“My photography is made of strong contrasts, just like my land, a land of dazzling lights and deep, dark shadows, white sun-drenched walls and black silent shapes.”
Carmelo Eramo (born in Altamura, Puglia) is an Italian street photographer. Earning his living as a teacher, Carmelo Eramo roams the streets in his free time capturing subtle moments of contrast and daily life.
As to photography, Carmelo Eramo is self-taught. He’s one of the photographers candidate of the Italian Street Photographers “SPontanea”.
Carmelo Eramo, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
A very old and cheap camera. I don’t remember what model it was. After that a Canon EOS. I started 15 years ago wandering with a friend of mine through the suburban streets of my hometown. I love analog style and I try to keep this feeling also in digital photography.
Why did you become a photographer?
Not sure if I did. I’m trying. Why? A search for sense, I guess.
What does photography mean to you?
Taking pictures the best I can. And share. Maybe touch someone, sometimes.
Which photographer has inspired you most and why?
Henri Cartier-Bresson: aesthetic discipline, thought, emotion in one shot. Elegance and simplicity, intelligence, patience, study and instinct. Perfect eye. Humanity.
Ferdinando Scianna: his South Italy’s black and white visions. Many others, generally the old school.
Video interview with Ferdinando Scianna (in Italian)
Your favorite photography quote?
The most famous, the most true, the most hard to achieve:
“Photographier: c’est mettre sur la meme ligne de mire la tete, l’oeil et le coeur.”
“Shadow isn’t just the dialectical moment as opposed to the light, it’s also a psychological moment as opposed to the brightness; there is brightness and there is sorrow, too.”
“Just Plain Love” Excellent documentary about legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson
How would you describe your photographic style and creative process?
Southern Italy deeply influences my photographic vision and style. I love to photograph and tell stories about my land, and my photographs are almost all black and white, as Ferdinando Scianna said:
“The South’s pictures, took by the southern photographers, are black.”
I think that it’s a more likely an existential and philosophical matter rather than an aesthetic one. My photography is made of strong contrasts, just like my land, a land of dazzling lights and deep, dark shadows, white sun-drenched walls and black silent shapes. By the way I think photos can describe the photographer’s style better than himself.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic style and how did you achieve it?
Essential, but did I achieve it? Let’s say it with Jazz musician Miles Davis:
“For me, music and life are all about style.”
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
Composition and eye. Mood.
What qualities does a good photographer need?
Humility. Study about himself.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
Aesthetically wise: touching, simple. Not self-styled “artistic” and unique and unconventional at all costs.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
Nikon D7000 with 16-85 and some prime lens, Lumix LX5.
What’s your favorite website on photography?
What photography book would you recommend?
“Camera Lucida” by Roland Barthes. Big books of photography cost too much.
Have a look at Roland Barthe’s photography book “Camera Lucida”.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
I absolutely don’t know. I’m not a professional photographer. Maybe one: trademarks don’t make you a more professional photographer than others. Please, learn to photograph and know your gear, before you think about your logo, put your trademarks on your images and worry about someone could steal your masterpieces.