Interview with Stefano Orazzini
#1 Please introduce yourself:
My name is Stefano Orazzini and i’m an italian photographer. Born 1972 in Cecina, Tuscany, where i currently live with my wife.
#2 How did you get interested in photography?
I’ve always taken photographs ever since I was a child, with my father’s old Ferrania camera. In the ’90s, as an amateur, I have dedicated myself to sports, nature and astronomy photography with a Nikon FM10. In particular, cycling: Tour de France, Giro d’Italia … Finally I have been passionate about art photography since 2005, especially in black and white.
#3 Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
I didn’t attend art or photography schools, I am a self taught photographer. But I’ve always been passionate about art in all its forms (painting, sculpture, historic and modern architecture ..) and in my life I have visited hundreds of museums and exhibitions. Among my favorite artists are Caravaggio, Leonardo, Piero della Francesca, Vermeer, Mondrian, Morandi, Giacometti, Dali…
#4 Which artist/photographer inspired your art?
In terms of technique and expression in black and white there is no doubt that the work of Edward Weston, Bill Brandt, Ansel Adams and then Michael Kenna has been a source of great inspiration. As for the poetry, I really admire the work of Hiroshi Sugimoto. His original artworks, seen live, are astounding: amazing in the technical perfection and conceptually very inspiring. Among others, i’m a fan of the representatives of the Düsseldorf school (Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gursky, Struth, Ruff, Höfer, Hütte, Esser …), of some Americans as Shore, Eggleston or Meyerowitz, of japanese photographers as Ueda, Shibata or Watanabe and finally some Italian photographers of the 70s and 80s as Ghirri, Giacomelli, Basilico, Castella, Chiaramonte, Fontana and Guidi.
#5 How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph? Are you planning every step or is it always spontaneous?
I like working on projects. The inspiration for a project can occur at any time, during a walk or ride a bike, or sitting on the couch reading a book or watching a movie. So i start to search for suitable subject. If the first results are interesting, I search new subject and extend my project. I’m very selective in the choice of my images and I make very few photographs during my photo trips. Hardly my photographs are spontaneous and unplanned. I don’t seek “the decisive moment” like Cartier Bresson, so i don’t always carry with me my camera, I carry it only when I go to photograph.
#6 What fascinates you in places that you shoot?
The charm of the places I photograph is closely tied to the project I’m pursuing. So any place or object of the visible world can become interesting.In my first projects every rock or jetty or landscape could become interesting, but after a few years i’m tired of the same subject and recently I’m going to try something more original. I am aware that everything becomes more difficult, but it is also much more challenging.
#7 We can see your photographs only in black and white, why have you chosen to present them in this form?
I can’t tell the exact reason why I chose black and white as a means of expression. Every day we are bombarded with colors: television, advertising, traffic, supermarkets … The black and white photography for me is like a trip back in time and a way to escape from this world. Perhaps because 90% of contemporary photographers use color and I don’t like to follow the trendy styles of the moment. Or because it allows you to direct the viewer’s gaze on the subject, the message of black and white is stronger and more direct. Also it allows me to follow the entire imaging process: from capture, to the development of the negative and the printing. Finally, I think that a black and white photograph is timeless and never gets boring.
#8 Could you please tell us something about your technique and creating process?
When conditions allow me, I always use the traditional film method (through a 6×6 medium format), shooting with a Hasselblad 553 Elx. I have 2 Zeiss Distagon lens: 40 mm and 60 mm. I use Kodax Tmax or Fuji Acros films which I develop with the Xtol personally in my darkroom that I created in the attic. Then I scan the film and print it with an Epson 3800 on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl 320 paper, that it gives me a natural warm tone and deep blacks. Film gives me better quality, especially in larger prints and dark tones and then I love its mood. In addition, to shooting film is more difficult and gives greater satisfaction both during shooting and developing in the darkroom. If conditions don’t allow me (the subject is too close or located aside, the film speed is wrong, …), then shot digitally with a Canon 5D mkII and Tilt-Shift 24 mm or a 70-200 mm zoom. I really like TS lens, it gives you great image control. For my biggest editions made for galleries (20×20 inches and 30×30 inches), I use the collaboration of Antonio Manta, one of the best fine art printers in Italy.
#9 Could you tell our readers how to reach such excellent results in photography?
The most important thing to achieve excellent results in photography, is to never be satisfied and always trying to improve. There isn’t a secret, it takes humility and desire to learn. Do many experiments and choose the best methods. Read many books, visit exhibitions and art fairs to find out what has already been created and what to do. Knowing the history of photography is essential. Otherwise the risk is to make copies of what has already been done.
#10 What do you do in your life besides photography?
My main job is in administration for a department store chain, so I make photograph in my free time. My other passion is cycling. Every year I ride over 10.000 km with my road bike and I am founder and managing the italian cycling website Pianeta Ciclismo since 1997 (www.pianetaciclismo.com). Cycling helps a lot creativity ! I also love football and i’m a great fan of the team Fiorentina.
#11 What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
During this time I’m very busy with printing and set up because this summer I will have 3 solo-exhibitions, 2 in Italy and 1 in Germany. In the future I hope to have more free time and be able to make at least one original project each year. Now I’m working on Lunar, my latest project. I am considering working with some gallery in Italy, but it is very difficult because there are few collectors. In Italy the art photography market is complicated, there isn’t culture for selling photography and people buy almost exclusively paintings. Milan is the only city where the photograph is earning a little space and I hope for the future there will be an increased interest in the whole country.
Stefano Orazzini Official Website: