Few weeks ago I told you to ask me something about me or about my work, because I was preparing a special post with questions and answers. Well, I’ve received some questions through my Facebook page and by email, now it’s the moment to give you the answers. If you want to ask me something more, please write it in the comment form. Here we go.
When you first got an interest for photography?
I always had a passion for photography. There is a moment I can’t forget: when I was 10 years old I was showing to my grandmother photos of a little excursion I made with school in a place not far from Rome. My album was full of pictures of my schoolmates and my grandma told me: “But where are you?”. In that moment I realized that there wasn’t a picture of me in the entire album because I always was behind the camera. It was the first time I saw myself like a photographer.
When you decided to take photography for a career?
After my graduation, when I was 27, I began to travel by myself. In Europe, then in United States and in South America. In that moment I didn’t know to be a photographer, actually I didn’t know who I was. But my camera was with me, and walking through the streets and the alleys of Paris I suddenly found an huge inspiration, an inspiration that followed me in every city I visited since that moment. I didn’t choose to photograph, it just happened something in me that told me to do it. Then someone has noticed my photos and he proposed me to do an exhibition in a gallery in Rome. I guess my career has started in that moment.
What inspired you in your early life to pick up a camera?
This is a very important question. It’s not easy to answer. I think I wanted to have memories of the things around me, like toys, places and friends. My first pictures are the reflection of my early life, I still have most of these photos and lot of them are about places like parks, streets or my schoolmates.
Why do you take blurred pictures?
I think the right definition maybe is “abstract photography”. But I’m still don’t know the right label…
What’s your inspiration?
I absolutely love the street, the stories that every corner and every building can tell. I need to search the soul of a place, what that place can tell me. Through my photographs I try to catch the real soul of a street or a building, with something that belongs to its history and at the same time, to its daily life. I try to feed my inspiration walking for a while everyday and taking pictures of daily life in the city.
What does your typical day look like?
More or less I usually wake up at 9am. After breakfast I sit in my office (my room) and I turn on my computer. I spend all my morning working on my pictures, responding to emails, and updating my social networks. At 1:30pm I eat and then I stay two more hours in front of my computer, reading blogs, looking at pictures and finishing my work. Then I go out (often with my camera), walking through my city, meeting friends or looking for new ideas and inspiration. At night I usually watch a movie, read a book or have a drink in a bar. At 2am I go to sleep.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
It depends. Sometimes I finish a new “Urban Melody” in thirty minutes, sometimes I work on it for two or three days, looking for the right combination of images. Superimposing photos is an art that needs creativity, fantasy, curiosity and most of all, lots of patience. It’s like a puzzle, an enigma to solve- a solution exists, the right combination exists, but we have to find it. There are no preset rules, only the rules that we decide to impose.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
It’s strange to say, but in my personal point of view, I think that I would multiply my existence. Every photographer is obsessed with time and space, I guess, so I would live on the walls of other people, in their libraries, in their houses, during my life and after. I can’t be everywhere and I can’t travel everywhere, but I hope that my pictures can do it for me.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
I have a story about it- in 2010, during one of my travels in Paris, I was talking with a friend of mine on a bench, not far from the Centre Pompidou. I was talking about my life, if I had to follow my dreams and go on trying to do my art, or if I had to turn my life in a surer existence, with “normal” work, a fixed salary, summer vacations and things like this. Suddenly I saw a writing under the bench, that writing was in Italian and said: “La vita è una sola, vivila come tu vuoi” (“Life is once, live it as you want”). I know, maybe it’s banal and not so original, but in that moment something changed in my mind. I never forgot this advice.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Good things happen to those who wait, so don’t be discouraged if results are hard to reach. If this is your real passion it means that you only need more time.
What art supplies do you use?
I’ve always admired photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau, and I also love Margaret Bourke-White and Vivian Maier. But not only photographers. Movies, songs and books are my daily food. I find inspiration in music, books, movies, and people around me. My personal heroes are Bruce Springsteen and Antoine Doinel (the protagonist of a lot of François Truffaut’s movies). Movies like “Boyhood” or “The Tree of Life” or “Les 400 coups” fill my soul with love for the art, inspiration and motivation for my work.
How do you choose the photos you want to “rework” with colours (ex. Urban Melodies) and the ones you keep in black & white?
It depends. Usually I prefer colors when I work on my Urban Melodies project and black and white when I take street photos. But, as I said before, there are no preset rules, only the rules that we decide to impose. Anyway colors are really important for my Urban Melodies, black and white works better with street photography, when I try to imitate the masters like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Koudelka and all the greatest. There is also great street photography with colors, like Saul Leiter showed us, so… It depends.🙂
When will you organise an exhibition of your photos in Brussels or Paris?
When someone will give me this amazing opportunity!🙂 I hope soon anyway, there is a rumour about an exhibition in Brussels in 2017, but for now it’s just a rumour. Let’s see…
What’s in your camera bag?
I’m not obsessed with lens or gears. When I go out for Street Photography I have with me just my Canon 60D and my 50mm. I have a 17-85 in my room, but I use it only when I really need it. I walk a lot (in travel or in my hometown) so I prefer to have a lightweight bag. Once I read something that sounds perfect to me: “In Street Photography the best gear is a good pair of shoes”.
What was your first camera?
When I was a child it was a Canon Prima Junior, can’t forget it, it was always with me. When I was a boy most of my friends used to spend money on beers or expensive clothes: I spent every cent on music, movies and developing films (well, on some beers too!). Lately I bought my first digital camera, a Canon 400D.
Where is your favorite place to photograph and why?
In travel, definitely. When I am in a place that I don’t know I’m really inspired. Through my camera I can really try to understand a place and its little secrets. In my hometown (Rome) I need to work on myself to find inspiration, and it’s not easy. Josef Koudelka once said: “When you live in a place for a long time, you start becoming blind because you don’t observe anything more. I travel to don’t become blind”. This is also the first line of my book “Fuori dalla caverna”…