When you shoot a portrait, subtleties make a huge difference. When you edit a portrait session you can see that each moment is different from the previous, and that there’s no possibility of having the same photographs or expressions. And that’s because when you shoot a person there are many dynamics involved: how you relate to the person you shoot, how you direct them, and how you manage to get the expression you want from them. These are all variables which you can’t predict. For these reasons edit down the photos and pick “the best one” (if you can actually say that there’s a “best one”, when it’s most correct to say that there’s a favorite one) is the most difficult moment of the entire shooting.
Without talking about the light and the impact it has on the mood of the photograph and on the facial features of a person, there are many other factors that change one photo to the next, like the direction of the gaze, a subtle tilt of the head to the back shoulder or to the front, the chin up or down, framing in the perfect center or close to one border, get close by some inches, tilt the camera just a bit to the left… These are all small adjustments that change completely the photograph.
Here’s a portrait session I had with my friend and photographer Lucas Aznar, and as you can see each of these photos tells a completely different story.
Which one is your favorite, and why?
Portrait of Lucas
Wherever you are, I just wanted you to know that I miss you.
Happy Valentine’s day amore mio
Since I’ve started the Brooks Institute of photography, in August 2011, I’ve been shooting the most diverse things: landscapes, products, architecture, stock, lifestyle. Even if I don’t like to put myself in a box, and restrict my work on a single category, I have to say that shooting people is one of the things that I like the most. It’s a process that involve all your skills as a photographer, but beyond that, it also show the person you are, more than every other kind of photography. When you shoot a person you have to communicate, give direction to make your vision understandable by the person you are photographing, but at the same time you have to leave the freedom of expression that you want from the person in front of you. It’s an evolving process that is never the same. That’s why I like it.
Daniel Johung, photographer and friend
Here are some photos that I’ve taken lately. They were shot not to far apart from each other. In these different sets of photographs, to my surprise, I see a different me. I can’t say what’s the direction I’m taking, but I’m just enjoying this moment, and the more it takes me off guard, the more I enjoy it. This is because photography doesn’t stop after you’ve pressed the shutter. Photography is going back to yourself to reflect on who you are. That’s why most people stop doing it, because they either don’t like what they see, or they are afraid of it, or they are afraid of what other people might think of their work (and in doing so, they are afraid of what other people think of them). But you have to sit back and relax, and enjoy what you see, because you did it, it’s your work, not everybody else’s.
Ben Flynn, photographer and friend
Daniel Johung, photographer and friend
My first personal exhibition has ended. For those of you who didn’t make it, here are some of the images that were shown. These images are a collection of my works, from the moment I’ve started taking pictures till now. For me, It was a good way to remember all the steps that I did to become the photographer I am now, and along with this, who I became. “The longest way home” really intended to be this: the road that each of us do everyday to become who we are. In my case, I had to go far away from Italy, my home, to study at the Brooks Institute of photography in Santa Barbara, California.
From the exhibition manifesto:
“There are people who are satisfied with what they have. Some other can appreciate what they have only when this is lost. Like me. For this reason traveling is something that I need, beyond being a pleasure. It’s the need of let everything go, to take a break from everyday’s life to really understand its value. But travelling is also memory, and photography is what makes it still alive and present. It let us go back to moments that would be lost otherwise. And it lets us relive them, and mostly, it let us understand what they meant to us.
This photographs are exactly the attempt to go back to places and emotions that are far away, to better understand them. Through this photographs of places, people or animals, it relives my memory and my unconscious gaze on it. The famous photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson used to say that to photograph means putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis. If photographing is really this act, then a photograph is the tangible result of it to which another ingredient is added: memory.
It is only thanks to memory that we can say who we are. It is only our story that defines us as unique and diverse from each other.
“It’s not were you are at, It’s the journey you’ve taken.”
I’m really happy to announce that my first personal exhibition is going to take place at the Queriniana library in my own town, Brescia, tomorrow, friday December 16th. It’s a great honor and pleasure for me, because I’m currently living in Santa Barbara: it’s nice to be able to go back to my own town and share what I do with my people. The show is going to end on December 30th, so if you are around, come and take a look! I would love to have a feedback.
The exhibition is going to be at the Queriniana Library of Brescia (photos below). It’s a great location with beautiful paintings and old books: it feels great to have my work displayed in such a cool place.
I would like to thank all the people who helped me in doing this. A special thank to Mario Baldoli, Andrea Zucchini and Piera Maculotti for the precious help.
Sono molto felice di avere la mia prima mostra personale domani, venerdì 16 Dicembre, alla biblioteca Queriniana della mia città, Brescia. Vivendo a Santa Barbara, per me è un grande onore e un grande piacere condividere con le persone della mia città il mio lavoro. La mostra durerà fino al 31 Dicembre, se siete da queste parti, fateci un salto!
La mostra sarà in una biblioteca con affreschi stupendi e antichi libri: è bello poter esporre i miei lavori in un ambiente del genere.
Vorrei ringraziare tutti quelli che mi hanno aiutato a rendere questo possibile. Un ringraziamento speciale a Mario Baldoli, Andrea Zucchini, e Piera Maculotti.
It’s been so long since my last blog post! It feels like a year have passed. I’ve been very busy that I forgot to update my blog, forgetting that you write for others as much as you do it for yourself. So i’m promising to you and to myself, that i’ll post some of my new works and thoughts, because i really feel the need to! No photos now, but a lot will come.
I have the pleasure to work for Jeff Clark part-time (you can check his website here). He’s a great photographer and friend. He has a great project going on: shooting bike racers in a unique way. In fact, he shot them right after they’ve finished the race, tired, sweating and still heavily breathing from the strain. In addition to this he used a white background so that you think they are in a studio. But guess what, you can see where they are from their eyes or from the visor on their helmet. And I love this. Totally unique. By the way, Lance Armstrong is between those racers…
This is an editorial portrait I’ve shot in his old studio. The place was already cool to me but he moved into a new studio which is “so rad”, as he say. And I agree.