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Learn From Experience: Francesco D’Alonzo

He was born in Pescara on 20 September 1981. He began to photograph at the beginning of the second half of the 2000s, mainly landscapes inspired by love for nature and biodiversity. Over the years 2008-2011, the collaboration with the discorsifotografici.it website has been carried out for the creation of a page devoted to travel photography and paesaggidrabruzzo.com on the enhancement of Abruzzo’s territory. He began to deepen his photography, and in these years, he attended an advanced Reportage course in Rome at Photographic Offices, winning a special photo contest “Roma in a click” always at the Roman school in the same year. The human factor, investigating urban spaces, geometries, and forms of life within them are fundamental and fundamental themes of photographic evolution. This research brings him to participate in several international exhibitions (exhibition at Blank Wall Gallery in Athens) publications on several international street and black & white photographer magazines (Corridor Elephant, Paris, Apf Magazine Street Photography), entering 2017 within the “Exhibit Around” (Urban and Human Empathy) with exhibitions around Europe. To date, his photographic research, which is expressed through b & w images, concerns the study of urban spaces and its inhabitants, ranging from street to social reportage.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

The rules of my photographic work are essentially three: curiosity, programming, research

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

No, there is no particular combination of technique and tools, because we can have the best reflex camera, be technically perfect, but without a spirit of research, without our own photographic culture, the road is short.

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

Surely, years ago, to attend a storytelling course and live an experience in the field of about 1 year, within a reality very different from mine, sometimes even cruel, to create a photographic work.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

Fortunately, there were no difficult situations, but there were complicated situations, in which I certainly had to change my approach to the story I wanted to tell.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

certainly the environment and the people I relate to when I work on a project are the fundamental aspects to take into consideration. When I start a new job, I meet new people, I explore a new environment, normally I never take photographs at the beginning, so as not to make people uncomfortable, but above all to establish a relationship of trust with those in front of me.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques

I have no secret strategies, but I can suggest a technique that I often use and that in terms of shooting is almost always very good; that is to always enter the scene of the situation that you want to photograph, and then once you feel involved, start photographing, no one will notice the presence of a photographer anymore.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I have very light equipment, not very visible that allows me to move in a very agile way. I shoot with a fuji X-T3 and with fixed lenses, 23mm and 50mm

How do you relate to your customers? Do you choose them or do you let chance bring them to you?

It depends a little on what the work I carry out is. If it’s a long-term project, I usually choose them, knowing what story I want to tell. On the contrary, for more commercial jobs, it is the future clients who choose me

Do you think there is a perfect age to start being a photographer?

I think not, I think each of us finds his own way and perhaps a beginning with a specific date does not exist

What have been the consequences of COVID19 in your work?

Certainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic my work has suffered a great slowdown, works, ideas, projects, exhibitions, books, which I was carrying out and which saw 2020 as a year of realization have been interrupted.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Above all, I recommend these 4 books which for me have been and are still fundamental today:

“Other Americas” by Sebastiao Salgado, “Istanbul city of a hundred names” by Alex Webb,

“Gypsies” by Josef Koudelka, “Memoria” by James Nachtwey

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

Above all, it inspires me to tell people’s stories, to enter their intimacy.

Francesco D’Alonzo

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Learn From Experience: Andrea La Sorsa

Andrea La Sorsa

Born in Taranto on March 9, 1983.

The passion for photography was born about two years ago (2018) when I had three hands a Minolta srT101 had as a gift, and I resumed in hand the analogue photo with its home-made development of black and white negatives.

In my family I have always breathed photography, in my parents’ house there were boxes of negatives, with vacation photos and portraits made by my father.

My grandfather was one of the few photographers in my town, but unfortunately he passed away when I was still too young to understand the beauty of photography.

I grew up on bread and computers, I was born as a computer scientist and currently work in cyber security.

I’m a big fan of music, I played guitar in some rock bands in southern Italy and put records in various places as a DJ.

I prefer Street Photography, I like to be among people and look for the perfect moment and composition. Shooting with very short lenses (18mm) I immerse myself in the scene and many times I happen to explain to people what I’m doing, because they are curious and it is one of the most beautiful and important part of the street.

My equipment for the street is currently a Fuji mirrorless 18mm fixed (XF10), I prefer to stay very light on the street.

In some cases I carry a Fuji X-T3 with 35mm. 

I also practice studio portraiture, I like to be able to capture the perfect moment of the subject, a stolen glance or an almost hinted smile.

For studio portraiture I use a Fuji X-T3 with 85mm F1.8, Beauty Dish, LED panel for shades and flash for the background.

My contemporary references are Eolo Perfido, Stefano Mirabella, Platon, Alex Webb, Tatsuo Suzuki, Alan Schaller and many others.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

I don’t have precise rules, I rely a lot on instinct and what I like.

I love walking down the street, I like to do it even without a camera, because now having the eye of the photographer, you see the world differently. Many times it happened to take pictures with the phone not to miss that particular situation, now the smartphones mount lenses almost professional, where you can get out really nice work. Nowadays there are many photographers who use only the smartphone to be able to make reportage projects.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

By now, technology has made great strides, the kids of my generation straddled the transition from analog to digital. We saw the creation of new devices, from the first DSLR to the first Smartphone. Today’s kids were not so lucky, they found themselves holding ipads and iphones at an early age, something that was unimaginable to us. So back to the question nowadays there is no precise combination, all lenses are now very good lenses and even an entry level SLR is still a good machine and you can get really amazing results. I initially used a Canon 200D with its 18-55 and I can assure you that came out of the beautiful works.

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

When you start comparing yourself with other photographers and understand the world behind it, the change happens every day. Even just participating in a two-day workshop changes your way of looking and using your camera in a different way. Every experience, even the simplest, enriches you.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

Difficult situations often happen, especially when you do street photography, but this type of photography the risk is really a part of it, it’s different from when you shoot in a studio. During some portrait sessions more than difficulties, I had the anguish of not getting out and communicating what I wanted. but I think it happens a little bit to everyone. afterwards you learn how to handle the subjects, how to know how to position it and how to get out of the model what you really need both you and them.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

As I said above, the approach is very important. I have learned various socialization and relationship techniques for both street and portrait.

Some good portrait photographers, have always taught me that the important thing is to give confidence, because if you convey insecurity on the other side they do not perceive the professionalism and the game can not go on.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

I don’t have any secret techniques, but I can tell you that patience helps a lot during the Street, staying in one place for a long time waiting for the right subject for the scene to pass, and not changing location all the time.

As in a famous scene in Batman Begins “you have to study well the terrain of confrontation”.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I use a Fuji XF10, a compact camera that is very portable and easy to use, very convenient for the street. For the studio I have a Fuji X-T3 with an excellent 85mm, but in other sessions where I want the subject completely in sight I use a 35 or 50mm.

I don’t think the equipment is essential, but having a nice arsenal let’s say it helps a little bit.

Also, I often have to use analogue cameras, and I complete the work with in-house development.

How do you relate to your customers? Do you choose them or do you let chance bring them to you?

At the moment I don’t have any real clients, but they are models who work in TF, so we both gain, me for the experience and them for receiving work in return.

Do you think there is a perfect age to start being a photographer?

I started late, although photography has always been at home with me, my grandfather was a photographer, my uncle was a photographer and my father has always been a big fan. I remember the first Nikon SLR of which he was very jealous, the first time he let me try it I was in the third grade and after a while, when he saw that I took care of the camera and showed interest, he lent it to me for 5 days, during the eighth grade trip. It was a great emotion for me, I have to tell you the truth.

What have been the consequences of COVID19 in your work?

The covid as I think all of us have done has not helped our work, it has only complicated it, but it has given us the opportunity to discover new things. for example I have participated in many interesting webinars. there have also been many interviews on instagram that have really given us the opportunity to meet great authors.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Photography Lessons by Luigi Ghirri

Creative Photography by Franco Fontana

Drunk Companion by Charles Bukowski

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

If you are a creative, anything around you stimulates you, from food, to a song heard on the radio, to a person walking by, everything or nothing can inspire you.

You might even have a great idea in a totally non-creative context, like standing in line at the post office.

You just have to know how to look.

Andrea La Sorsa

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Learn From Experience: Paul Henschel

What are the rules of your photographic work?

I don’t over plan. I have a little concept in my head, but I don’t work conceptual. I’m always down for a cooperation with the ideas of the subject I photograph (even if I decline them sometimes). I like to see people photography as a cooperation.

I try to be in an atmosphere where I’m comfortable and can create a personal atmosphere. I don’t like being distracted by too big setups or assistants.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

The key for me is to keep things fast and simple. This doesn’t mean I never use or like complex lightning settings, but I have these only if it’s really necessary for my vision. Know what you do, but be open to try out new things. This is my ideal approach from a technique point. This sometimes brings me to another level of happiness with my own work, sometimes you fail, but its good you tried. It is a constant trial and error process.

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

I remember people thinking I would be a spy or make speed control if I photographed on the streets of Berlin. I just always had the feel most people don’t like being photographed.

When I did my exchange semester in South India, I was shooting a film documentary about construction workers to finish my course. This changed my view: I was overwhelmed how happy and proud people can be being filmed or photographed,

Another big influence for me was starting working in film business. The nature with film is that you need a bigger team, bigger gear, bigger budgets to make a project happening. This makes photography on the other hand so simple and enjoyable: you need none of this.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

I had barely difficult situations. A few times I just felt no connection between me and my subject I photographed. Even this can be a good situation. I figured out you can still have interesting results while feeling not that comfortable yourself. Of course, I don’t prefer this, but it can be an interesting process to go through.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

I’m in Berlin and have constant contact with all this open-minded hedonistic people here, but to be honest, I don’t feel being a part of that lifestyle to the fullest. For me photographing is a way to stay in touch with my environment I would say.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

I would say keep yourself and your subject happy is key. Either you have interesting natural light or you need to create it.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I am using a Canon 5D mostly. I need the speed of a digital camera to keep in the flow. When I do a shoot, I usually do a lot of settings and want to progress to keep up with what I have in mind. I also use analog point and shoot cameras like the Olympus Mju occasionally. I can see the advantage of film, slowing down your workflow and I like the color aesthetic of film, but I’m not a big fan of the workflow with buying film, developing it, scanning it. Too time consuming for the number of shoots I am doing.

Do you think there is a perfect age to start being a photographer?

I guess at early as possible is good, but in my case, I started pretty late. My first camera I had when I was 21 and for a long time I was not feeling like a real photographer.

I have problems telling I’m a photographer as this term is used by plenty of people I was judging as not being “real” photographers or artists. People might think the same about me. The definition of being a photographer I’m questioning anyways.

What makes a photographer a photographer: If you have a photo camera? If you shoot analog? If you are photographing regularly? If you are noticed by others as photographer? If you can make your living by it as a profession?

What have been the consequences of COVID19 in your work?

As I usually shoot people: I’m less open to shoot, people are less open to shoot. The result is I shoot way less photos. I was thinking starting to photograph objects but I’m just not fascinated enough by them to do it.

Are there any books you would recommend?

  • Boogie: Belgrade Guide
  • Martin Parr: Small World
  • Helmut Newton: Private Property

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

I get mostly inspired by personal memories: remembering my childhood, my grandparents, places I visited, specific conversations and moments and remembering their specific absurdity.

To a small certain amount observing or getting an understanding what others people work and life is look like can be inspiring too for me. Especially lifestyles I have not much to do with can be in a distant way appealing.

Paul Henschel

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Learn From Experience: Kseniya Apresyan

Ksenia Apresian is a russian photographer from Moscow,
currently living in Berlin.

She began to study visual arts in 2011. She is currently working
as a documentary and portrait photographer, interested in such
topics as self-perception, psychology, gender, sexuality
and movement practices. She moved to Berlin in 201 and continues
to explore personalities of the people around with the help
of her camera.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

My only one is – getting to know the person in front of the camera and really listening to their story.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

I try to use different techniques for each project, since as a documentary photographer I work with different ideas. For example, for the project about difficult childhoods I’ve chosen melancholic, noisy, black and white images that gave a feeling of an archive. For another one about fetishes and night life I was trying to recreate the club atmosphere with coloured lights and the flash. And so on.

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

I’ve studied at a russian documentary photography school called Fotografika (http://fotografika.su/) and each teacher influenced me a lot. One of the courses was called “Photography without stereotypes”, where we observed all the non-traditional ways of taking pictures and working on them: from in-game photography to visualizing the sound. And that was really an eye-opener.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

The most difficult for me is when I can’t find a way to build a connection with the person and to be honest I still haven’t figured out how to fix it. But luckily it happens very rarely.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

I try to see a personality first and see a shooting more like a friends meeting, where we try to create something together, not as something official. Couple of my shootings already turned into good friendships and I’m really happy that it happened.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

I don’t think I have any)

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I have a very basic camera: Ricoh gr II, which is often used for street photography.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

I’m crazy about cinema. I watch a lot of art house movies from Bergmann to Tsai Ming Liang and collect screenshots from them. It’s a lot of fun and hopefully also helps to develop visual taste a bit.

Kseniya Apresyan

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Learn From Experience: Inna Malinovaya

Inna Malinovaya is a stage photographer. She feels people very well and she knows how to manage emotions in the frame. She creates photographs using people, imagination and simple props. These skills allow her to have full-of-live portraits.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

To be honest, I do not have any specific rules in my photography work.
But I believe it is really important to know the theory: how the camera works, the theory of composition and how manipulate the light. In my opinion, rules are made to be broken but before broke them you have to know how it works.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

Especially for me the analogue camera and film pictures are very different from digital. You have only 24/36 attempts and you can not make mistakes. It makes you think more about each picture while thanks to the digital camera you can take an infinite number of shots and at least 1 will be successful. I don’t say it is bed. It just feels different.

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

The internship with the professional photographer was the best experience for me.
I was doing my internship with Beowulf Sheehan in NYC and frankly speaking, these 4 month gave me much more than 4 years at the university. If you really want to become a professional you have to learn from professional and watch the process from inside. It is so important to see how to communicate and work with the client, how to build your network, how to organise everything yourself. Also, the feedback, critic and advice are priceless.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

Oh, my whole life the last two years is one continuous difficult situation. Sometimes you face the situation that you can not solve. You can not do anything. The solution to the problem does not depend on you and all you can do is get distracted and wait. But in order to distract yourself, you must find something that will help you to switch from the problem. The occupation / job that will absorb you and where you will grow and develop. For me photography has become such an occupation, and I can say with confidence that only thereby to my work and projects I managed to hold on and not give up.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

I always look for the “right” mood and atmosphere. As for portraits I don’t look for the idol, perfect body or the perfectly symmetrical face. I’m interested in characters, charisma and texture.
As for subject, landscape and architecture I mostly search for the vibe. I like to show and create the mood through my photograph and objects in it.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

I guess my main trick is simplicity. I don’t like to complicate pictures. If there is a person I want precisely focus on the character. I don’t use extra editing / props / equipment. When I need to balance the active background and the person on it, I prefer to choose the more dynamic model. Thus the viewer’s attention is drawn to the model and her personality, and the vivid background is just an addition.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I am the type of person who consider that equipment is not as important as the ability to use it. For instants, you may have the last and the most expensive camera and lenses but without knowledge and skills it will not bring you any result. vice versa, you may have the most ordinary camera or even an iPhone, but your skills and knowledge will allow you to achieve an amazing result.

As for me, I love Nikon and use 2 cameras: D600 for digital and F60 for analogue plus Tamron 24-27 and Nikkor 50mm 1.8. Both are oldie but goldie.

How do you relate to your customers? Do you choose them or do you let chance bring them to you?

My most important rule in working with clients is that the client should like my style and what I do. Without it it’s very difficult to reach a good result with which the client and I as a photographer will be satisfied. So it makes me incredibly happy when a client tells me “do whatever you think is right. I trust you and your vision”.

Do you think there is a perfect age to start being a photographer?

I don’t think so. I believe there is no perfect age for anything. It is never too late to start something new or change your life. You’re never too old or too young. If you feel it is right way for you just follow it.

What have been the consequences of COVID19 in your work?

In one hand, since my direction in photography is people, covid 19 made me experiment more with self-portrait and still life. Also, the lockdown gave me a lot of time for rethinking my ideas, plane shootings more precisely and structure my goals.
In other hand, for sure there are a few negative consequences I think we all faced. If you’re doing photography for living and this is your business – it was and still is tough. Much fewer clients, opportunities and resources.

Are there any books you would recommend?

The first one that came up to my mind was Still Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. This book fully reflects my point of view regarding the inspiration of other artist’s photographs and art in general. This is okay to got inspired by someone’s photograph and recreate the same idea with your own vision. Everything in this world was already created and invented.
For sure some classic ones: On Photography by Susan Sontag and Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes – you can either agree with the authors or not, but this is a classic that you need to know. The same principle as with the rules: you have to know them before breaking.

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

Recently I’ve understood one simple thing. No one can inspire you more than yourself.
Every time when I see the result of what I do – it makes me feel that I want more and if I want more I can archive it. The process of growing up in the field is a huge part of inspiration for me.
In addition, some artists are an inspiration for me. I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe you’ve heard such a phrase as “place of power”? So, my place of power is the first row at the concerts of my favorite performers.

Inna Malinovaya

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Learn From Experience: Mara Haro

Mara Haro is an artist who uses photography and writing as the main tools. Born in Spain, she graduated from Granada University (degree in Translation & Interpreting) and she moved to Barcelona where she specialized in Photography. Body, genre and sexuality, in confrontation with social values that does not work, are the main focus in her work. 

She also loves learning new things, cooking and petting her cat.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

When I started working as a freelancer photographer I had to learn by myself how to set and keep boundaries when clients wanted too much for not enough.

I had to ask myself what I wanted in my life and what I didn’t want at all.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

In my artistic photography I work with my friends mainly, with friends of friends and with people interested in my work that reach me on social media; at the end all of them usually became friends. It’s Law of Attration.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

Listen to yourself, think carefully what you want to say and find your best way to communicate it through art.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

Always with digital.

I love the Sony Alpha serie.

I had the Alpha 7 and now I have the 7 III with the Tamron 28-75mm only.

I have a Nissin i40 and, basically, that’s all my photo equipment.

I’m a minimalist.

I had tried so many things over the years until I discovered less is more if you know how to use it.

Are there any books you would recommend?

I’m a book lover so this list could be infinite but let’s simplify:

The Complete Color Harmony of Leatrice Eiseman to learn about the psychology of color, any of the last Laia Abril’s books to see how a good photo book should be and, at home, I have Fraülein by Ellen Von Unwerth, a catalogue of the last Araki exhibition in Paris, two of Lina Scheynius and one of Ren Hang.

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

Any kind of art, beautiful daily moments and love.

Mara Haro

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Learn From Experience: Benedetta Ristori

Benedetta Ristori is a freelance photographer currently based in Italy. 

Her work is focused on the tension between a form and the space it takes and where it’s contained by.

Daily objects or common landscapes that are apparently meaningless, for the artist are symbols of connection between interiority and materiality.

The outside world is faced and represented through suspended atmospheres, bringing the viewer into a space less and timeless experience.

Working in both staged and spontaneous photography.

The vision is always consistent, combining meticulously location, colors and composition, with a particular attention on subtraction and reduction to the essential.

In 2014 she was interviewed by the magazine Vanity Fair in the Emerging Photographers section.

Around 2015 Benedetta was one of the finalists of the ‘Next Photographer Award’ by D&AD in partnership with Getty Images.

2016 one photo of her project “Lay Off” was the winner of the People category in the 16th Smithsonian Magazine photo contest.

The same year her project “Lay Off” is published by Vogue Italia, Ignant, Il Muro, Positive Magazine and others.

In 2015 she begin the series ‘East’ ended in 2018.

The project is published on VICE, It’s Nice That, Freunde Von Freunden, The Space Magazine, The Calvert Journal. 

2017 she was one of the 100 creatives chosen to represent the Lazio region in the annual initiative “Lazio Creativo 2017”.  

2018 she self-published her first book “East”, from the homonymous series.

2020 Ristori is one of the winners of “Refocus” by MiBact in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Photography and Triennale Milano.

Her work has been to illustrate articles in Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Label Magazine, Document Journal and others. She has worked commercially for clients like Airbnb, Fendi, Nike, Action Aid International. 

Her projects are exposed in various international exhibitions.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

I don’t follow any real rules. My work mainly focuses on representing a sensation and telling a story; the approach is instinctive and depends a lot on the person / place on the other side of the camera.

The only rule I can try to follow is to have a free and open mind and try to completely tune into what I am photographing.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

I think the difference is made by the vision.

It doesn’t matter what kind of medium or instrument you are using, it can be a smartphone or an analog medium format camera, but without an idea I don’t think there is any difference.

Very often I’m asked what camera or film I use, but I think you have to work based on the material you have and create your own visual path.

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

I believe I am in a constant moment of growth and change.

Everything that happens in personal life is automatically reflected in the photographic work.

This is why I think a turning point was when I became more confident and focused on my personal projects without thinking about what others were doing, focusing exclusively on what is important for me to express.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

I can say that I have never found myself in a difficult situation during my shootings.

The one that comes to mind may be while I was taking pictures of my project “East” during the winter months (in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia) and the snow was very high and has been a problem is to arrive in many locations so much so that I had to exclude some of them because they were unattainable.

Another small difficulty was with a broken film inside the camera, containing very important shots of a project, but luckily I was able to save more than half of the shots.

My reaction in these situations is initially discouragement but I always try to move forward quickly without being influenced too much.

Especially when I am on a project for several weeks and I cannot put it in crisis due to an unexpected difficulty.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

As mentioned before I try to tune into the subject and the space I am going to photograph.

For me it is very important to represent the context and environment in which a subject is contained.

After a practical research for the place or people I want to portray, I try to have an instinctive and free approach, without imposing restrictions on movement and action to the photographed person.

I like to find balance in what I have in front of me without changing it, and I always talk to the subjects to understand if what we are going to tell is actually part of them and if they feel comfortable.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I mostly use a Pentax Mx for my 35mm and a Mamiya Rz67 for my medium format.

How do you relate to your customers? Do you choose them or do you let chance bring them to you?

I am contacted directly by customers.

If there is no direct contact, I am contacted by the creative agencies or photo editors responsible for the project that will be assigned to me.

Do you think there is a perfect age to start being a photographer?

No. As I see it, photography is a journey and can begin at any age.

Starting at an older age can be synonymous with awareness, obviously if you want to pursue a career in photography it is better to start earlier but I would never put age limits on an artistic work.

What have been the consequences of COVID19 in your work?

The biggest impact was related to the inability to travel.

In 2020 I was supposed to leave abroad to continue some projects but it wasn’t possible.

I had to stop, and this can be frustrating when you want to pursue a project.

The positive side was that I had to photographically face the territory in which I live.

Are there any books you would recommend?

“Desert Cantos” by Richard Misrach, “Fotografien 1991 – 1995” by Laurenz Berges and “She” by Lise Sarfati.

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

The freedom to explore and learn about unknown places and untold stories inspires me a lot.

I think it is crucial for my creative process to have the possibility to enter and immerse myself totally in the reality that I am going to photograph.

Benedetta Ristori

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Learn From Experience: Irene Cruz

Irene Cruz is a DOP photographer and video artist.

She is fully engaged in photography in various fields: video art, film, as well as teaching.

Her works have been presented at festivals as well as individual and group fairs or exhibitions around the world, such as the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Circle of Fine Arts or the Palace of Cibeles in Madrid, La KunstHalle or Tempelhof in Berlin, Project Art Space in New York, the MUA3 in Alicante or the Da2 4 de Salamanca.

She currently resides in Berlin, where she takes advantage of the proximity to nature and northern light to incorporate them into her works.

She studied Advertising and PR, and Audiovisual Communication (UCM, Madrid, 2010).

Then completed the international master’s degree EFTI, (Conceptual Photography and Artistic Creation, 2011).

In 2013, she took a specialized course on cinematic narrative lighting at the same center.

She has won awards such as the Banco Santander Foundation’s Photo-Detail Accesit in 2010, the 2nd AENA Foundation Photography Award, the first prize at the II CFC-Iberdrola Photography Competition in 2014, and the 2014 Videoarte Best Piece Award by the international platform Elmur.net.

She has participated in the Photoespaña festival uninterruptedly since 2012 in various galleries and centers.

She combines her career in contemporary art, with teaching (at various specialized universities and schools in Mexico, Spain, UK, Germany and Switzerland) and her work as director of photography and colorist.

As DOP two feature films “Diana” (Fiction, Alejo Moreno, 2018) and “Proven Facts” (TBD, 2020).

Can be highlighted although she has also made video clips, campaigns (the last one she has directed for Levi’s), pieces of video art (highlighting her work at the Deutsche Oper 2014-2016), short documentaries…

Since 2019 she has been part of the AEC (Spanish Association of Directors and Directors of Photography) and CIMA since 2018 (Association of Women Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media). In Berlin she is part of the stammtisch Women in Cinema Berlin organization as well as an active member of The Women+ Film Network Berlin.

Statement

My work manifests mystery, intimacy. It declares the human being as part of nature and attests to its integration into the landscape…. The landscape that can be seen in my images always has an emotional role.

I am interested in working away from personalization, close to representing universal emotions and feelings, hence the absence of faces in general.

Photography is for me it’s a native language. From a very young age I communicate through it as my personal connection to the environment. I understand art as a quest, a therapy and a tool that leads me to constant spiritual and professional transformation. My work is always a mirror of my inner universe, of my position in front of the world, and a reflection of what I have to live in every moment of my life.

The most distinctive feature of my work is light.

I look for the limits of dusk and dawn, my light is blue, cold. I have always felt a great attraction for the dim and intimate, subtle, serene lighting that surrounds the stage. I create from the “liminal” (from both sides of a border or threshold);

I mean, being between day and night, tranquility and restlessness.

I move and explore the place that exists between the different polarities because for me there are no limits.

There are roads, bridges…

And in the end: Nature always wins, it’s everything.

Hey Emiliano! Thank you for this interview and for giving me the opportunity to share what I do with your beautiful Berliner community!

What are the rules of your photographic work?

The only rule when I create is that it has to flow, everything that I create emerges from my deep truth.

All my work comes from within, from the inner-places that I discover through my photography.

I have used photography from a very early age as a means of self-introspection, it is a way of life for me, I could somehow compare it to a therapy.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

I always love to explore different mediums and techniques. Right now I’m much more into film photography. I’ve recently acquired a Hasselblad which forces me to look at things differently and makes me stick to the language of square format. Something that has never attracted me and that I am now exploring.

I don’t think that any technique makes a difference, I think the important thing is to innovate, to try new things that can make your work evolve, and really express and contribute to your genuine way of looking at the world. This way we can inspire others, make them reflect, or simply enjoy our work and share with them our creative process.

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

I started working professionally in movies as a DOP and some cinematographic influence clearly can be perceived in my work ever since.

My first feature movie “Diana” was a challenge, I explored another way of seeing light, I started to paint with color reflections, which really improved my perception and it’s clearly been reflected in my personal work.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

There have been many difficult situations, this profession is full of challenges.

Without going any further: this 2020 in which I have hardly been able to make exhibitions, all the art fairs have been cancelled…

It has been a challenge to adapt the whole art market to the internet, to take advantage of other kinds of online possibilities… and to connect more with my followers and students on social networks instead of personally.

To quote I’d say: “The only possible adaptation to these times is innovation, doing things differently, coming together and looking for solutions in a dialogue and not in a constant fight. The only useful reaction is to reflect and redirect.”

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

Both the choice of spaces and the people who are photographed in my work are of big importance. The atmosphere of the photograph has to be conveyed as a whole.

For me the landscape or the place that is chosen always have an emotional reason. The two of them have to be in harmony.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

When I get creatively blocked, I always have a notebook where I automatically write how I feel, or if I don’t feel like it, I open any book (literary or art) and write about the first picture I randomly see or continue the text of the first sentence I read.

That brings out the monster that was blocking me. I hope it helps someone else!

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I own a lot of cameras, but my top 5 are:

Are there any books you would recommend?

Books for inspiration: 

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

I usually don’t know exactly where that thing they call inspiration comes from.

It always catches you when you are already working (as the great Picasso used to say).

It can be an experience, a sequence, an instant, a phrase, an emotion, a fragment of a poem, a colour…

When I look for it, I like to find it above all through books. I read a lot of philosophy; Simmel, Ritter, Schopenhauer, Spinoza, Heidelberg, Sennett, are some of my favorites.

I also go to the cinema: I really like Terrence Malick, Lars von Trier.

Especially Malick, he is a great influence, he has a very interesting cinematographic language, I find it fascinating.

As for photographers, I really like the work of Mayumi Hosokura, Francesca Woodman, Arno Rafael Minkkinen… I could keep going forever.

Irene Cruz