Alessandro Greganti is a street photographer from Turin, Italy. Working in the field of IT at the University of Turin, he began taking pictures as a kid and his photography journey took an interesting turn when he stumbled upon iPhone photography in late 2010. Most of his photos showcased here have been taken from an iPhone. Using his skills in composition and timing, Alessandro has produces some of the most refreshing and breathtaking images. His photos have been featured in many online blogs and magazines and some of them have been exhibited in galleries in UK, US, and some other countries, besides Italy. There’s always an element of surprise visible in his photos… some of them bursting with a fancy of colours and bright beams of light spread across darkest fields. More from Alessandro Greganti in his words:
I was born in Turin, where I work at the University of Turin. I was born in 1976 and I’m a former skater, a companion and have a son that I love. I did not study photography, but I’d love to if I get the chance. It is my most important and unique hobby and I am interested in everything that has to do with the street and with people.
I’ve always had a special attraction for photography. When I was a kid, my dad used his Canon and I remained fascinated by that object capable of capturing images. I remember the shutter sound and even the smell of the camera bag where it was kept with great care. Looking through the viewfinder and check the focus was a unique experience, a different game and addiction. This attraction remained dormant until 2006 when I bought my first and only digital SLR, a Nikon D50 with which I began to explore the vast world of photography.
The real change came in 2010 when, thanks to the mobile photography, I discovered the potential of the cameras that we have always with us: smartphones. The fact that we always have with us a camera ready to use greatly increases photographic opportunities. Now the quality of photos taken from mobile camera is widely acceptable. I’m not a professional, my job is in the IT field, so I try to carve out some free time during which I can photograph very often use the iPhone during the journey from home to work or during your lunch break.
To be honest I do not know what it means to photograph for me, I feel I have the need to photograph and maybe leave a trace of my passage. It’s way to review what I feel when I see something that attracts my attention. I often photograph by instinct, at the moment I do not have a clear idea of its reason. I hope to find this reason while looking at the picture at a later time. Most of the time this does not happen but when meeting an emotion in one of my photos then I feel a great feeling, a kind of déjà vu. I firmly believe that photography is especially soul searching, everyone chooses their own path to live and that is why there will never be a perfect photograph that appeals to everyone.
My photographic genre is street photography in the broadest sense of the term. I love the normalcy in the unpredictable beauty, and I like to take a very simple workflow that is often limited to black and white conversion and the basic setting of contrast and exposure. I prefer not to crop my pictures. As I mentioned my main camera is the iPhone but I’m in love with my Fuji X100 that never ceases to give me great satisfaction. I also like to photograph during the demonstrations, public events and in all those situations where I can find photographic opportunities. Lately I’ve been experimenting with the use of flash and I have to admit that I enjoy very much.
Some of my photographs have been exhibited in various places including London (London Design Festival), Florida (Studio B. Light Impressions), Canada (IX Gallery during the CONTACT Photography Festival 2012 in Toronto), Italy (Paratissima 2012/2013, Turin, Italy ) and USA (Soho Gallery For Digital Art, NYC) thanks to an honorable mention in the category of street photography Mobile Photo Awards 2013. Many photos have appeared in several online publications and websites that deal with mobile photography and otherwise.
Recently, along with GoodFellas collective of photographers to which I belong to, I attended a very interesting project on disability which has allowed me to come into direct contact with the people who work in this environment and I photographed them during their daily routine. The project aims to emphasize the difference in treatment that people with mental disabilities receive now compared to the days when they were still active in the so-called lunatic asylums of which were subject to mistreatment and abandonment.
The project will lead to an exhibition which will be held in the premises adjacent to a famous former asylum that has been active in our country until the late 70s when the law came into force that ordered its closure. Being able to spend time with them has allowed me to see firsthand how the operators work with affection and absolute dedication to their guests to ensure a decent existence and to the best of their ability. I learned a lot especially at the human level.
Seneca said, “Luck does not exist: there is a moment where talent meets opportunity.” Not being sure to have talent, at least I try to create opportunities by studying the light and composition, trying to unite people and places so that they mean something, both visually and in the message that it can give the photo. Shooting in the street is stimulating, fast-paced at times, certainly unpredictable and often very frustrating. Return home without even a good photo is the norm.
So far I have not ever had discussions with my subjects, many are not aware of being photographed even though I do not do anything to hide. I prefer to be clearly visible and in the midst of the people rather than groped to not be seen, the camera that I chose requires me to be close to the subject as I press the shutter button and I personally believe that in this way you will feel more involved.
I think some have their own style which is recognizable at first glance. I think it is a prerogative of the great masters and those photographers who manage to emerge with their photos in the ocean of images in which we are thrown every day. Of course I’m looking for my style but I know I’m still at the beginning of a long journey that will lead me to find out. So I do not think I’m particularly different from many other photographers that I see around. Surely the overdose of images to which we are subjected makes it increasingly difficult to highlight the talents but it is also true that the spread of photography has made it more accessible by giving a chance even to those to whom it was first foreclosed.
I’m not worried about the democratization of photography because I am convinced that a good photo is that even when the competition is very high. With regard to the discourse of self-portraits I think it’s the most natural thing in the world to photograph a subject that is always present and available. The problem arises when these selfie are all absolutely equal but this is a problem that affects all types of photography, including street photography. For over a year I’m picking up some of my own self to give a different interpretation to the concept of self but for me it is more a way to include me in step because I do not come ever.
Torino (Turin) is a beautiful city. Multi-ethnic and rich in history, it is still a very livable city that tries to keep up with the times by offering great ideas for photo projects or even just for a day of street photography. Italy, moreover, whole hides treasures outside of the most popular hiking tracks so I cannot really say what would be the best places to take pictures wherever I go I always find a great beauty.
Photography has profoundly changed the way I see things, my curiosity has increased a lot and my desire to discover the hidden sides of things. I happen to take photographs without a camera or even a glimpse of things then I try to find photographing. When I photograph I feel different, certainly more daring, as if the camera was a shield depending on the situation.
I noticed that my photographs bore me past the initial enthusiasm remains indifference to an image that has lost all its charm because it actually contained nothing that was worthy of note. Many are simply an exercise in style, most are pictures that anyone with a bit of commitment and passion can do. If I were to say what I would save all those photos I took, I would find it hard to get to ten.
Lately I have decided to adopt a very strict editing so that the choice of photos to save only those that I really like. This is my intention for the future and it’s what keeps me motivated. My inspiration comes mainly from the works of the great masters of the past and present, but they are very careful in how it evolves the modern street photography. The group Flickr HCSP is definitely one of the most authoritative reference for those who appreciate the genre. Having to mention some big names say Antoine D’Agata, Trent Parke, Josef Koudelka, but also Alex Webb, Joel Meyerowitz and virtually all of the Magnum photographers out there even if it is full of talented and deserving photographers.
Say something to our readers and people who follow your photography:
I’m probably the last person who can give advice in the field of photography but I can share what I have decided for me: take photographs for you and never stop trying.
Note: All images used with permission. Please do not copy or distribute without the approval of the photographer.