7+1 questions to the photographer (and Whoosnapper) Riccardo Botta
He says about himself that he’s a “human being” and after we met him we can assure you that it’s not a reductive acceptation. An eclectic, poetic personality that has much to tell about human beings.
1. Talk to us about how you got into photography.
I have always been fascinated by photography. I received my first camera as a gift, an AGFA compact analog, when I was ten. I worked with graphic and communications for many time, but I always loved photography as I see it as a combination of all my studies in the artistic and creative field. I started shooting digital inside a big company to document meetings and events. I had a little 3.5 mpx compact camera, which gave me many pleasures, moreover because I decided to create a blog with my shots and texts. From there I had the opportunity to showcase in some little clubs and to work in the music and live field.
2. How and when did your passion become a profession?
Actually, when someone asks me “Are you a professional photographer or an amateur?” I always feel puzzled. It’s not that I don’t know what to answer, but I hate this kind of etiquettes and definitions. Everytime I think about the word “professional”, I’d rather be told that I work in a professional way. It looks like the word professional is linked just to the VAT registration, and to those customary words that come with “earning a living from it”, as if nowadays all professional photographers got on well. Anyway, during the last few years I started making a name for myself, through the grapevine and my page, working in collaboration with associations and locals. The first employments came from friends and initially the first works remained in the ceremony and company field (the famous wedding market) that helped me in getting better and in gaining some money in order to buy the expensive equipment. Going back to the profession topic, at the moment I sell on some photographic MicroStock and I collaborate with some companies for editorial projects.
3. What is your favourite photographic genre?
Initially I focused on objects and urban landscapes. Following my graphic instinct, I isolated objects and shapes creating lines and lights plays; it was mere practice, utilizing an essential camera just to create compositive harmonies. Generally, I am attracted by the madness of the human being and by his self-representing in places, situations and people’s movements. I like to create paradox and contrast. I slighted people photography for many time and just recently I started working with common people and models. But still I am fascinated by the lonelyness and abandonment of things. If I should define an absolute genre, I would say architectural photography, obviously. On the other hand I also love nature photography. Just in the past few years I started taking care of some defined projects and no more shooting following the simple and innate instinct.
4. Ready for a day out shooting. What do you bring with you?
It depends. Time to time I choose the optics and I assess whether to take the pod with me or not. Usually, in my bag you will find my Canon 5DMK2, the 50 mm, the 200 mm and two tele 70-200 and 24-70 lens. Recently I went out many times with a 35 mm Minolta and a 50 mm lens. Essential is the photographic releasing for adults and children, even for a simple street session. A notebook. A pen and a smile if possible. Generally, by the way, I always try to plan early my photographic days out and I assess the optic to take with me; the rucksack full weights too much and I often don’t feel like carrying unuseful stuff with me.
5. Tell us about your approach: do you prefer studying and preparing a photo or capturing the moment?
A few days ago I fixed a tiny studio where I will have the chance to work on some experiments with lights and shadows. Generally, until this moment, I always worked with natural light and I never had a good relationship with flash; some photos are just in my head and just by controlling the light in a place I will finally have the chance to say that I’m fully formed. It’s the skill that I miss, it’s the theoretical part I need to deepen.
6. What do you think about Mobile Photography?
I think it’s a natural evolution of Photography. Smartphones or smartcameras are only to consider devices, nothing more. They can’t do something by themselves, only the hand, the eye of the photographer who holds it can turn them into a creation tool. The art must talk. I don’t really get all this critics coming from the photographers towards the new technologies and the new communication medias. Change does not necessarily mean decay. Of course photography got devalued, but I think this is a common problem to all the art and creativity fields. The contemporary life is slave of the frenzy, the times of creation and fruition got faster and everything, from music to literature, from graphic to photography, got a devalue in terms of profession because reachable from the masses in an easier and less exclusive way. The problems now are, first of all, about the approach and the difficulty of evaluation. The speed with which we “Like” something is not the result of an appropriate contemplation.
7. What should a photographer do in order to sell photos? What path should he/she follow?
First of all practice, much practice. Watch expositions, buy famous photographers’ books and not manuals. Know your device and study the market. Don’t devaluate your work and propose. Acquire awareness and be self confident. Make mistakes, correct them and never give up, never. Ignore the critics and keep on shooting. Consequently, subscribe to some MicroStock website, some are rather exclusive and you need to work on some thematic project. In the web there are so many explanatory tutorials. Take part in contests, if possible the free ones; because often the paid admission ones are not necessarily exclusive.
+1. Now we want to know it: who are your favourite photographers or Whoosnappers of the moment?