I am not a photographer and I became interested in photography thanks, in part, to smartphones (outrage?!). I have always liked taking photos, but I often found myself in situations when I would have liked to take a picture and I’d left my camera at home, or in which using my camera would have been too indiscreet (I’m thinking about when I’m out on the street and I take pictures of strangers). The arrival of the smartphone, with increasingly sophisticated cameras, most definitely solved these problems!
With my mobile in hand, I have become an instinctive and tireless ‘image-snapper’. Small and easy to handle, a smartphone allows me to take photos quickly and, indeed, without attracting too much attention: I see something and, before you can say ‘snap’, I’ve taken the shot. I often walk around with my phone in my hand or in my pocket, for fear of missing out on that once-in-a-lifetime moment. Instagram has become a platform for sharing the things that I like (and also for meeting people with the same interests as me; but I’ll talk about that another time).
Since I started using this social medium, my approach to “photography” has changed, my taste has changed and, even if a lot of the images I publish come from the desire to share something that struck me in that precise instant or in a moment of happiness, over time, I have begun to add other photos that are the result of experimenting with something less spontaneous. There is a great deal of talk about the impact that Instagram is having within the world of photography; I am of the opinion that professional photography is something different and that using this social medium does not make us all photographers. However, Instagram and professional photography definitely have in common the opportunity to get across a message, arouse an emotion, tell a story through images; and it is this that fascinates me the most about both of these worlds.
I mentioned that I share the things that I like on Instagram. I am a lover of nature and of wide-open spaces. In my free time, especially when the days are getting longer and it starts to get warmer, I try my best to organise outdoor activities, so a lot of my pictures are landscapes. One of the things about which I am absolutely sure is that, in order to take beautiful photos, you must do beautiful things; it is real life before becoming digital. Therefore, my first piece of advice is: get outside!
I travel a lot, even for my work. When I can, I go running in the early morning and often, especially when I’m abroad, this leads me to ending up in some wonderful places. Some of my favourite images were taken in such situations. I’m not trying to suggest that you all go out running early in the morning (although it could even be good for you), but that you find your way of discovering new things, new places, of getting lost.
For me, taking a photograph is mainly based on instinct. When I’m out and about, I often find that I ‘see the photo’ in what I’m looking at and, sometimes, it’s just a stroke of luck, randomness, that makes a shot something special: a child passing by, someone who, without realising it, ends up in the photo. As in this photo taken in Marrakesh: I was trying to photograph the inside of the mosque, when a woman came and stood right in front of me and I thought, “Damn!” And instead, that person made the photo much more beautiful.
Another important thing when I take a picture is taking care with symmetry and proportions: if you take the photo from within the application, Instagram includes a grid that helps you to get the main subject in the centre of the image and to keep the horizon straight in landscapes. If I take pictures of buildings that have unusual geometrical structures, I try to follow the lines in order to enhance them. It’s good to pay attention to symmetry and proportions and then, sometimes, to forget it all and put the main subject in a corner, include lots of sky and very little ground or vice-versa. The important thing is to do it knowingly; the difference between that and a photo that simply “went wrong” will be noticed.
One last piece of advice – more suited to Instagram than to generally taking pictures – is to favour simple images, tending towards minimalism and preferably full of light. You must bear in mind that your photos will be mainly viewed on a small screen and scrolled through quite quickly. “Crowded” photos with lots of details are not sufficiently appreciated in such a small space.
I was born in Turin but I consider Milan my home. I love nature, good food, sunny days spent outdoors and in good company.