When you walk on a road you know well, try to look at it with new eyes. A photograph is a story of who you are, of your soul. It is detachment and participation. It means being into things, but with the ability to see them and recognise them. It allows you to be very close to people but in a different way.
“Are we, perhaps, here just for saying: House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate, Jug, Fruit tree, Window, – possibly: Pillar, Tower?… but for saying, remember, oh, for such saying as never the things themselves hoped so intensely to be.”
(R. M. Rilke, Duino Elegy #9)
Look at the lines of the shadows. Something can become something else. A flower can become a person. A girl can turn into a swan. A sheet metal a road to heaven. The woman who hangs out clothes is not just your mother, look at her beautiful face, the beauty of a face shaded by the steam of a hot drink. Watch “the exquisite blush of wine stains strewn on the tablecloth, the livid zebra stripes of lightning” on the faces of drinkers in a tavern… (M. Yourcenar, Oriental Tales)
Photograph the scent, the sound, the thoughts of others, like the angels in Wim Wenders’ movie Wings of Desire: listen to the voices (for example on a bus … in the metro).
Photography is a serious matter. It has the responsibility to disclose reality, not to delete it. As it happens in a dream when we recognise some elements, yet something, just barely, is different.
Jewish tradition says that the light can only be seen in a reflection. At the end of Shabbat the Jews put their hands close to the candle , those little mirrors of our body, the nails that reflect, as our eyes do, mirrors of the soul. The Other too reflects the light. The look in return, the mirror – it is the essence of photography, too. It becomes what you look at. And do not be afraid of your weakness, because it is your strength. Look at places like they are in a fairy tale, where a small thing becomes big or, otherwise, you are now the Alice in the mirror. Anything is possible. Let your intuition guide you.
Do not show the reality as you want to be, and do not judge. A good photograph does not need any added words, it is already a book. You have to observe, learn, be amazed, be surprised, be moved.
You give life to beauty; without it your look would disappear leaving no trace.
Photograph the movement. Walk beside the people to photograph them, put yourself in the game when you are shooting, dance with dancers, run by those who run away.
Never despair: a missed train, a missed appointment, you can always turn these events into opportunities: it will turn into an even more interesting photographic adventure. It is nice to discover the parallel design of destiny. Do not miss the opportunity to turn the misfortune to your advantage.
And then, the photographer is like a magician, he/she previews something before it happens.
Become invisible, part of the landscape, a piece of furniture.
Photography is an art that is very compromised with reality, it can not and should not escape from it. Maybe it is a question of balance between space for the photographer’s creativity and space for the unveiling of reality, such as at the origin of photography, with the plates exposed by the light itself or from items placed on the plate itself. Perhaps the eyes of the photographer may be that plate, open, even wide open outwards, not concentrated to only explore the effect of the world on its inside.
I would like to go back to the beginning of photography and to the priorities of its masters, observe life and the world, learn, be astonished, wonder, be moved.
Do not invent, do not be biased, but let our intuition help us distinguish important (significant) things.
Do not show the reality as we would like it to be.
I do not impose your artistic vision, manipulating the elements of reality.
Reality is for me more amazing and mysterious than our own imagination.
I chose photojournalism, hence, not conceptual photography.
Photojournalism as the creative writing of reality.
It is like painting an icon to explore the canon of the chosen form and let the reality itself imbue us like a sponge.
As if the picture was a text dictated by someone else.
It is an inner creative process, an exercise that uses only reality as matter of investigation.
It is not a passive record, nor a documentation; it is rather perceiving deep human bonds, and have these bonds, together with compassion, create something new.
There is no look-and-go, nor picture-hunting or photo-safari but, somehow, a reflected look.
To tell you the truth, I do not know any method other than study, go and question myself every single day of the trip. By focusing on the pure observation of reality, almost in a childlike way, deeply intuitive.
Photography is for me is perhaps a matter of commitment, of practice (the Greek téchne, hence, “art”, but also “know-how”), meditation, sensitivity and patience. It is a serious matter, but at the same time it is a pleasure to be, sometimes very closely, around people, This is perhaps the only good reason to take pictures.
Therefore, photograph people not to take a pretty picture, but because they exist.