I’m working on my new website arnaldoabba.com, so it will be down for a little bit. Meanwhile, you can check my Facebook page Arnaldo Abba Photography for updates, or follow me on twitter @Arnaldo Abba. Cheers!
During the last week I’ve finished my first printed portfolio, and I had it judged by three professional photographers receiving great feedbacks and tips. A printed portfolio is a necessary tool for every photographer to present their work to agencies, art directors, etc… The beauty of it is that it involves a lot of other skills, that are not closely related to photography: sense of design, style and personal taste. I’ve really enjoyed working on it because it’s a very creative process. Not only you can see your finished work, nicely printed on paper of your choice (for mine, I’ve used the Ilford Smooth Pearl, a beautiful luster paper, which holds nice contrast and deep blacks), but also you work creatively to reinforce the style of your work. There are a lot of ways to present a portfolio: you can choose a classical portfolio case (which I used), where you can change the order of the pages or change the photographs to target different clients, a portfolio box, where the prints are standalone (better for fine art photographers), or a custom-made book, which is the nicest one in term of impact on the viewer, but has also the limit of being a finished piece that you can’t upgrade. All of these convey a different meaning to your work, but they all offer a high level of customization.
These are a few images from my people portfolio: some of them are brand new, and some less, but they all have been shot in the last year. I used a simple, clean-looking portfolio case and layout, which I feel reflects my work. I encourage every photographer or any aspiring one to print their work and lay it out in a book, or in any way you want it to be, because it’s a great way to think about your work, and mostly, to see it done, finished. There’s no right or wrong, we are in the land of personal taste: that’s the beauty of it.
I’m working on a new personal project, a series of portraits of surfers. I’ve always been fascinated by the surf culture and this project is a great opportunity for me to learn about it through the people who made surf what it is, in one of the most popular places for surfing, California.
This is one of the people I’ve been photographing today in Pitas Point, close to Ventura.
His name is Steven.
I’ve talked to Steven for a little while, right after he came out of the water, his family waiting for him.
“How long have you been surfing?”
“For all my life.”
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?
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.
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.
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.
A few months ago I’ve shot these pictures of my friends Ben, Chelsea and Lexus. I’ve stumbled on ‘em today while I was selecting some images to print for a portfolio review. Even if it wasn’t that much ago, it really feels like years, for how much I’ve been working lately!
Here they are.