had to force a lid on it. Until of course I could no longer stave it off, which happened only a couple of years ago. And here I am.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer


Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

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

The last time I directed for the stage, and the last time I location scouted for a film novella I wanted to do (both happened more or less at the same time). I realized I was deeply unhappy with the nature of directing. I could not carry on with all the dissipation of energy, all the compromises. The core of what I wanted to express and convey couldn’t survive the mundane processes of production. I ran out of steam and felt paralyzed. Not to criticize theatre directing per se, it was more a question of mutual incompatibility. So I eventually got a camera, but didn’t really know what to do with it. Until one day I was sitting in front of the computer doing my taxes and growing increasingly weary of numbers and the general meaningless of most things in life. I suddenly got up, grabbed the camera and said to myself “now I am going to step out into the world and take a real photo”. And I did. BTW, never again have I been able to repeat this feat. It seems impossible to place an order for the taking of a really good photo and then actually do it.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

How do you manage colour and B&W?

That is very much part of an ongoing debate I have with myself. I have no trouble admitting that I could – at times – go either way. But I have several series in colour that wouldn’t make any sense in B&W, and vice versa. Most likely I’ll never settle for either or as a general rule of thumb. Of my work on the city of Rome, 70% of my photos are in colour. Maybe because Rome is an extremely chromatic place, and the colours make up for a lot of its peculiar identity. Also, while I was all B&W in the beginning it all changed once I moved on to Fujifilm’s X cameras, and the wonderful Classic Chrome colour profile. It fits snugly with my aesthetics. While I experience many colour profiles as limiting and whatever end result a huge compromise (thus I’d rather shoot for B&W), Fuji’s CC enables my expression.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

Which kind of camera do you use?

I mostly use a Fujifilm XT-1 (I have two, while waiting for the XT-2) or an analogue Leica (M2) that I inherited from my granduncle.

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

Well, that is the mother of all questions… So much has been said and is being said every day on this topic that it makes little sense for me to go through all the viable “academic” answers. But looking at it empirically, I have a slight clue and one indicator is my immediate emotional reaction upon taking in a photo. If there is such a reaction (I’ve had all of them, from bursting out with laughter to having tears running down my face within seconds), well, that says a lot, though probably not all. If you have to look for the value in a photo, then I feel there is something wrong. A photo brimful of the “right” elements can be as dead as the paper it has been printed on, while a photo where everything is “wrong” can at times hit you right smack in the heart. Go figure. To protect myself from this question I have been hiding behind the words of André Kertész who when asked why he liked a specific photo during what I believe was an interview made by the BBC, repeatedly replied very simply “it pleases me”. That sums it up perfectly to me.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

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?

In all honesty I believe it is impossible not to have images in my mind when I shoot, though that may sound like a provocation. I believe that all the images that I have consumed, digested and experienced throughout my life, and all the images I have photographed or otherwise created are all part of an ongoing dialogue between the world and myself. I cannot and wouldn’t want to position myself outside of this dialogue. And I cannot extricate myself from a referential totality of images. No one can. Then again, this does not mean that I go out with a specific photo in mind trying to look for and capture it. Not as long as we are talking about street photography. It is true that in the beginning I went out consciously wanting to emulate certain photos and photographers, but only for strict training purposes. I believe that is the basics for learning anything. But the goal was only to widen my gaze and heart as much as possible, nothing else. Why would I ever want to take a photo that already exists? By emulating the masters (big and small), the goal is to reinterpret, to add something, to push our knowledge one inch further. To the second part of the question, as to the (digital) post-production phase, I’m heading towards the end of a process of transformation. In the very beginning I spent, though not a lot, still too much time fiddling around with levers and stuff, effectively “creating” the photo after-the-fact on my computer. I’m even half-good at Photoshop and whatnot. Today I feel that if I spend more than a couple of minutes adjusting brightness and black point, I’m actually killing the photo. I’ve seen this time and time again. I have to say that there is nothing more refreshing than undoing every adjustment, seeing the photo as it was shot and then very soberly give it a very limited number of corrections. This happens only in Lightroom, and the most creative I sometimes get is perhaps to do some very basic and simple dodging/burning, the same kind I would be capable of doing myself in a darkroom. To me personally the photograph itself “happens there and then”, in the world and in the camera.


Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

What training did you follow? Who inspired you?

Technically speaking I am 100% self-taught and I have consciously not wanted to attend any course, school or training for the simple fact that academia kills me. Humanly speaking I am a product of the culture I was born into, again, that referential totality that constitutes all of us, and I would have to mention absolutely every experience I have ever had. I am saying this in all honesty and seriousness. My granduncle Harry Braude who was murdered in Auschwitz in 1942 is an important emotional inspiration. He was an actor and had his entire life ahead of him. I feel inspired to vindicate him and to pick up where he left off as an artist, though of course through a different form of expression. But I realize that the question asks for sources of inspiration from the world of photography. Well, today my greatest emotional-visual inspirators are Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander…and Klein, Eggleston, Levitt, Koudelka, Erwitt, Callahan, Kertesz… Impossible to narrow it down. Of our contemporaries, there are so many that I prefer to mention someone “outside” of the realm of photographers in the strictest sense of the term: David Lynch.

What was your first camera?

A Canon 5D Mark II.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

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

Photography to me is a way to negotiate my own temporal presence in the Brotherhood of Man. A way to not succumb to apathy and deadly routines. A way to contribute to the ethical survival and evolution of our species. A way to contribute to our collective referential wholeness, very simply by documenting how and who we are. To me personally, photography is the cultivation of culture. And naturally, the best means of self-expression I have yet to come across. As to what it should not be, I am not sure I know how to reply. I reckon we need bad photography in order that good photography may emerge and stand out.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

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

I have tried to find an answer to this question, that is, the one photo that struck me the most. But I wouldn’t be honest to myself had I mentioned one single photo. Instead, I’m going with a couple off the top of my head, knowing very well that my reply will be different a week from now. The first photo that came to mind was Paul Strands 1915 photo Wall Street. The second, Garry Winogrand’s photo from New York 1967, the couple carrying chimps. Both examples of photos that rock me emotionally (and consequently, intellectually) every time I see them or remember them. But there are so many, and I’m sure I’ll regret not having mentioned others instead.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

What is your favourite technique?

There are so many, relevant to all the different aspects of practical real world shooting. From how I approach the day, how I move about and position myself relative to a subject, to how I hold the camera and which settings I may opt for. I am currently refining a technique that I’m hardly the first one to come up with, which I’m calling “automatic zone focus”. This in regard to digital photography. If I’m shooting people close (which is far from the only thing I do) and I see a subject, I keep my camera in AF, decide at which distance I want to shoot, point the camera quickly to something at the same distance (the ground, a wall, my hand or leg), half-press prefocus and hold it until the subject is in range and then shoot. I am sure people will cringe at this, but it works very well for me. Apart from this, I believe all techniques are valid. According to specific needs. All techniques and methods are means to a goal, a “towards-which”. Just like a tool. It’s all a matter of picking the right tool. So there is in my book no one single technique that I go to.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

Why do street photography?

It is the most intimate and immediate form of communion with humanity, in my experience. Personally, I do street photography because I have a strong notion that it transcends my own me. It is more important than myself. It gives my life a…procedural meaning. It extends me beyond my own neuroses. The public realm is the default “place” of our collective state of mind, the very manifestation of “us”. When we shoot the streets I believe we are acting out a basic human right and obligation, which is to observe, document and interpret history, and the way and who we are. Street photography is a constant dialogue between the city and the citizen, and this continuous refining of our attitude towards the public realm pushes us towards the city of tomorrow. Even before exhibiting our photos, by simply being out there shooting these public phenomena, we inform our fellow citizens that the city warrants, merits being photographed and commented on and interpreted and discussed and remembered. Each time a kid out there sees us, we might just have conceived the street shooter of tomorrow. We produce civic self-awareness by just being there, doing our thing, making new cultural references for the people while in fact practicing a counterculture of seeing, not only being seen. We show people that you can photograph the city and its inhabitants without being a tourist (or a terrorist). I believe this is of enormous importance. But these are intellectual explanations about why I shoot the streets. There is an infinite number of other valid reasons. To be blunt, every human needs self-expression. And this, among all forms of expression I have tried, allows me the most integrity, honesty and eloquence.

Reuven Halevi Photographer
Reuven Halevi Photographer

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

I have thought long and hard about this question, and found it impossible to pick one. Then I remembered the one photo I have that is different from all the others. First of all because it is a proto-photo. I took it 13 years (!) before I started photographing. It was Halloween, 1999 in New York City. What it means to me is that it informs me about what I am searching for going forward. And lately I have been moving more clearly in a direction that ideally reconnects me with that photo. I am increasingly attracted to the metaphysical, hyper realistic and unsettling. Not that that is what the photo is brimful of, but that is what it offers me. The suspension. Both temporarily, spatially, corporeally and emotionally. Somewhere in between the black and the white I feel there are symbols I am only now starting to see. And this research feels right and truly honest to me. I’d say the Halloween photo is most likely not my best, but it is to me – at least right now – my most meaningful photo.

What is your relationship with the street and the people who are in your shots? The streets and the people who inhabit them represent to me a caldron of fear and empathy. People scare me, but at the same time I really, truly platonically love them. I even empathize – a lot – with the 130 kg braindead gorilla in front of me who wants to break my skull with my camera for having photographed him. I think that pretty neatly sums it up.

Domon Ken, il Cartier-Bresson giapponese in mostra all’Ara Pacis

Domon Ken, il Cartier-Bresson giapponese in mostra all’Ara Pacis


Con oltre 70mila scatti realizzati dagli anni Venti agli Ottanta, Domon Ken è considerato uno dei principali maestri della fotografia giapponese. Dal  27 Maggio al 18 Settembre 2016 sarà possibile vedere alcuni dei suoi lavori all’Ara Pacis di Roma. Una mostra monografica che racconterà con circa 150 fotografie il lavoro artistico e di ricerca che ha portato il fotografo verso il realismo sociale. Dai primi scatti, prima e durante la seconda guerra mondiale, che mostrano la visione legata al fotogiornalismo e alla fotografia di propaganda, si passa alla fotografia di ambito sociale e all’opera chiave che documenta la tragedia di Hiroshima.
La mostra è promossa da Roma Capitale – Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali, con il supporto del Bunkacho, l’Agenzia per gli Affari Culturali del Giappone, e della Japan Foundation.  Organizzata da MondoMostre Skira con Zètema Progetto Cultura, l’esposizione è stata curata dalla professoressa Rossella Menegazzo, docente di Storia dell’Arte dell’Asia Orientale all’Università degli Studi di Milano e dal Maestro Takeshi Fujimori, direttore artistico del Ken Domon Museum of Photography


Ha fotografato mezzo secolo di storia del Giappone, i 50 anni che hanno trasformato il Paese del Sol Levante in modo ancora più radicale che in Occidente. Cambiamenti passati attraverso una guerra tragica conclusa nel modo peggiore, i “test nucleari” americani sulla popolazione civile di due città. Ma Domon Ken (1909-1990) ha raccontato anche le città e le persone, le tradizioni e l’arte dei templi buddisti.




Museo dell’Ara Pacis


Dal 27 maggio al 18 settembre 2016
Tutti i giorni 9.30-19.30
La biglietteria chiude un’ora prima

N.B. Per eventuali aperture e/o chiusure straordinarie consultare la pagina dedicata agli     avvisi

Biglietto d’ingresso

Ingresso gratuito, ad eccezione dello spazio espositivo dell’Ara Pacis, per i residenti a Roma e nell’area della Città Metropolitana nella prima domenica di ogni mese.

Biglietto unico integrato Museo Ara Pacis + mostra “Domon Ken. Il maestro del realismo giapponese, 27.5-18.9.16”: 
– Intero € 13,00
– Ridotto € 11,00

Per i cittadini residenti nel territorio di Roma Capitale (mediante esibizione di valido documento che attesti la residenza):
– Intero residenti € 11,00
– Ridotto residenti € 9,00


With over 70 thousand photographs taken from the twenties to eighties, Domon Ken is considered one of the leading masters of Japanese photography. From 27 May to 18 September 2016 will be able to see some of his works at the Ara Pacis in Rome. A monographic exhibition that will tell with about 150 photographs the artistic work and research that led the photographer to the social realism. From the first shots, before and during World War II, showing the vision related to photojournalism and photography propaganda, we switch to the picture of the social and key work documenting the tragedy of Hiroshima. The exhibition is promoted by Roma Capitale – Superintendent Capitolina of Cultural Heritage, with the support of Bunkacho, the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan and the Japan Foundation. MondoMostre organized by Skira with Zètema Culture Project, the exhibition was curated by Rossella Menegazzo Professor, Professor of Art History Eastern Asia University of Milan and Master Takeshi Fujimori, artistic director of the Ken Domon Museum of photography

Photographed half-century of Japanese history, the 50 years that have transformed the country of the Rising Sun in even more radical way than in the West. Changes went through a tragic war ended in the worst way, “nuclear test” Americans on the civilian population of the two cities. But Domon Ken (1909-1990) has also told the city and the people, the traditions and the art of Buddhist temples.

Ara Pacis Museum
From May 27 to September 18, 2016
Daily 9:30 to 19:30
The ticket office closes one hour earlier

N.B. For possible openings and / or closings extraordinary consult for notices page

Entrance ticket
Free admission, except for the exhibition space Ara Pacis, for residents in Rome and in the Metropolitan City on the first Sunday of each month.

one ticket integrated Museum Ara Pacis + show “Ken Domon. The master of the Japanese realism, 27.5-18.9.16 “:
– Adults € 13.00
– Reduced € 11.00

For citizens resident in the territory of Roma Capitale (by showing a valid document attesting residence):
– Full residents € 11.00
– Reduced residents € 9.00


“An ordinary day” by Umberto Verdoliva

“An ordinary day” the new book by Umberto Verdoliva
to buy it write to photographie@umbertoverdoliva.it
Price € 20,00 plus shipping



Format 22,5 x 21 cm – 107 pages – 88 pictures

Art direction staff: Fatima Abbadi, Ferdinando Fasolo, Giovanni Garbo, Giampaolo Romagnosi, Davide Scapin

First edition © Le Rondini

Signed by author  – ISBN: 978-88-7743-409-8

Printed in Italy by EBS Verona

Text: Giampaolo Romagnosi  – Translations: Frances Coburn

IMG_5231 IMG_5229

Foreword to the book :

In his well-known essay “Before Photography” of 1981, it was the scholar Peter Galassi  who made the point that all the techniques of graphic representation were behind the  invention of photography. Not only enlargements of details and vast landscapes (like those  achievable by the photographer with a telephoto and wide-angle lens), but also panoramas  and dioramas were all classified as faithful representations of reality before the advent of the  camera.

Pictures derived from mathematical calculations to reconstruct an animal’s vision,  or botanical drawings of plants and insects enlarged under the microscope (a good example is  Robert Hooke’s “Micrographia” of 1665) were the object of study by an élite. The fundamental  element that made photography unique right from the start, distinguishing it from the other  systems of two-dimensional representation, was a question of TIME. The effect of the first  very long exposures, and the innovative INSTANT concept that arrived later on paved the way  to totally new visual solutions.

The first to realize that they could play with new possibilities  in their iconographic production were the painters. Impressionists and Macchiaioli allowed  themselves to be guided by the new photographic art through the construction of modern  forms of communication. Paradoxically, photographers and common people saw these new  images simply as errors, the offspring of an art form that was still young and in competition  with classic figurative painting.


The experience of the Pictorialist photographic genre also  failed in its artistic intent vis-à-vis painted works. It was years before those painters’ works  and photographs imitating paintings came to be accepted, and years more before there was  any talk of a photographic genre that perfectly incarnated the quintessence of photography,  We all know that the early cameras could not record instantaneous images. But technical  advances in the photographic procedures and radical improvements to the instrument –  which became portable and available to anybody – gave rise to new photographic genres. The  names attributed to the various genres derived directly from the use made of the images. They  always tended to reiterate names and iconographic functions already existing in the world of  painting: portraits, nudes, landscapes. When, in the early 20th century, a few photographers  in journals and good-quality photography books. The street, with all its dynamism, was  accurately depicted as it was happening.

Photographers of the caliber of André Kertész,  Walker Evans, Henri Cartier Bresson, and many other great 20th-century photojournalists  have produced wonderful photographs, but it would be wrong to identify them as street  photographers. In a professional setting, many would reject this definition. It was only starting  from the 1960s, when figures such as Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander came to the fore,  that the general public began to understand and appreciate this type of photography, coming  to consider Street Photography as a genre in its own right. Until the advent of Internet, Street  Photography remains the prerogative of a handful of people who identify its practice with the  figure of the ‘flâneur’.  Now that Street Photography has become widely appreciated, it seems to us that the approach to this genre is rapidly shifting, departing considerably from its origins. When we began to  history of Italian, and especially of international photography. We discovered a cultured  tradition and, above all, a tradition characterized by shared values. The recent fashion that  has drawn more and more people to this genre focuses instead on aspects that are more  superficial and immediate, on achieving ‘special effects’. Sometimes the results do not  seem to stem from any real research. Umberto Verdoliva seems, to our mind, an unusual  and somewhat surprisingly positive case, considering today’s panorama, that leads us to  have faith in the future of Street Photography. That is why the Mignon group has decided  to promote his work, drawing freely from his archives and arranging his works according  to a logic that we might describe as ‘emotional’. In Umberto’s photographic eye, we see the  curiosity typical of those who – while following up their creative impulse – feel that they  still have to measure up to those who went before, to see what paths they took, and grasp  their inspiration, in the awareness that they have only to gain by doing so. In Verdoliva’s  masterly visual lucidity, consisting of many small works that are often still in progress,  we can see several aspects of our own research. In his prolific relationship with history  and the authors of the past, we capture that study on light, against the dim backdrop  of contemporary photographic production, that makes us optimistic. In his attitude to  exchanging ideas and sharing, which prompted him to found the SPONTANEA group,  we see evidence of the group spirit that has characterized and supported the evolution  of the photographic medium right from the beginning. Umberto has constructively  intercepted the best of what the new web-based of exchange and communication systems  have to offer. Above all, he is an example that draws the attention of others, proposing a  genuinely and positively authorial form of photography.

For the Mignon group, it is therefore not only a pleasure, but also an honor to present




Written and researched by Stefano Cerquetani

Robert Doisneau

(Gentilly, France 14.04.1912 – Montrouge, France 01.04.1994)

“To those who enjoy breathing the smell of incense, I recommend a different profession. The photographer pulls the sleeve of the rushed man with a blank stare and shows him the free and permanent show of the street”. (Robert Doisneau)

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The greatest exponent of the so-called humanist current of street photography, a lover of stolen shoots, Robert Doisneau was fascinated by emotions, from the small moments of life of a city in turmoil, as the twentieth-century Paris was; on the streets, people meet with inattention, as well as their stories did, drawing a puzzle of feelings that together contribute to define the profile of the city itself.




Graduated engraver lithographer at the Etienne school, he decided to leave that path to throw himself into the living and the harsh reality of the suburbs, a dimension that no one considered at the time. He started collaborating in 1946 with the Rapho Photo Agency, a collaboration that will last for almost fifty years, driven by the desire to donate the right dignity and the right value to photography, he concerned himself primarily with subjects that did not interest anyone else and that they had not have commercial value.


Doisneau does not tell of a conventional city, like the one shown in the world of advertising, fashion, newspapers or movies but a Paris of little people, of the art of the accordion, of adults and children, whose eyes exude humanity and tenderness. Paris is a city in constant motion, which Doisneau photographs in many ways, a city shaken by the ideas of great artists such as Prévert, Cendrars and Picasso, with whom he holds a friendship that will further enhance its great sensitivity, both as a man and as an artist.



He says: “Two things move me along: disobedience and curiosity, as a reaction to group phenomena; in a group one is obedient so that things work out. I was never interested in fame which goes against curiosity and disobedience. The only way out is therefore the cunning represented for me by photography. ”

His daughter, Francine Deroudille, tells how his father felt more a craftsman than an artist, attentive to the graphics and composition of his work and at the question of how she would describe in one sentence the extraordinary work of her father, she said: “Love for freedom”, a response that is echoed in the words of Doisneau himself: “The few images that, in the course of time, continue to remain afloat piled like corks in the whirlpool of a river, were shot during the hours stolen from my various employers. To me disobedience is a vital function and I must say that I have never deprived myself of it ”


Many photographers have imitated him and his photos have set a trend: humanity portrayed by him is a unique and outstanding document; never intrusive, his eye is discreet, his camera is never too close to the subject, he does not like close-ups to communicate the essence of the people but he prefers open scenes, where the space speaks and those who inhabit it make it alive and vibrating. In an interview it can be read: “I’ll explain how you can gain the desire to do photography. Often it is the continuation of a dream. I wake up one morning with an extraordinary desire to see, to experience. Then I have to go. But not too far, because if you wait too long, the enthusiasm, the need, the desire will disappear. I do not think one can “watch” intensively for more than two hours a day. ”


He continues: “I have always tried to make fun of something. Also getting older, what matters is to continue to be curious, to wonder. I still like to go for a walk for a couple of hours. When I choose a corner, a person, so many factors and phenomena come into play that are unconscious: a book that has been read, an old emotion. Sometime one must wait for over two hours on the same spot and observe; wait against all logic. It can happen that something will take place there. Most often it happens with effort and fatigue, it can be vaguely foreseen. Then a character crossed the Seine, just by chance, by mistake. And that mistake is what I’m trying to capture. Sometimes the meetings are planned, some others time they will happen on you. I’m waiting. I wait for the actors to come acting, not in the world that is, but in the one I want to be. ”


I conclude this brief tribute to the great photographer Robert Doisneau, reporting his comment, which helps to understand the spirit of his work and the greatness of his sensibility:

“Toute ma vie je me suis amuse, je me suis fabriqué mon petit théâtre.”
“All my life I had fun, I made my own little theatre”