“I seldom plan anything; when I take photographs I do so spontaneously, inspired by what surrounds me.”
Polly Balitro (born in 1987 in Sondrio, Italy) is a contemporary landscape photographer currently living in Helsinki, Finland. She studied photography at “Istituto Europeo di Design” in Milano, Italy. In another interview Polly Balitro reveals how she discovered her love for landscape photography: “Living At The Edge Of The World”. For Polly Balitro photography is all about spontaneity and naturalness.
Artist statement: “I like to capture places I visit and find revealing, register particular moments and details that I encounter.”
Polly Balitro, why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
I became a photographer because I realised that the only thing that I wanted to do was taking photographs. Photography means so much to me because it makes me feel happy, involved and even self-confident; it also creates a special connection with what I capture.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
It could be this one, by Diane Arbus: “I tend to think of the act of photographing, generally speaking, as an adventure. My favourite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
I work with various analogue cameras, which I have collected over the years; each of them is very dear to me, yet the ones I have been working the most with and my favourite ones are my Nikon FM and my Hasselblad 500 C/M.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I do not think I have a specific favourite website, instead I prefer to follow different photography blogs, which I find very inspiring and spontaneous. For example, for the past few months I have been following with particular interest “Random Places / Familiar Faces”, “Unexpected Light” and lately “Petal and Plume”. All of them are photo diaries that favour analogue photography and celebrate the details of everyday life.
What book about photography would you recommend?
This is not really a book about photography, but it is in fact a photography book, which I feel like recommending as it has been very inspirational to me; it is called The House in The Woods, with photographs and text by Kai Fagerström and Heikki Willamo, two Finnish wildlife photographers. The book perfectly combines nostalgic stories and photographs of abandoned Finnish countryside houses; I never get tired of going through those pages.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
I do not feel like giving any particular advice, but to follow their instinct; if they feel like taking photographs is what they really want to do, they should definitely let it happen.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
“I find their photographs poetic – even nostalgic, their subjects beautiful in their own simplicity.”
Many photographers have inspired me through the years, some of them continue to do so, some others do not – as much as my own photographic style has changed. I could name two whose work I have always found extremely fascinating: an Italian one, Luigi Ghirri, and a Finnish contemporary one, Pentti Sammallahti. I find their photographs poetic – even nostalgic, their subjects beautiful in their own simplicity.
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process? How do you plan and execute a project? Both technically and conceptually?
I seldom plan anything; when I take photographs I do so spontaneously, inspired by what surrounds me. It is hard to express a creative process into words really – they only seem to lessen it. All I know is that I feel like taking that particular picture, at that specific moment, with that exact light.