Stefano Mirabella is a street photographer from Rome, Italy. Stefano isn’t shooting and uploading tons of pictures every week but all his photos are impressive enough and some of really get to the core of the spirits of street photography, i.e. capturing the human drama and elements on streets. Stefano chooses his shots carefully and they are often so well-timed that we get a very funny or ironical image. He’s fresh and distinct in some unusual ways in representing the reality to evoke the senses of humour and dejection. We are showcasing some of his select images with an introductory interview of Stefano Mirabella:
I was born and I live in Rome since 1973, I work in the world of television production, and I have a true passion for photography. I love reading and collecting photography books, my latest purchases were books by Anders Petersen and Alex Webb, very different authors one from the other, but great inspirations both of them. I love travelling, I think it is a great way to invest my money.
I began shooting many years ago, but it was only two or three years ago that I started taking street photos and it was love at first sight. I first followed big names of street photography and famous collectives, and I have continued taking street photos ever since, as much as I can, whenever work allows me, during the weekend, during my spare time.
Taking photos and taking them down the streets it is for me a unique way to be with people, to observe them, approach them, with time you become almost a ‘voyeur’, you develop an eye sensitive to special situations and interesting characters. Somehow you become a witness and a story teller of the society you are living in. I do enjoy street photography, it fulfils me, it makes me feel good. I love trying to reinterpret the world in front of my eyes, to me photography is the perfect synthesis between the representation of reality and the capacity to transcend it.
When I walk the streets I carry with me only my camera and a pair of comfortable shoes. My equipment is cut down to the bone, I use a Canon 40d and a 28 mm lens. This kind of focal length allows you to capture big portions of the scene in front of you, but this also means having to manage the variety of elements that gets in your frame.
In may 2013 I won the international contest ‘Where Street Has No Name’, but my biggest satisfaction was being chosen as finalist in December 2013 at Miami Street Photography festival by a jury chaired by Costantine Manos, Alex Webb and Bruce Gilden, my most favorite street photographers. It was a big honor to me knowing that one of my photos was appreciated and appraised by such high-level photographers.
I love complex photographs, with more than one layer; I hunt connections and paradoxical situations, always in the attempt to transcend reality.
In my website there is a series of photos dedicated to shadows, I love that time of the day, those 20-30 minutes, when the sun goes down and shadows are stretched out. I try to slip into those last blades of light, and to observe reality from this interesting point of view, where for example the shadow of a person can become the body of another, and the shadow of a mother can take the features of a little girl following another little girl. The city in those few minutes is transfigured, and it feels like entering another dimension, an almost dreamlike one.
Developing and establishing a personal style is maybe even more difficult than taking good photos and I am still working on it. The best compliment a photographer can receive is about his distinctiveness and uniqueness, rather than on how much beautiful is one of his photos.
The risk of repeating yourself or of running out of ideas is always there; with time and the loads of photos seen and taken, but the love and the passion I have for this genre of photography helps me overcoming the difficulties. I go back down the streets, shooting less, perhaps, but trying to work on quality and originality. It happens to go back home with no good photos, but the hope that just around the next corner the scene you long for is waiting for you, it never dies. This hope becomes a firm belief and this way you keep on going.
I think that the great image finds you by itself, the beauty of street photography is that you never know what it is going to happen, what you’re going to photograph today, and unpredictability is a main quality of street photography. With experience you develop a sort of sensitivity and knowledge of the street, of situations and people, and this helps you foreseeing what is about to happen. This way you don’t get caught unprepared and your photos will benefit from it. I have a good feeling with some places, I feel at ease there, but I chase situations, rather than places or characters. The place is important but not fundamental to me.
I hope to be able to maintain in the future the same motivation and passion of today, keeping on competing in the international scene, taking part to contests, always trying to improve myself.
In order to improve you have to live everyday in the streets, compare yourself with other good photographers, learn from the best. I adore the works of Alex Webb, Constantine Manos, Trent Parke, Michael Ackerman, Anders Petersen and many others, whenever I can I buy photography books and essays, watching and reading is a giant personal enrichment.
Say something to our readers:
The advice I can give to whoever wishes to take up this genre of photography is just this one: let yourself be amazed but the extraordinary of the ordinary!