I am an amateur photographer since high school. Then, I was shooting in black & white on 135 film, like everybody else. I processed my films myself and printed the photos myself in a home-made photolab, like everybody else. I was an avid fan, yet what free time I had, I had to spend on schoolwork, and then obviously I got a day job, a career to take care of etc. Which meant that, for many years, any thoughts of seriously diving into photography were rejected out of hand. But now, having picked up the legendary Leica with its peerless lens system, I know that shooting is not just my hobby anymore, it’s a part of my life. It helps too that Leica is a different world as far as mobility and ease are concerned – with a Lecia, you don’t have to carry an arsenal of heavy lenses on your back.
What am I shooting with these days? Several cameras, both digital and film, for example, an M Leica, a FujiFilm GX617 – a medium-format panoramic film camera, Lee Frost’s favourite, a Rolleiflex 2.8F and Contax 645.
What I am after in photography? Experimenting and finding new themes. My “Life en pointe” project is the fruit of my interest in Patrick Demarchelier works. His subtle style of painting with light quite impressed me with its simplicity and finesse, and I had this idea to shoot the graceful and light movements of ballet dancers. There were 15 people who took the audition, we retained 7, all turned out to be fantastic.
The “On the night streets” project is another story – a throwback to my high school experimental years. Back then I liked to play with a lightstick as the light source in order to create the picture. This is an interesting technique that allows one to look at familiar objects and images from a new angle. A typical case is a view of Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, the bridge that connects the Palazzo Ducale with the prison. Here, the rays of the light transform the scene by throwing the silent witnesses of the last steps of a condemned (we know the Byronic legend that those who crossed that bridge rarely came back) into stark relief.
And then there is a series of panoramic pictures taken on film. The only common feature is their size – 6 by 17 cm, and the film, a medium-format 120. One can say that today, in the age of digital photography, a guy with a film camera is a weirdo. But in travels around the world I cannot help but notice a major renaissance of film – more and more people, and young people at that, prefer shooting with old film cameras. Their pictures are very atmospheric and warm. Yes, they lack the crystal-clear precision of the digital, but they exude grace and nobility. And the magic of the film grain! I can talk about that for hours.