by Editor Marius Cinteză
In a very few words Carmine Chiraco’ is a talented, self-educated photographer based in Rome, the place where his passion for photography started in 2014. His remarkable work is a depiction of reality as he perceives it and also a mean of portraying his own layered reality. Carmine’s passion for photography comes from narrowly observing the everyday life on the street; he is most interested in capturing what it is beyond the scenes happening in front of his camera, thus revealing us the unique and sophisticated visions on the urban surroundings. The combination of the multiple and long exposure techniques is successfully mastered by Carmine in his admirable photography and the results convey the impression of detailed overlapping sketches of the beautifully chaotic (but still organized!) compositions.
Please join and learn more about Carmine and his amazing photographic works!
Thank you so much Carmine for taking the time to participate to this interview! To start, I would kindly ask you to briefly tell us about Carmine Chiriaco’ - the man behind the camera, your hobbies and other projects you are involved in.
My name is Carmine and I am a self-taught photographer based in Rome, where my passion for photography began in 2014. My work is a depiction of reality, as I perceive it. I'm constantly asking myself to look beyond what is in front of me. I find myself gravitating toward scenes that are full of friction, distortion and movement, using photography as a way to share my perspective on reality.
I’m graduated in Economic Sciences and, at the moment, I’m Chief Administrative Officer in a company based in Rome. Friendship, as well as love, is very important for me and I try to spend as much time as possible with my friends. I love reading, going to the cinema and to theatre, to see modern or classic ballets.
What first attracted you to photography?
Through photography I try to communicate the emotions that I am feeling in that moment, to the observer. My aim is to tell a story each viewer can experience, and allow him to see the world through my eyes.
For many of us the photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define the photography?
Recently Sol Marrades (member solmarrades), a great artist and photographer who I love and respect a lot, wrote to me: “We are all what we remember. Photography is our memory ... photography is life!!” I fully agree with her vision and this is how I would define the photography!
What would be your most important advice to a beginner in photography?
My simple advice will be to study a lot about photography, to look at a lot of photos in national and international museums or simply in different websites about photographic themes, and finally to follow everyone’s own instinct. And this is exactly what I did!
Carmine, what is your most important experience so far that have influenced your steps in photography?
I always try to make all of my pictures unique, so that nobody else could reproduce them. During a recent visit in Copenhagen I wanted to experiment a new photographic technique and my first photo published on 1x.com comes from this. From that moment I found my way!
You are an active member of 1x community since 2016. Where did you first learn about 1x and what did you feel when you have got your first photo published?
I am a very social man; I have signed in for different photographic websites. I’ve always heard about 1x as the top one for photography, a website where published pictures aren’t just those voted by friends, but those selected by a professional team of curators, just like a real photographic gallery. One of my dreams (just like other photographers, I think) is to see my own shots exposed in an important gallery, just like 1x is. I joined 1x on July 2016 and submitted my first 6 photos, but none was published. I didn’t give up and I submitted again on November, starting to receive consensus from curators.... and now I am here!
You said that you find yourself gravitating toward scenes that are full of friction, distortion and movement, using photography as a way to share your perspective on reality. What makes you so drawn in this kind of photography?
Photography gave me a lot. It gave me the opportunity to meet, personally or virtually, other talented and extraordinary people with whom I share my passion. Photography motivated me to travel a lot and to discover new places and different cultures. Photography is not just a hobby for me, it's my world!
From your perspective what is more important: the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection of the final product?
For me the visual impact of the image is really important; what it conveys shows the way how it was produced. The most important thing is that the final product will tell us a story.
How do you connect to your subjects matter beyond being an observer?
I try always to blend in with the world that surrounds me, observing what happens and being ready to take the right shot with my camera. Often, for the street photography, I used the tripod and that prevents me from being unnoticed. In my shot “Fushimi Inari Shrine”, taken with my tripod placed in the middle, you can easily notice that people tried to respect my work, moving out from the shot. Thanks to this way to act, I was able to catch both the people’s trail and the perspective and the beauty of that place.
Do you carefully choose the locations where you are intending to photograph?
I love to travel very much; I travel whenever I can. I try to combine travelling with photography. The more you love a place, the more you know about the people living there. So, before leaving, I try to study every street, building and street crossing where I can shoot. This is why I love the big cities! For this reason, Chicago will be my next planned trip in August.
How do you approach a new location when shooting for the first time: are there any specific subjects or compositions you are looking for?
When I arrive in a place, I try to narrowly observe what happens around me and I try to hear the cool vibe that location conveys to me. I usually prefer very chaotic places. I always follow my instinct.
Your photos are wonderfully composed revealing abstract, parallel worlds where you place your subjects. Can you please tell us something more about your workflow?
Like many photographers, all my shots are RAW files. Then I transfer them on my Mac and with Lightroom I apply all the necessary changes. I also use Photoshop every time I want to make my shots more artistic and, even if I am not an expert, I try to experience every instrument it offers me.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
Currently I use two cameras: a Nikon D750, with two different lenses (a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8) and a Fujifilm X-T2, with two lenses (Fujinon 18-55 mm f/2,8-4 and a Fujinon 23mm f/2). I use a MeFoto Roadtrip tripod and an FStop Kenti backpack. I also use ND filters for long exposures.
Carmine, who are your favourite photographers whose works have influenced you and your photography?
My passion for photography comes from watching everyday life going by on my street; therefore, Henri Cartier-Bresson would be my pick. Not just because of his great photos, but because his approach to photography which was to walk down the street, to photograph the reality and seize the right moment. This has really inspired my photography. Another photographer that I like a lot is Alex Webb because of his extensive use of colour, light and emotions to create beautiful and complex images. After reading an article, I found out and enjoyed the works of a contemporary artist and photographer: Grant Legassick, the inventor of the technique Multiple Exposures Composites. It’s his work that nowadays inspires the most of my last photos. It’s a common technique used by many photographers. A couple of them, which I admire, are members of 1x community, but there are a lot of them on others websites. I try to apply this technique to my street pictures and combining it with a long exposure.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
Grant Legassick’s “Odyssey”, but each of his works inspires me. I enjoyed the unique approach, the almost-chaos portrayed in the images, although when looking at one character, it almost seems peaceful and removed from the scene, almost isolated.
Can you please share with us your favourite photo taken by yourself and tell us why it is special to you?
I am tied to each of my pictures, because each of them is full of memories, feelings and emotions. But if I had to choose just one, it would be “Life in Copenhagen” for different reasons. First of all because it comes from a photographic technique experimented by me, everything you see in that picture is the direct product of my camera and me. With Lightroom I only modified the light, the contrast and saturation. It is the same technique I used for “Bicycle tour” and “St. Peter's Square”. I like this picture a lot, because it was my first one published in the 1x gallery (I will never forget the emotion felt when I received the email of its publication!).
Carmine, we nearly reached the end of this interview and here is my final question: are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I don’t like to talk about my future or my next aims, not because they are precious or secret, but just because they are difficult to be planned and often linked to multiple conditions not depending directly on me. I always prefer to talk about present things. My big dream is to start working at a professional level for photography, because I believe in this saying: “do what you love and you will not work a single day in your life”.
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