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“Photography shows the deepest part of us. I believe that photography could be compared to writing poems.”

Umberto Verdoliva (born in 1965 in Castellammare di Stabia) is an Italian street photographer. He holds a degree in Regional Planning and Urban Design. As to photography, Umberto Verdoliva is self-taught.

Over time, Umberto Verdoliva has developed a great passion for capturing street life with his camera. His style can be best described as elegant, sensitive, and ironic.What Umberto Verdoliva is trying to achieve with his photographs is to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, to highlight the poetry and the simple feeling of human endeavour.

Umberto Verdoliva - www.umbertoverdoliva.it

Umberto Verdoliva, what was your first camera and photographic experience?

My first camera is a Nikon D70 and I still use it. I started to love photography in 2006, by digital way, until then I had no experiences.

Why did you become a photographer?

The photography takes me closer to the people. It makes me feel better as a man and because it keeps me away from the worries of everyday life. I really enjoy doing it and meet so many other kind of people. I could go on forever…

What does photography mean to you?

I think that photography tells not only what is around me, but also the way I am myself. In my opinion, photography shows the deepest part of us. I believe that photography could be compared to write poems.

Which photographer has inspired you most and why?

This happened by chance, when I saw some Fan Ho’s photos. I was really struck by the way he used the light, by beauty and strength of his images. I discovered the immense opportunity to move ahead and get excited to the moment caught, then the balance of shapes and Henri Cartier-Bresson, the greatest…

Your favorite photography quote?

“I do not document anything, I give an interpretation.”

André Kertész

Master Photographers – BBC Series, André Kertész

How would you describe your photographic style and creative process?

I love street photography more than any other kind. I could not do anything else. But my kind of street photography has a deeper meaning and it’s based on concepts. Technically, I have a natural predisposition for a very clean and tidy composition. I like it very much to get into the city streets and look in the crowd looking for what I have in mind and seize the moment, without a real plan, waiting for the right moment to come, to anticipate the scene, often with an idea.

What’s important in order to develop an own photographic style and how did you achieve it?

You will reach your style if you do not get too much influence from the various ways of doing street photography. You have to analyze well what you feel and that you want, then being obsessive about it.

Umberto Verdoliva - www.umbertoverdoliva.it

Funny street photography image taken by Italian street photographer Umberto Verdoliva

Funny street photography image taken by Italian street photographer Umberto Verdoliva

What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?

Technically, I naturally like clean compositions. Conceptually, my point is the relationship between man and the urban environment, the difficulty of relating to others and a sense of interior closure that is evident in the city today.

What qualities does a good photographer need?

I think it’s important love people, get along well with people, for street photography. And to feel when the time is right and predict it.

What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?

When it highlights many things, when you wonder yet, and the image remains inside of you forever.

Excellent use of light and shadows in this street photography image taken by Italian street photographer Umberto Verdoliva

Excellent use of light and shadows in this street photography image taken by Italian street photographer Umberto Verdoliva

Excellent use of light and shadows in this street photography image taken by Italian street photographer Umberto Verdoliva

Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?

I study a lot my own photographic archives. I find that the ideas are often born from there.

What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?

For me it does not matter the type of camera and photo equipment. It’s like, for a writer, use any pen. The “machine” is not that important, it’s your thoughts.

What’s your favorite website on photography?

Willingly follow many blogs of photographic criticism, I do not have a favorite website.

Surreal looking street photography image taken by Italian street photographer Umberto Verdoliva

What book on photography would you recommend?

“The Ongoing Moment” by Geoff Dyer.

Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?

I’m not a professional photographer, so it’s hard for me to give this answer. Of course, I think making a living out of photography is very difficult today. You must always adapt to what others ask you to do. I think that if photography as a hobby becomes a profession, it maybe loses something very important.

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