Hello Massimiliano Marchese!
Being already one of our most showcased photographers on Street View Photography’s main Facebook page it is now a great pleasure to present you as our Featured Photographer on www.streetviewphotography.net as well!
Massimiliano sounds like a serious name of a banker or a politician but on the pictures you seem more like a free spirit, who jumps on his motorcycle and drives away into the sunset. So who is Massimiliano Marchese?
Hi, it’s a great pleasure and honor for me to answer your questions. The name might be misleading, since I am in fact, as you described it – the type, who takes the camera and off he goes, whether it is by bike, car, train or even by plane simply someone, who loves travelling, discovering and photography. I’m 38 years old and I live in a small town near Catania, Sicily (Italy) and I sell books. I love rock music and my harley davidson!
How did your adventure with photography start? And would you share with us, how you became interested in street photography, too?
When I was more or less 20, I was helping a photographer friend, who shot weddings and other ceremonies, and already then I felt drawn to photography. But that wasn’t the moment. Then I got a job, I started working with book sales and I put shooting aside. But about four years ago I bought an SLR and began photographing all that surrounded me – that’s also why I chose streets as my area of interest. I wanted to capture the moment – the real time, the real life, that and the road.
In your work, street motives intertwine with strong landscapes and emotionally charged portraits. Is your current focus mostly on street photography? Or do you split your camera-time evenly between the different genres?
As I said before, I love street and reportage photography but sometimes you find yourself in another place or a moment that really deserves to be immortalised in a photo, like encountering special lighting conditions, clouds that catch your attention or being a part of an event, where you create emotions. One important thing is that I love portraits. And what I am looking for in a portrait is the gaze of the subject, the light in their eyes – the light is life.
A few of the same faces seem to be passing through your work particularly often – I’m taking a wild guess, that they are someone close to you. What do you find more difficult and challenging? An emotional portrait of someone close or catching the emotional moments of the strangers in the streets?
Yes, my loved ones are portrayed in many of my shots. I always try to transfer the emotions into the photo and I find it easier done with people, who are familiar with you. Street portraits are different, because even though you get a feeling of the subject, you still can’t be entirely sure of it and so you don’t always succeed in conveying the true emotions.
Your landscapes often seem to lead the viewer out into open spaces, like the far end of the ocean or a serpent-like road, almost inviting for a trip to the unknown. Is that a reflection of a personal wish or a dream? How much of your personality would you say finds its way through to your photoghraphs?
Yes, I love the open spaces, the geometry and the lines – and I’m very picky, when shooting and when working with it in post production. Besides that, the road is so much like our lives – you need to follow it to see the world and it all comes down to taking that trip.
Seeing your remarkable work I am curious as to where your inspiration comes from?
I do not think any person in particular inspires me, my favorite photographers are Bresson, Erwitt, Doisneau and Mccurry reportage, I also love the portraits and photography of Helmut Newton. But there is one THING that inspires me – the rain. In fact, it is often shown in my photos – I like to see it rain, the smell of wet earth, the drops on the glass, the anonymous silhouettes with umbrellas ….
Is there a favourite camera or a lens, you prefer to work with? And how have your equipment choices changed, since you’ve started ?
I started with a small Nikon D5000 and now I bought a Nikon D600 – but I did it only because the first was with an APS-C sensor and is matching the full frame – and only after 4 years! Then again, I’m not one of those, who’d hide behind the equipment. I think that at the beginning of everything there is a PHOTOGRAPH. The equipment follows and it is depending on the work, you have to face. With regards to lenses, I prefer to work with the telephoto lens. I like the way it embraces the image, I like how it makes individuals more proportionate and the level of blurring, it produces.
Have you ever been involved in some other form of art or creative production, than photography? And what are your other passions? (That image of you on a motorbike somehow keeps on popping up in my mind) :-)
No, only in photographs – and yes, I’m a biker, I love my harley davidson :-)
Can you tell us about your work flow from the point you first step onto the street until you showcase the developed picture?
I do not know – if I have the camera and see something that attracts me, snap! Then transferring it to the computer – if the right emotions are there, it gets the job done. The most important thing to say is that I shoot in black and white, I have the sensor set in mono and I only make small adjustments in post production.
What would you say characterizes your work in comparison to other street photographers?
I can not answer this question – I prefer to let others find the differences.
Do you ever interact with your street photography subjects or do you prefer to keep your distance?
Yes, sometimes it happens …. and it’s nice, when it does!
Among your works, which is your favorite and why?
Yes, this is called ”two worlds” – because every one of us lives in the real world but at the same time in another world, too, a world which reflects all that we’d like our world to be.
Have you ever taken a photograph which compromised your emotional balance in a deep and profound way?
Yes .. for me, photography is my escape – I lose myself in it and it lets me get away from the reality.
Please, tell us your funniest or most awkward street photography story.
This photo was taken in a subway station in New York – the man sent a scary look my way, as if he was saying: do not think I want to be photographed! For a moment there I felt that if the train didn’t start moving right away, then I was in for a serious tell-off!
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from shooting on the streets?
That in the world we are many and each one of us is figuring out their space.
What would you tell a newcomer who asks for your advice on how to start?
I would say: do not try shooting – stop, sit down, wait – and just feel the emotion. And then, snatch it – and channel it through to the others!
Thank you, Massimiliano, for talking to us!
Here you can find more of Massimiliano’s work