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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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