excellent work is very diversified. He always has been driven by his desire to tell the world about the beauty of our planet and its multiple cultures. He likes to transmit the emotions he experienced at the moment he took his images and share that powerful sensation with the viewers. His photographs always contain an aesthetic component giving his own personal vision on what he sees, may they be architectural of documentary.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, Marco.
I am 43 years old and live in Milan. I am an Italian with a French mother and I love to travel more than anything else, although unfortunately my job prevents me from doing it as much as I would like.
In fact, my main job is not photography. I work full-time on engineering for a company active in the field of energy facilities, which gives me the opportunity to be able to devote myself to photography and leisure travel in my spare time. I became Daniele's dad 22 months ago and have a happy relationship with my wife Chiara since 2004. Before devoting much of my free time to photography, I played football on a semi-professional level for 30 years up to 6 years ago.
How have your history and life experiences affected your photography?
I started photographing for fun less than 15 years ago, but only later did the interest become a great passion. I have never attended courses or workshops and all my skills have matured spontaneously, without resorting to anything more than the study of other photographers and the commitment in the field. In this, the 1x community has been very important, since it is possible to observe many excellent photographers engaged in all possible genres.
The passion for photography has grown in hand in hand with the passion for travel. Only later I approached the artistic genres that I can also develop in my beautiful city (Street and Architecture).
What first attracted you to photography?
I have not yet discovered why photography attracts me so much. I don’t know exactly what drives me to carry 10 kg of equipment on long excursions to places sometimes very inaccessible and inhospitable. Probably I am driven by the desire to tell those who can’t travel as much as I do, about the beauty of our planet and its multiple cultures.
But certainly, there is also an aesthetic component in my work. I like to give a personal vision of what I observe through my lens and I love to wait for the reactions from the viewers from which I learn if I managed to be original and communicative in what I do.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
Photography, according to my vision, is the most powerful communication tool that exists; what moves the soul comes through only one of our senses: sight. The message goes straight to the heart without needing anything else than your own eyes. If a photograph works, a simple glance is enough to generate strong emotions. This, however, also entails the ambitious task of being communicative with a single frame, and excluding a whole series of means that other arts have instead (sounds, smells, touch, etc.).
In my specific case, photography has the great ability not to make me forget my experiences: by looking at my image I can return to experience the emotions experienced at the moment of the click. It is a powerful sensation, perhaps the one that drives me most to continue travelling and photographing.
You have your very own style but your work is very diversified. Can you explain why this is?
Yes, it's true. The fact that I photograph for passion and not for work pushes me to face different areas, precisely because the important thing is not what I photograph, but to continue exploring the world in all its forms through photography.
With the exception of photo art, which I admire a lot here on 1x but which is not in my technical virtues, I love travel reportage, documentary photography, street, architecture and my works are often a mix of all this. On special occasions, when I have the opportunity, I also love to photograph landscapes and animals but I am very selective when it comes to uploading this type of work on 1x, because I am never fully satisfied with the result. It is an incentive to do better and better, although sometimes it does cause some frustration. Furthermore, I think I am an instinctive photographer who never studies subjects and doesn't like waiting for the right moment. These characteristics are not very suitable for genres in which you need to be patient or in which you need to prepare photo sets.
I much prefer to photograph while walking and moving constantly, which suits best my dynamic and enterprising character.
When I plan a trip, I always try to include photographic destinations in my itinerary and moments to be able to make the most of them. But it is not always possible to predict what chance or luck will bring you together.
Not being a professional photographer, and photographing mainly during my holidays spent with the family, it is unthinkable to plan the trip only in photographic terms.
This often leads me to photograph what I encounter during my tour and this increases the possibility of running into situations where you need to adapt to the circumstances.
What is more important to you, the mood/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
The mood, the story behind the shot and the shooting technique are the three most important factors for me, in the sense that without even just one of these three, photography will rarely be successful. This is why practising my photographic genre is extremely difficult. These are all things that are impossible to recover after shooting. I think in some circumstances I have to be obsessed with these three components. To be able to triangulate these different factors without resorting to photo sets, which many travel photographers do (I hate these things), it is necessary to research the subjects and environments and it is very difficult to be in the right place at the right time. You certainly need a lot of luck too.
For the technical aspect, however, it is more controllable using good equipment and gaining experience in difficult conditions, even if precious shots are often lost due to bad lighting, high ISO, blur, etc. A beautiful photo afflicted by focus problems, for example, loses all its magic.
Some of my best shots were taken in a matter of seconds. This, if possible, can be an encouragement for all those who have few opportunities to take photographs and think that without hanging around for hours it is not possible to take a spectacular street photo!! My motto is "carpe diem", and you learn it over time through experience and it is only partly thanks to personal talent. After all, which photographic genre is more than street and reportage the result of adaptation, luck and timeliness?
The only elements I assiduously look for when I am in the field are:
- the context: it must be representative of the place but, at the same time, it must be free of disturbing elements.
- the light: it must be natural and coming from a hot source (e.g. incandescent lamp, candle, oil lamp, a window, etc.).
I think that these elements are, perhaps unconsciously, the elements that most influence my choices in terms of places and photographic moments.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
In recent years I have learned to imagine what type of result I want to achieve, in a specific situation, in the final editing phase. This means that a contextual portrait or a street photograph, in my head, can be born directly in black and white. In fact, I believe that on some occasions colours are not needed, rather they even disturb the result.
What I look for while I am "at work" are people's looks, traditional clothes, the way of life, naturalness. To function in a photograph, I believe that all of this must be placed in an environment that in some cases is more important than the subjects themselves.
Finally, the last three things that make a photograph unique are the ambient light, the shooting point, and the spontaneity of the subjects portrayed. I never use the flash. I never ask people to pose, in fact I always try to photograph them while they are busy with their daily affairs. I try to be as unobtrusive as possible, even if using focal lengths like 24mm, 35mm and 50mm and that is not always easy.
I hate travel workshops because I find them invasive and disrespectful. I think it is a practice to firmly discourage, because it teaches very poor people that it is more profitable to pose for photographers than to carry out their social and work activities, destroying their already very fragile micro economy.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
I currently use the following equipment:
- Canon EOS 5DIV,
- Sony Alpha 7III with Metabone adaptor for Canon EF lenses,
- Canon EF 24mm f1.4 L,
- Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L,
- Sigma Art 50mm f1.4,
- Canon EF 100mm f.2.8 IS macro L,
- Canon EF 11-24mm f4 L,
- Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 L,
- Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 IS L.
What software do you use to process your images?
I mainly use Adobe Lightroom, which guarantees me all the features I need to carry out all post-production activities. I find it an extraordinary and complete software.
Indicating others would not be significant now.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I don't have a predefined work-flow but. I rely on my instinct to get a version of the image as close as possible to the vision I had while taking it.
Generally, I just work on the usual settings available in Camera Raw, such as contrasts, curves, sharpness, shadows, lights, etc. Only at the end of my creative process do I work with brush tools to selectively optimize some areas, based on the sensations of the moment.
Lately I am dedicating much more time to post-production than in the past, especially in portraits, also because I noticed that on the 1x galleries, which inspire me, the level is very high and it is necessary to take care of the smallest detail in order to be published, and often that is not enough either.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Photography and how do you get started?
I think the best advice I can give is to cultivate your passion. The good news for aspiring photographers is that you do not need thousands of Euros of equipment to take good pictures but only the desire to experiment, learn and improve daily.
What I recommend is to create an account on the main portals dedicated to photography (not social networks) and start getting involved even looking for a minimum of healthy competition.
1x.com, although very ambitious from a qualitative point of view, is a point of reference for learning and progressing. Sooner or later they too will be published, and this will be the beginning of a beautiful training course.
As far as technical advice is concerned, I think taking photographs among people is a complicated thing. The on-site approach strongly depends on where you operate.
Photographing in Asia is different than photographing in Africa, in USA or in Europe.
In some places in the world it is tolerated, sometimes welcome, that a foreigner enters the house and photographs people in front of their bivouac or while they are eating. If you do the same things in Europe or the USA, problems may arise, even serious ones. Someone might even react violently.
For this reason, you must always use common sense and understand how far you can go!
Generally, I always ask for permission but in this way, often, the magic of the right moment is lost, so if I can, I take advantage of the moment and then I manage the situation with a spirit of adaptation.
Fortunately, with a few smiles, and sometimes a few tips, it is almost always possible to solve situations without major problems.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I look at thousands of photographs and constantly, almost obsessively, look for elements that can teach me something. My sources of inspiration are not necessarily represented by illustrious photographers. I follow the 1x.com community and participate in international contests where I come across authors who are incredibly good, but completely unknown and capable of making the world so real that you feel like traveling with them.
If I must name important names, I do those of Sebastiao Salgado, Francesco Cito, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Ferdinando Scianna, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Steve McCurry.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
Well, I would say that I happen to be inspired daily by works done by other authors. Generally, the ones that impress me most are those most relevant to my main genres. Usually I am attracted to the general aesthetic of the image, the composition, the mood and the story behind the shot. I think "who" is not important but rather "what" is important.
I think that dedicating 20 minutes a day to observing the works published on 1x is more useful than reading tons of books ... and in addition you can also make friends.
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 think I have found my photographic path. Now it's up to me to "sharpen the blade" and improve my skills on the field, although I would like to have more time to devote to photography.
As far as my goals are concerned, I would say that they are more aimed at the places of my next trips rather than new photographic styles, even if with a small child it will be difficult to go to risky places from the hygienic-sanitary point of view.
From a cultural point of view, I would like to go to Iran, Guatemala, Laos, some rural areas of China. From a naturalistic point of view, however, I dream of Mato Grosso in Brazil, Bolivia, the Land of Fuego, Ethiopia, New Zealand, the Philippines. But I could mention many other destinations.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
I don't have a favourite photograph, but perhaps the one that gave me the most satisfaction in terms of visibility is "Together till the end of the day".
I took this photograph in Myanmar during a voyage done with my wife discovering this beautiful country. This is a truck that was bringing home lots of these woman's after a long working day in the rice fields. So tired but so smiling. Incredible people! I love them!
It is a special photograph for me not only for the beautiful photographic satisfactions it has given me, but also because it expresses the character of a people, the Burmese one, with whom I immediately fell in love. Without a doubt the most beautiful journey done so far. Moreover, it is a photo that makes me think about our society, full of everything, but never satisfied with what it has.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I am very happy to use 1x as a basis for my work, the site has also given me good visibility.
In my opinion, the only thing that can be improved is the management of sales, since, although I have sold more than 100 so far, I realized that they are always the usual 7 or 8. Maybe a different rotation with the partners might be needed to forward other images that could have a good chance. Also, I see a lot of sales made in a few cents which could, in my opinion, be avoided. Perhaps resorting to stock photography could be avoided with a special check box that each user could deselect.
It may also be interesting to know on which platform the photographs are sold.
As a last wish, I would like to know, also through synthetic and coded information, why a photograph is rejected. It would be important to know if it is a technical, artistic or simply a photograph similar to others published below. It would help to understand if you need a larger artistic application or a more precise choice of the topics proposed.
Elegant and eloquent work. And I respect the 'diversity' and appreciate that 1x didn't hold that against the artist. What a refreshing article. Thank you...
Thank you really much Robert for your really nice words. I really appreciate your comment!
Carissimo Marco, un bellissimo articolo, con tante belle fotografie. Complimenti e Ti auguro tanta felicità nella vita con la Tua famigliola.
Grazie infinite Izabella! Apprezzo molto il tuo supporto.
A splendid collection of images of great technical and artistic quality, and an interview of great interest. An absolutely deserved tribute, Marco, my congratulations. (And thanks to you too, Yvette, for having once again brought to our attention an extremely talented author like Marco)
Thanks for your kind attention, dear Sergio ;-)
Thank you really much Sergio for your support and your friendship!
Le mie più sentite congratulazioni per il premio ma ancora di più per le foto meravigliose. Max
Grazie mille Massimo, sei molto gentile!!
Congratulazioni amico mio........Un grande tributo meritatissimo!!! Grandissimo!!!
Grazie tante Peppe, in questo periodo di impossibilità a viaggiare ci voleva questa soddisfazione! Un abbraccio amico mio, spero di vederti presto
Dear Marco, thanks for your fine collaboration. Congratulations with the feature of photographer of the week: well deserved! Enjoy ... Cheers, Yvette
Thank you really much Yvette, this is a big honor to be part of this work ! A really appreciate the final result ! Admirable !
Peter Davidson CREW
Excellent insight into what moves Marco to photograph, another great interview Yvette! So good to see such diverse yet powerful images from Marco. Bravo!
Thanks for your appreciation, Peter!
Thank you really much Peter !
Arnon Orbach CREW
Dear Marco, love your photos they are quite diversified, subject wise, but all maintain that great feel of authenticity. My congratulations on the remarkably interesting interview (Great work Yvette as always) and your beautiful gallery. Thanks for sharing. Have a good week.
Thanks dear Arnon!
Thank you really much Arnon, I appreciate your support !
Daniel Springgay CREW
Marco Tagliarino great set of wonderful images - Portrait photographer to the world. Well done. Yvette well done girl wonderful article go to the top of the class...