“I work with no expectation of producing anything. I look forward to being surprised. I want the viewers of my photography to be surprised as well and see something unique that they haven’t seen or noticed before.”
Manuel Guerzoni (born in 1970) is a Street Photographer currently based in San Francisco, California (USA). He is a self-taught photographer.
Manuel Guerzoni, what was your first camera?
A Polaroid in the 70s I think.
Why did you become a photographer?
Initially, I took pictures of things I wanted to inspect later. I’m a very curious person. That was a way for me to record something and spend time on it at a later time.
What does photography mean to you?
Looking for beauty in what happens around us and allowing viewers to see beauty that they didn’t pay attention to.
Which photographer has inspired you most and why?
Robert Doisneau. Simple, beautiful moments of daily life. Fascinating!
Robert Doisneau reveals the secrets behind his images
“When people talk to me about picture hunters, I very quietly laugh. I’m not a hunter of pictures, I’m a fisher of pictures.”
Your all time favorite photo?
“The Picture in the Shop Window” by Robert Doisneau. Because it is simple, honest and powerful.
Your favorite photography quote?
Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.
How would you describe your photographic style and way of working?
I work with no expectation of producing anything. I look forward to being surprised. I want the viewers of my photography to be surprised as well and see something unique that they haven’t seen or noticed before.
What’s important to develop an own photographic style and how did you achieve it?
I think it starts by looking at what others do, see what inspires you, what doesn’t, then bring your own take on what you have seen from others and make sure not to try to reproduce their work other than for the purposes of practicing and learning.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
It needs to be unique and not reproducible.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
Life around me. Everything is contributed by my surroundings.
How do you keep up to date with new developments in photography, to keep on learning new things?
I don’t. I try to spend as little time as possible worrying about equipment and the photographic technique.
Digital or analog?
Digital. Only because I try to focus my time on shooting vs. the dark room which is just a personal choice. I completely understand other photographers who spend a lot of time in the dark room and I think that’s great.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I use primarily a Leica M8 with a 35mm Leica lens.
What’s your favorite website on photography?
I absolutely love “Filemagazine – A Collection of Unexpected Photography”. Sadly, the collection is no longer being updated with newer images these days. The editors were doing a fantastic job at selecting powerful images and sequencing them in a way that would create a real journey as you moved through the collection. I was very happy to be featured within the collection a few times and bring my little piece of the puzzle each time.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
Try everything and see what sticks in terms of making money and fulfilling your interests. Chances are you won’t find a perfect match, but the answer might be in doing a combination of different jobs that will allow you to make a living as well as to have fun.