“The power of a picture is incredible. If a simple picture can generate questions in a person who then tries to know something more about what he or her is looking at, this is simply great. This is what I try to convey with every single click.”
Luca Orsi (born in 1986) is a contemporary photographer currently based in Varese (Italy). He never attended a photography school, all his knowledge about photography has been handed down from his father, who is a photographer, too.
“To me photographing is telling a story through the subjects of reality, creating impressions and making local customs and the people who live them fascinating. I try to intrigue the spectator into knowing more of what I’m looking at. My aim is to capture the essence of the situation through the ongoing observation, that is to go beyond the aesthetic beauty of a shot and bringing to life the genuineness of the world in which it lies. The classical education in humanities and the passion for cinema culminated in a degree thesis right on photography in movies sent me the continuing need to search the poetic atmosphere and the extraordinary within the ordinary.”
Interview with Luca Orsi
Luca, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?
One moment that was really memorable, was in summer of the 2009. I was in Berlin for vacations and I was visiting the Holocaust-Mahnmal (wonderful memorial monument) at sunset. The light was incredible, the sunset made a wonderful light cuts all around and while I was walking through this charming scene I saw a little girl playing in one of these small alley, I stared looking at her and she did the same to me for a while,and after that I took a picture of her. It was a strange, intense and mystical moment. Everything was perfect.
Why did you become a photographer?
I decided to become a photographer because I’ve been feeling the urgency to communicate and to tell my vision of the world, and photography is the prompt and most interesting way to express that.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to say with your pictures?
The thing I feel is very important is to create a fascination and an emotion that generates questions from the people who look at my pictures. The power of a picture is incredible. If a simple picture can generate questions in a person who then tries to know something more about what he or her is looking at, this is simply great. This is what I try to convey with every single click.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
There are many photographers who inspired me. But in particular three photographers. Gabriele Basilico for his great skills and his profound research on suggestion and in his outstanding poetic way to represent the present. Another one is Gregory Crewdson for his great capacity of building an entire world in an incredible detailed picture. And Saul Leiter for his way of telling stories with particulars and details of daily life.
What’s your favorite photography quote?
“Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others.”
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process?
My creative process begins with the impression: the first emotion in front of a scene is everything. I always follow my first emotional idea, because I think that if you want to communicate an emotion you first need to be emotionally touched yourself. When a picture is too designed and built I think it loses its strength.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
First being always inspired, look at photography books, movies and images of every kind. Take a lot of pictures and try to develop what you are really interested in. Always be open to critics, try to take the best out of everything.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
I think the axis of my works are lens use, I always work with the second ground blur and for sure I love working with colors in opposition to dark tones.
Conceptually I work with the night, the almost total absence of light opens me new path to work with the night lights. Another concept I’m trying to develop and convey is the sense of solitude in the atmospheres of the big cities.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
A good photographer must be brave to experiment something new at all costs, trying to take the picture the world hasn’t already seen. Also a good photographer has to be persistent. He must go on and believe in the work he’s doing.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes? Especially keeping in mind the over abundance of photographic imagery in today’s society.
Today we are surrounded by images but there are a lot of empty images. Pictures that have nothing to say to the world. I am always amazed in front of a photo that tries to tell a story. I am fascinated by photographs who seek to create a world. Yes, I love this kind of narrative photos.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
My biggest inspiration are the antipodes: daily reality and cinema. Daily reality is outstanding because it’s always true and authentic, and cinema (although it is fiction) tries to represent all kinds of reality that we could or not believe as authentic.
Authenticity is my primary inspiration.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
I’m using Nikon D700 or Nikon D200. When I can’t bring my Reflex along I use a Panasonic Lumix Dmc-lx2.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I don’t have a favorite one.
What photography book would you recommend?
For sure I’d recommend Gabriele Basilico: Workbook, 1969-2006.
This book is outstanding because, describe the stories of the architecture of the world cities without people, like the photographer was the last man on earth.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
Do it if you could die for it. If telling something is everything you need.
Always get inspired, look closely to every image you see: movies, good photos, bad photos. Be brave and try to do something new and be persistent in each of your photographic works.