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Learn From Experience: Vincent Migrenne

I am Vincent Migrenne, a Parisian photographer who love immortalize his daily life. Square shaped, graphic and colorful, my photos reflect the world as I see it : poetic, urban and very often unusual. I am currently preparing the second edition of the Guide des Grands Parisiens published by Magasins généraux and Enlarge Your Paris.

I exhibited in New York till January 2021 at the International Center of Photography as part of the “Global Images for Global Crisis” exhibition. I also exhibited in 2019 at the Fisheye Gallery and in 2017 in the Paris metro for #photogRATPhie. The rest of the time, I am a copywriter at the BETC agency.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

My rule is  “Là où mon regard s’égare” Wherever my gaze wonder. I spend all my time looking around me, searching for a photo to shoot. I have always a camera with me, even an iPhone. Life is full of images to immortalize. Just need to take time to look. I take photos every day, at every moment at any time. I like really much being in a new place, because it is a fantastic opportunity to take photos I never shot.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

One morning I was going to work and I saw a man doing balance on the thin guardrail of a small bridge above the Canal de l’Ourcq. It was foggy, calm, totally surrealist, It must have done a wonderful photo…but the time I spent to find for my camera in my bag, the guy had disapeared. Since this day, I have always a camera ready to photograph.

When you photograph with your camera do you notice the same things you notice with your eyes or do your eyes capture what the camera doesn’t allow you to look at?

I see the photo before I shoot it. Sometimes the result is exactly what I expected, sometimes not. Sometimes I don’t dare to take the photo, or I can’t. Sometimes, by chance, a person is coming right at the good place. Taking good picture is a question of luck too. 

If you were to create an open call, a contest, what kind of theme would you give ? What would you like to look at and why?

I like really much absurd situations, it would be a nice open call. I like when there is humour or a bit a poetry in photographies. 

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with what tools do you use and prefer? 

Fujifilm X-T4, Ricoh gr3, or even iPhone 10. It depends the situation, if I have time, if I need to be discret, or quick…I always shoot with a squared format, It is the format where I see the most the lines to have a graphic composition.

What do you think is highly conflicting with the concept of photography?

Today it is really difficult to take pictures of people in the streets…People are scared about being photographed, being on the web…

Are there any books you would recommend?

A lot!
One of many: Angel of Ronan Guillou 

Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work.

I always take my photos a little wider than the final framing. This way I am sure of my final framing which is the basis of a good composition.

What do you do with the discarded photos? 

I keep them for a while and then sometimes I try a new frame again and if that doesn’t suit me, I throw the file away. Anyway, I always tell myself that the next photo will always be better than the one before, so I have no regrets.

Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

Fisheye Magazine

Vincent Migrenne

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Learn From Experience: Loris Spadaro

What are the rules of your photographic work?

I have no rules but one: look at the whole frame, then f/8 and be there. Composition is your photography’s calling card.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

Definitely switching to a wide-angle lens!



When you photograph with your camera do you notice the same things you notice with your eyes or do your eyes capture what the camera doesn’t allow you to look at?

Yes I do. The only difference between having and having not a camera in my hand is that I capture what I see when I have one. The more I take photos, the more I see with a “photographic eye” all of the time. When I don’t have my camera with me, the shutter button is in my head – I say “click” too!


If you were to create an open call, a contest, what kind of theme would you give? What would you like to look at and why?

Since I believe that street photography must capture distinctive features of an urban environment and its humanity, I would choose “Spirit of the city” as the theme. It would be focused on capturing anything – faces, places, gestures, habits, characters, etc – that would make me say “Yes, this photo could only have been taken there.Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with and what tools do you use and prefer?

I prefer point-and-shoot cameras and wind-angle lenses. Must be lightweight, easily maneuverable, fast, and discreet.

What do you think is highly conflicting with the concept of photography?

What’s not in the frame didn’t catch your attention as it never existed. Photography must be a product of your vision and critical sense must be an activity strictly connected to your concept of world and life and mankind. Which requires, in turn, a lot of time and patience to be discovered and to be aware of it.

So, anything that makes you feel like you are in a big hurry to catch the perfect and most viewed and liked and highly appreciated photo, to me, is highly conflicting with the concept of photography.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Anything by Garry Winogrand, “The Americans” by Robert Frank, “Valparaiso” by Sergio Larrain.

Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work. (If you have any photos of this, please send them as an attachment).

Walk a lot and not too fast, work the spot, pay attention, be fast.

What do you do with the discarded photos? 

I immediately delete them… but don’t try this home!

Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

I prefer following those street photographers whose vision is immediately recognizable – they are the ones you can learn a lot from.


Loris Spadaro

Instagram: @loris.spadaro

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Learn From Experience: Sootz

Sootz is an idea…

“The idea for Plato is an entity with the characteristics of immutability and perfection understood as an “ous” or as an autonomous substance or reality. The science is configured as a stable knowledge, lasting and perfect because it reflects the ideas that are immutable and perfect.”

The photos I take come from walks in Pittsburgh. It’s a split second where I have to bring the camera from my hand to my eye.
It’s a delicate balancing act that I perform to make sure I have the scene in the frame without disturbing it or alerting the subject. If I’m lucky enough, if my timing is right, if my touch is delicate and goes unnoticed… then I get my image.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

The rules are don’t hit the shutter unless I am saying something. It’s very tempting to take pictures of things that just look good. Sometimes that makes for a good warm up before a long day shooting. But continuing to hold myself to a higher standard is how I will continue to improve my art.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

I force myself to go out and take at least one “good” photograph every single day. There was a particularly cold and rainy evening in January that I almost let myself slip. That is when a Stephen King quote came to mind (I may be paraphrasing here). “Amateurs wait for inspiration to strike. The rest of us just get to work.”. That attitude of hardened determination is one that has made a dramatic impact on my style, drive, and courage when I go out shooting. Get out there. Get it done. Make art. It’s not always easy, and sometimes you get lucky, but it’s all the more rewarding when you fight for it.

When you photograph with your camera do you notice the same things you notice with your eyes or do your eyes capture what the camera doesn’t allow you to look at?

An excellent question. I think that the two play off of each other very well. I have been shaped and formed to read human body language through other aspects of my life. This helps me notice emotions like Joy, Bliss, Discomfort, Confusion, Anger, Wanting, etc. It helps me notice things quickly so that I can get my viewfinder up for the shot. Conversely, the viewfinder and the limits of the frame drive my creativity. When you put constraints on yourself, you have no other option but to be creative. To do the most with what you have in that little rectangle.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with what tools do you use and prefer?

My first and only camera is the Fujifilm XT20 mirrorless body with 4 prime lenses. 16mm F2.8, 35mm F2.0, 56mm F1.2, and 90mm F2.0.

What do you think is highly conflicting with the concept of photography?

I think that there are certain lines that should be drawn. With street photography in particular, it is my feeling that I see a lot of “cheap shots” that are meant as crowd pleasers but are starting to come off as overdone and trite. You can go out in thr rain and take some pictures of people with umbrellas, smoking a cigarette, reading the paper, wearing an interesting hat and label yourself a street photographer. I think this is exacerbated by the use of Instagram and the emphasis on having a cohesive profile, gallery, or grid. I think this was meant to create a signature style for artists, but now it’s just pumping out more of the same. Scaring people off from taking risks with their art.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Very much so. I am a collector of photography books. I can’t get enough of Alex Webb’s “The Suffering of Light”. I go back to this book over and over. I also really enjoy everything by Joshua K Jackson, Ernst Haas, Stephen Shore, Fred Herzog and of course Saul Leiter. 

Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work.

I “listen to my eyes”. I look at the photo. Close my eyes. And open quickly to see where my eye goes first. It’s listening to your eyes because they’ll tell you what the most interesting thing in the photo is, and sometimes that can be different from what the rest of your mind and heart tell you is the most interesting. When it comes down to it though, you are not the only person who’s going to view this. Different minds, different hearts, and different interpretations of your art will pop up. Your eyes, in my opinion, are the most reliable critic to listen to in connecting with as many peoples’ eyes as possible. I try to take myself and my biases out of the equation.

What do you do with the discarded photos? 

I take photos every single day and I save them all. I have a drive that I keep a photo journal of all the photos I’m taking. I organize it by the date and the location or the subject I was shooting. I feel like it’s a diary. Maybe I won’t ever post them, but I can go back every day and see what exactly I was doing or where I was. 

Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

See above list of books lol 😂

I know you published your first book recently. Tell us a little bit about it!

What is Sootz – Before the Rest of the World Wakes Up – Chapter I?
This project was born with the intent to investigate the beauty and essence of life, under the anonymous title of Sootz, looks at the streets, anonymously capturing moments of pure humanity, unchanging, in their purest form, even in times like this past year, when the worldwide pandemic of the Covid_19 virus, seems to have destroyed more than just lives, I manage to capture moments that go beyond what we can perceive, the distance becomes only a means of perception, of a humanity far from extinction, but that represents in its entirety the materiality of time in its best form.

By purchasing this Zine you will be helping to support the Hillman Cancer Center charity.
Limited edition copy of 50 pieces in pre-order.
Buy here

Sootz:

Website
Instagram

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Learn From Experience: Ludovica Bastianini

Ludovica Bastianini was born in 1986 in Naples. She graduated in History of Art in Naples and then studied photography and visual arts in Barcelona, at the Idep Institute and in Milano, at the NABA, Academy of Arts.

In 2017 she has been selected for “Circulations – Festival de la jeune photographie européenne”, exhibited at the Centquatre in Paris. She has also been shortlisted at the Grand Prix Images Vevey, at the Life Framer contest, and won the 3rd prize at Premio Tabò, presented at the Festival Fotoleggendo in Rome. 

Her project “In your place”, about child marriage in the world, has been exhibited and projected in many European Festivals: Les Rencontres d’Arles – Voies Off, Fotoleggendo, Belfast Photo Festival, Festival Internazionale di FotoGrafia Roma, Encontros da Imagem, Format, Fotografia Europea, Fotofestiwal Lódz, among others.

Her research focuses on manipulation of images and how this practice can change our comprehension of reality.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

I have no rules but I can see a line in how my works were born: I usually think and study a lot before creating, I analyze any technical possibility and projects from other authors about the same topic or idea. Then I get overwhelmed and stuck in procrastination until, one day, I just wake up and do it without no more thinking about it.Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

The moments in which I grew up are paradoxically those in which I completely gave up the intention to create something artistically valid. In those moments I felt completely free to explore and free from preconceptions, as well as from all the years of study that can, sometimes, press me with an excess of creative stimulation. When I created In your place, my most known project, I was just experimenting, I had even a sort of post-Academy depression and I didn’t mean to exhibit that work anywhere. A young curator saw the first pieces, sent their photos to Photography Festivals and I was very surprised by the warm welcome my work received. I discovered with this project, for the first time, appropriation art and collage.

When you photograph with your camera do you notice the same things you notice with your eyes or do your eyes capture what the camera doesn’t allow you to look at?

I think of the camera as a medium like any other, absolutely inadequate to capture the totality of emotions and experiences we live. This is the reason why I use, more and more often, other media alongside photography and other artistic practices. Photography remains for me the starting point.

If you were to create an open call, a contest, what kind of theme would you give? What would you like to look at and why?

At the moment I would like to investigate psychology issues and the collective memory, perhaps through dream representations. I am reading Jung and I am more and more fascinated by the unconscious world.

 Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with what tools do you use and prefer?

I used for years the classic reflex cameras, Pentax and Canon. I am now fully in love with the Fuji mirrorless system. I have only 3 lenses: 16, 35, and 50 mm. I use a Zyhun Crane for videos and Lastolite studio flashlights.

What do you think is highly conflicting with the concept of photography?

I guess the most conflicting aspect of photography is that its images are, in my opinion, realistic but look like reality. This is not immediately decipherable and can be easily misleading. Photography can be manipulated and can manipulate, it’s very powerful in guiding public opinions and can be decisive even to support a political power. In my Erasing Exercises project, I explore a lot this subtle line between truth and verisimilitude, as well as the difficulty audience, have in finding a way around the news from the world. The project is, in fact, an “erasing” practice, where I used very simple analogue tools to change photographs, texts and transformed them into a new language, indistinguishable from the previous one.

 Are there any books you would recommend?

Yes, I would first recommend two amazing contemporary photography book projects:
– The Island of the Colorblind by Photojournalist Sanne De Wilde
– The Iceberg by Giorgio Di Noto, a very powerful body of work

Then some of my favorite theory books:
Gilles Deleuze – Logic of sensation
Louise Bourgeois – Destruction of the Father Reconstruction of the Father
Luigi Ghirri – Lessons in Photography

 Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work. (If you have any photos of this, please send them as an attachment).

I use everything I can in my practice. I studied childhood illustration, animation, photography, painting, I’ve always been drawing. In some of my works I learned and used sewing techniques. My process is probably to explore what’s most interesting and suitable to each body of work and why. “In your place” is about little girls and women’s education, so I wanted to use a technique usually linked to women’s arts. “Erasing Exercises” is all about erasing techniques. “My Generation” is about precarious young workers in Italy, who are treated like children by Institutions and can’t really find an adult position in society. That’s why I used Uniposca Markers on photos, simulating an eternal teenage condition and a school diary practice.

What do you do with the discarded photos? 

(Donate your discarded photos for our preservation archive and future paper projects).

I keep them in a box, I work on them after years. I consider them more like single pieces with no project behind.
I also created a tier on Patreon to support me by buying small single pieces. And, yes, I’m glad to donate.

Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

I’m not really into magazines, but I have so many contemporary photographers or multimedia artists I admire, it would be very difficult to write them all. Some random names: Broomberg & Chanarin, Sanne de Wilde, Laia Abril, Kensuke Koike, Silvia Bigi, Federica Landi, Paolo Ciregia, Weronika Gesicka, Giorgia Bisanti.

Ludovica Bastianini

Website:

https://ludovicabastianini.tumblr.com/

Social:

https://www.instagram.com/ludovica_bastianini/

Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/ludovicabastianini

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Learn From Experience: Simone Biavati

Milanese artist and photographer born in 1999, Simone Biavati attended art school at the Brera Academy, where he is finishing his studies.

Since 2017 he has portrayed some of the most relevant faces of the Italian music scene, starting with Willie Peyote up to Marracash, passing through Coma Cose and Sfera Ebbasta.

He has documented performances and backstages, making editorial and commercial shoots with an eye always focused on the news that surrounds him and to his personal projects.

At the moment, he collaborates with realities such as Thaurus, Bomba Dischi, and Universal, as well as having made shooting for various brands, such as C.P Company / Puma / 3WAYZ and many others.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

I don’t really have rules. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a matter of fact that study is important as much as practice, and the knowledge of the rules is at the bottom of the more experimental works. I don’t like to force myself into rules but at the same time, I love them. Instead of rules, I’d like to think that my photos follow a creative journey that is boundary-free. In this era, they always ask us for the photo that someone needs immediately, without ever thinking about the long term.

I want to take photos that remain over time.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

There are a lot of situations that changed the way I work and made me grow, and they are almost all bad experiences, however, you learn above all with mistakes. I am grateful for the mistakes I have made and will do (even if not at the moment) because they will allow me to work better and better in the future. Speaking of beautiful situations, I recently shot for an Italian Brand “3WAYZ” (@3wayzcollection). The guys gave me total freedom and gave me time to think about the artistic direction and the shots, this allowed me to understand one thing, which might seem obvious, namely that having the possibility to be completely free and to have time to think brings you (almost) always to have interesting and beautiful shots.

When you photograph with your camera do you notice the same things you notice with your eyes or do your eyes capture what the camera doesn’t allow you to look at?

During the photography course at the Brera Academy (where I’m still studying) they taught me to look for and see photos even without a camera, thinking about what kind of lighting to give, the possible sensitivity of the film, what lens to use … This gave me the opportunity to better visualize the photos that I can have around me at any time and to mentally train with technical factors

If you were to create an open call, a contest, what kind of theme would you give? What would you like to look at and why?

Interesting question … I still don’t feel ready to create an open call or a contest, I still have to study many and participate in even more. At this point I would like to make an open call on open calls, leave total freedom and creativity to those who participate and see what comes out!

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with what tools do you use and prefer?

I shot with different cameras, digital and analog. From the most standard ones (Medium format, Full Frame, APSC) to the most “crazy” ones (Nishika n8000, some minox). Right now I mainly shoot with my digital camera Canon 77D (which is not even a full-frame) and a Canon FTB with a 35mm on top. With this one, I almost always shoot the photos I prefer, especially if in black and white (which I then develop at home). I feel a different connection than all the other cameras with her, the camera does not have to be more important than the photographer, if so, and therefore your “style” is simply based on the camera you shoot with, it means that as a photographer you are not worth that much.

What do you think is highly conflicting with the concept of photography?

I do not find that there is any concept that is conflicting with the concept of photography, everything can photograph and be photographed.

I don’t believe only in the common means of photographing but rather, unconventional methods are welcome.

Are there any books you would recommend?

I’ve been buying a lot of books lately. I have a few technical ones, mostly I look at images. By the way, there are some books I always like to browse and read liken Jazz Life and Contact High, the Jazz and Hip Hop imagery, I found them really inspiring. I am also obsessed with magazines, Volume 5 of Sixteen Journal surprised me positively, it has very strong photographers from Bruce Gilden to Jack Davison, until Elizaveta Porodina. I’m waiting for the Office number with photos of Joe Cruz (which I find brilliant) and I’m trying to save money for some classic Taschen.

Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work.

When I work with musical artists I always like to get to know them first. It helps a lot both in the pre-production phase (moodboard) and during the shots. Usually, after talking with the client a research phase begins, both mental and on the books/films that I have seen or that I know have that kind of imagery that is required. I have no particular techniques during the shots, I concentrate on doing as few shots as possible, in order to be very focused on making them all beautiful. Lately, I’m shooting from the camera towards the screen, nothing new but it is something that inspires me a lot, the retina of the screen taken from so close almost becomes a rough canvas where I can create surreal and non-surreal images.

What do you do with the discarded photos?

I look at them sometimes thinking about whether I was right to discard them or not, I almost always think I made the right choice but there is always the exception.

Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

I have many photographers, photos, imaginaries that inspire me. From the most classic Arnold Newman, Irving Penn, to the most recent Jack Davison, Joe Cruz, to many of my friends and colleagues such as Andrea Barchi and Ilaria Magliocchetti Lombi. I’m crazy for webzines and magazines, I would buy them all but I would have no more money to do anything, I am a super fan of the sixteen journal (and I do not hide that I would like to end up on them one day), of T mag, of Wu Magazine, clearly also your work, I find it really inspiring and refined. In short, I appreciate everyone who promotes young artists and photographers.

Simone Biavati

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/simone_biavati/

Contacts:

mgmt scær

📧 [email protected]

☎️ +39 340 195 0160

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Learn From Experience: Mirko Frignani

I’ m Mirko Frignani, I’m 35 and I was born in Montecchio Emilia in the province of Reggio Emilia.

From an early age, I was attracted to stories and images. I started in 2007 working in a photographic studio in Reggio Emilia whereas a self-taught I learned to photograph. The firm collaborated with a regional daily newspaper and I was in charge of news reports in the area Reggiano. In 2010 I moved to Milan where I completely changed sector and graduated in fashion at the New Academy of Fine Arts (Naba). I worked alongside and collaborated with the photographer Agnes Weber from 2011 to 2016. Photography has always been very present in my life and in my activities has evolved since my death father in December 2017.

I gave photography another role in my life: it allowed me to tell myself and to tell what words I have never been able to say. 2019 was a defining year for my work.In April my first solo show at the Ex-macello in Montecchio Emilia entitled “Non resta che guardare il cielo” inserted in the off circuit of Fotografia Europea 2019. I have a masters in contemporary photography directed by Mustafa Sabbagh at the Spazio Labò in Bologna (September 2020). Thanks to the master Sabbagh I understood how much photography limited me so I embarked on an artistic path where images are only a part of my projects. It is a path that fascinates me, enriches me and encourages me to show myself and tell what little I have understood from life so far.

Today I live and work between Montecchio Emilia and Milan.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

The world of classic photography, from which I come, is full of rules. I escaped from all these rules that imprisoned me and did not allow me to truly unleash my creativity. Now I try not to have any, they frighten me because I live them like stakes, restrictions.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

In 2020 I attended a master in contemporary photography which was coordinated by the master Mustafa Sabbagh. This meeting not only changed my job, but also my life. Mustafa is a person able to transmit the Passion to you, to teach you freedom of thought. He was able to destroy some barriers against me that I had been carrying on my shoulders for a long time. He managed to show me the world of photography and art from an unexpected point of view. I learned to let go of ideas, without holding them back, trying and trying again until I get to the mental image my ideas have built

When you photograph with your camera do you notice the same things you notice with your eyes or do your eyes capture what the camera doesn’t allow you to look at?

I never shoot looking. I photograph through emotions. If I shoot and the image is powerful for me, I forget the nuanced details or the inaccuracies. For me, images must be the result of a feeling.

If you were to create an open call, a contest, what kind of theme would you give? What would you like to look at and why?

I would like to see projects with a theme of sexuality in all its facets. I think it is a very intimate and personal theme that moves emotions. Sexuality today is an immense and ever-changing world. Telling this evolution is certainly a difficult path that leads to an inner investigation

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with what tools do you use and prefer?

Over time my equipment has been reduced to the essentials: I use a Nikon d750 with two lenses, a Sigma 105 and a Nikon 24-120.

What do you think is highly conflicting with the concept of photography?

The great conflict in photography is given by photographers. Photography like other artistic fields has evolved through experimentation and through the use of other means that create new visual languages. Today many photographers do not accept this evolution and the only part of this conflict that is lost is precisely the photography sector still bound to old rules. Photography today is present in many contemporary art galleries, a sign that something is changing, very slowly, but I believe we are only at the beginning of an evolution that will see photography still protagonist but embellished by contemporaneity and not linked only to the concept that photography is memories.Are there any books you would recommend?

Two very interesting books are Fags by Jacopo Benassi published by Nero and Photographs and drawings by Paolo Ventura published by Silvana Editoriale.

Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work. (If you have any photos of this, please send them as an attachment).

My creative process always changes according to the project I intend to carry out. Before starting, however, I always write a few thoughts on a notebook, do research, read a lot. I think it is important to make the shots first mentally in order then to facilitate the shots and it is thanks to this that I usually photograph very little. 

What do you do with the discarded photos?

I don’t photograph much so I don’t have a lot of scraps. The photos that I discard almost immediately because they distract me and make my final selection process unstable and make me feel insecure so I prefer to concentrate well and very carefully on everything that precedes the moment of the shots; fundamental are the lights, the set, and the subjects I intend to portray. When these three aspects are perfectly taken care of, sometimes a few photographs are enough for me to achieve my goal

Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

I follow with passion Ossigeno published by Nutsforlife Edizioni, a mix of art, cuisine, fashion and contemporaneity. I follow Mustafa Sabbagh with esteem and admiration. I try to follow or in any case to know mainly emerging artists and photographers such as Veronica Barbato or Alessio Barchitta (whom I like very much).

Mirko Frignani

Website: www.mirkofrignani.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mirkofrignani

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Learn From Experience: Emiliano Zingale

Hi everyone, I’m Emiliano,  I’m a Management Engineering student and my dream is to become a professional photographer and illustrator.
I live in Catania, Sicily, but I’m from Piazza Armerina, a small town in the belly of the island.
I’m a film photographer with a deep love for Catania and that’s why I love shooting street photography in this joyful warm city, where I grew up as a photography enthusiast.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

As a general rule, I always try to work with prime lenses and avoid zoom lenses, or better, long focal lengths. I don’t like being too much away from my subject because I feel I’m missing something. I always need to be close to the action, as watching a scene happen from a long distance will always result in a cold image that will have a very low chance to convey anything to the photographer and those who will later come across the photo.

On a second note, I always try to portray one person at a time. I don’t like crowded scenes because I don’t see anything interesting in that, unless something really unusual, maybe unrepeatable is happening between two or more people.

Last, but not least, my most important rule: always bring your camera with you, you never know when something will hit your photographic eye, so better be ready, always!

 Ilford HP5+ ASA400

How did you start with photography? 

Actually, it all begun buying an old Ricoh Singlex TLS as a birthday gift for someone else and while I was at the camera store I couldn’t resist, so I bought a shiny Minolta X-300 for me too, even if that would have meant being broke for a little while…but I just couldn’t help it, so it happened! I bought my first ever camera almost 4 years ago and I shot my first Kodak Colorplus 200 on a summer vacation in a special place, Portopalo di Capopassero, Sicily.
First rolls are always trouble but so emotional at the same time because they’re actually your gateway to discovering a wonderful way of expression which is photography. I believe that the first rolls you shoot say a lot about your talent and sensibility as a photographer.
Or, at least, that’s what happened to me

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

I study and live in Catania, and every year, between the 3rd and the 5th of February, the city hosts one of the hugest religious celebrations in the world, known as “La Festa di Sant’Agata” (The Festival of Sant’Agatha), commemorating the city’s patron Saint.
I have never been too curious about this catholic Festival and I never fully comprehended the importance that people in Catania give to this commemoration.
The celebration goes on night and day for three days straight through the city streets with thousands of “Devoti” (people deeply devoted to Agata) following the long route of the Saint’s Carriage.
There is a moment in these days of celebration in which Via Caronda at night is lit up with hundreds of big candles weighing from 10 to 50 kilograms each. Each Devoto carries a candle, the bigger the candle the bigger the “favor” being asked to the Saint.

So basically, I was walking along Via Caronda when something happened. A group of 5 big, strong, muscular Devoti stopped right beside me, in front of a small altar on the sidewalk, laying on the ground the candles they were carrying and placing them in the shape of a cross.

They sat on these candles and started to shout some loud prayers out to Saint Agatha, prayers for loved ones who are ill, friends who are gone forever or people who are struggling in their life for whatever reason.
I was suddenly surrounded by a number of Devoti gathered around this cross-shaped formation while holding their candles up and joining the others in their prayers. All the fire around me brought me to a mystical dimension in which I started feeling and behaving as a Devoto, and also following alongside with their prayers.

I took my Minolta X-700 out and started shooting in a situation that was completely new to me, I was IN the scene, I was part of it and this led me to push myself beyond all I knew about photography, beyond every boundary that I didn’t know I had. This was a turning point in my yet short career as a photographer, as I learned that emotion in the scene is what I’ve been always been aiming for from that day on.

If you were to create an open call, a contest, what kind of theme would you give? What would you like to look at and why?

I guess I would go with “Get in people’s faces”: I think it would be really cool to push photographers to come out of their comfort zone and literally shoot street portraits of unknown people that constantly walk us by without even noticing the great diversity that surrounds us. I believe that most of the time we feel alone or detached from reality, bored with routine, we just feel safe walking along paths that make us feel confident with ourselves, so photography can be a way to jump out of this static. I believe that every picture you take must tell a story, and every story needs to connect people, and this, in the case of street portraits, only happens when you as a photographer, are able to hook the subject and let the subject do the same with you, forcing yourself to overcome your fears and anxieties, becoming a better photographer.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with what tools do you use and prefer?

I mainly shoot analog.

My set up is made of two Minolta cameras, the Minolta XG-M and the Minolta X-700, two great, solid, reliable cameras, which I find extremely comfortable to use and carry around with me.
I usually load one camera with color film, which I prefer for portraits and landscapes, and load the other with black and white film, my street photography kind of film.
Usually, I go for Kodak Portra (ASA 160,400 or 800, depending on the light situation) for color films and stick to Ilford FP4 (ASA 125) or Ilford HP5 plus (ASA 400, which I usually shoot at 800 or even push it to 1600 to get better results in low light situation) as my favorite black and white stocks.

As for the lenses I always carry around three prime lenses, so no zooms as I mentioned earlier: a 28mm f 2.8 Minolta Lens for street photography and landscapes, a 35mm f 2.8 Minolta Lens, my favorite for street photography (I use this lens in most of the cases) and a 50mm f 1.4 Minolta Lens for close portraits.Portra 400

Sometimes I also shoot digital when the situation requires it. In those cases, I use a Fujifilm XT-20 mirrorless camera.

What do you think could be the role of photography in today’s society?

I believe that art should be a means to take the best out of people leading them to wonder about what they’re seeing without necessarily having an answer to everything they’re asking themselves.

Photography, as art, must do the same.

I wish people can be touched by my photos, in a way that they get to see the beauty and the emotions that I saw and was able to freeze inside a frame. There’s no need to tell everything about an image, all you need to connect with people is emotion and the feeling that a certain photo could have been shot anywhere in space and time and, therefore, it can belong to everyone.


Photography must teach us that our world has never been more stuffed with contrasts and diversity and that they are a part of us as we are a part of the whole. Whether we like it or not, reality exists and we, as photographers, must be keen observers of our own reality.

Are there any books you would recommend?

I must be honest, I’m not much of a reader. I mostly read comics as I’m also an illustrator and I’m constantly thinking in shapes and colors, rather than words (I’m not much of a talker too unless we’re talking about art and photography).
Actually, I read some cool manuals right at the start of my journey into photography, but one was a real eye-opener to me: it’s Michael Freeman’s “The photographer’s eye”, a book that will walk you into a vast number of techniques and exercises you might find useful in order to overcome rules and inertia.

Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work. (If you have any photos of this, please send them as an attachment).

As a film photographer, you will always struggle with the fact that shots are limited, and so it’ll come a point in which every one of the 36 frames you shoot matters. Unless you don’t use AF film cameras (cameras with autofocus function), you must master the hyperfocal technique and nail the choice of aperture and often guess the right focus distance when it comes to shooting in quickly changing environments like crowded street markets.

In these circumstances, you must be very good at visualizing a shot before it happens, so I often compose my image knowing that a subject or the action I expect to see will eventually show up where I am pointing, practically building the image before it shows up.

This actually happens a lot when I’m out shooting for Saint Agatha or at the Catania’s fish market
“ ‘A Piscaria ”.

What do you do with the discarded photos? 

I simply keep them in my hard disk. Sometimes I pick an old discarded photo that reveals to be prettier than I remembered and post it on Instagram, but the discarded photos are essentially a collection of memories.

(Donate your discarded photos for our preservation archive and future paper projects).

What does mean photography in your daily life?

Photography is to me what a mirror is for a reflex camera: it lets the light in.

Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

No, actually I really enjoy scrolling Instagram and recognize a photographer’s work without even reading the name. Guess what, this has a 100% chance of happening if I open Instagram and see a Steve McCurry’s Photo, absolutely unmistakable, his photos have like a trademark on them, there’s absolutely no way you can’t recognize his work, and this is what I love about this incredible artist.

My links:
IG: @theminoltakid @emiliano.zingale

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Learn From Experience: Fabian Albertini

Fabian Albertini (b.1965) is an Italian artist based between Reggio Emilia and Rio de Janeiro.

Albertini is guided by her interests in perception, movement, the relationship between man and environment through dialogues between art and spirituality. Combining photography, installation, and overpainted photographs, her projects often show fieldwork in remote locations – such as deserts, volcanos, and rainforests.

In her early work, she has explored the complexity of consciousness creating performances interpreted by contemporary dancers inside the environment, publishing five books on this theme from 2000 to 2010.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

There are no rules.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

I can see three big changes in my path: the first when I became an assistant at Superstudio13, the second when I met a French choreographer who introduced me to the world of dance, and in 2011 when I met my partner and we started traveling around the deserts of the world.

When you photograph with your camera do you notice the same things you notice with your eyes or do your eyes capture what the camera doesn’t allow you to look at?

In my case, it is more the second part. I use the machine to recreate the invisible in appearance, my latest research is precisely on perception, which changes constantly depending on who the observer is.

If you were to create an open call, a contest, what kind of theme would you give? What would you like to look at and why?

Freedom would be the title, without any limits of age or content, maximum expression freedom. More often I found open calls really boring, with repeated themes and too political choices.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with what tools do you use and prefer?

My equipment changes according to the project which I am working on. I can use analogic cameras such as Pentax 6×7 or 6×4,5 or switch to the digital with Nikon or Leica.

What do you think is highly conflicting with the concept of photography?

Politics, multinationals, mass globalization.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Sure!

1984 George Orwell,  33 artists in 3 acts Sarah Thornton, Marcel Duchamp. La vie à crédit, Bernard Marcadé.

Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work. (If you have any photos of this, please send them as an attachment).

My creative process has changed many times over the years. I started my career as a fashion photographer in the 90s in Milan, working in analog with medium and large format, where there was no photoshop and you had to create the perfect image in one click. Now in the digital and post-production era, I have reversed my way of thinking. I create the project, I shoot … shoot a lot… I let it settle like a good wine for months, and then I pick up the material and choose the perfect images for the concept that has developed further inside me, due to the experience of travel, to reading books, to endless research on the subject in question.

What do you do with the discarded photos? 

I keep all the discarded photos in paper or digital archives, because sometimes I recreate projects with archive photos, for example, Controlled Lives.

· Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

I follow several photographers, some examples: Wolfgang Tilmans, Julian Charrière, JR, Thomas Ruff.

Regarding magazines: Doc Photo Magazine, Flash Art, C41 Magazine, Yogurt Magazine, Another Magazine, Burn MagazineFoam Magazine.

Fabian Albertini

https://www.fabianalbertini.com/

https://www.instagram.com/fabianalbertini/