Marianna Berno was born and raised in Naples, Italy, 28 years ago.
She is a student of foreign languages majoring in English and Japanese Language, Literature and Culture at Naples Eastern University.
In 2009 after traveling to London, she started to feel the need to take street photographs to show people her point of view about the world, but only a couple of years later she could afford a DSLR camera.
She has never stopped snapping since then.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
What are the rules of your photographic work?
The first rule of my photographic work is: observe. I look around me to notice things that people take for granted. If something catches my eye there’s a reason, so I think “what can I communicate with this?” — It can be interesting to see how the meaning of a picture – of a detail – changes depending on the person who is looking at it.
The second rule is: look at the light. Light must be the ink of your artwork. I think it makes the picture.
The third rule is: put your emotions in it. In a picture there isn’t only the image that was captured, there’s also the photographer’s story and the story of the viewer.
“And when it rains on this side of town it touches everything”
Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?
I think basic techniques as the rule of thirds and lighting key rules can already make the difference. A tool that I find cool is the prism, you can play with the lights and make things interesting with that. But above all, what really makes the difference is creativity and the ability to catch details no one else catches.
I’m still learning but whenever I see the works of other people I want to feel emotions, I don’t mind if they’re technically imperfect.
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.
Last year, while I was in Japan, I stopped at a traffic light and I started to look around me and I thought that it was like a movie scene. The way people crossed the road, the expression on their face. I wondered where they came from and where they were going, what they were thinking of, I wondered if they were in love. Every person is a microcosm. I wanted to capture all of that and make it more interesting, more “cinematic.” This made me change the way I work – in a better way, I hope.
Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.
When I started to take pictures I sometimes thought to quit everything because I didn’t feel good enough. I was missing the point that even the photographers whose works inspired me must have started somewhere. Maybe they weren’t that good at first. The only thing I could do was keep practicing. Learning is a never ending journey.
How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?
I absorb everything like a sponge. This makes me in the position to capture the atmosphere and relate to whoever I’m surrounded by. By the way I am a melancholic soul so this is the feeling I try to capture the most because I can relate on a higher level.
I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.
Underexpose a little bit to avoid losing details. RAW is better than JPEG. Look through the heart.
Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?
I started with a Nikon D3100 camera and I’m currently shooting with a Nikon D600. I’ve always used a 50mm f/1.8 lens and I think it’s my favorite one.
I also shoot on film with a Minolta X-700 and a 50mm f/1.4 lens.
Are there any books you would recommend?
I recommend The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman. A must-have to improve composition!
What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?
People. People inspire me.
The way people can create things, the way people speak, the way people feel. We can learn from every person we meet and I think it’s inspiring.
Besides that, Instagram is a great source of inspiration. My favorite photographer is Paola Franqui (monaris_) and I hope I’ll become as good as her.
“We are all different. Don’t judge, understand instead.”