Giorgio Taraschi (born 1986 in Teramo, Italy) is an Italian documentary and NGO photographer currently living in Bangkok, Thailand.
He studied photography at “I.E.D. Istituto Europeo di Design” in Milan/Rome.
Giorgio Taraschi tells why he left his homeland Italy to settle down in Asia and why he recommends going out to take pictures after having seen a movie or read a book.
In another interview on this site, Giorgio Taraschi talks about his recent project “Hotel Waria”, a sneak peek into the lives of young transgender in Indonesia.
Interview with Giorgio Taraschi
Giorgio Taraschi, why did you become a photographer? And why documentary photography?
I’ve been thought one should not “fossilize” on one thing but should be able to adapt to any situation and learn as many things as possible; so I’m not gonna say photography is the only thing I know how to do, but surely it is the one I’m mostly attracted to.
I grew up with photography books scattered around the house.
Images by Steve McCurry, Raghu Rai and Olivier Follmi are an important part of my childhood memories and almost 10 years of incredible photographs from my parent’s travels to India made me realize those places really existed, that they were somehow accessible and that, apart from the quality of the image, there were human stories that had to be told.
You are from Italy, but currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. Why did you bring to Asia?
“I was 22 and Italy was just about to hit rock bottom on its scale of values.”
It all started with a ticket to Delhi when I was 22 and Italy was just about to hit rock bottom on its scale of values.
After all the stories I’d heard from my parents, I felt like I knew India already. Of course that was incredibly naïve and yet my experience there was way better than I expected.
Six months were extended to almost two years, going back and forth with Nepal, where I started working for a local newspaper.
Bangkok – it happened just after that.
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process? How do you plan and execute a project? Both technically and conceptually?
By always trying to collect as many information as I can; not only through articles, books, dedicated organizations or websites but also by visually analyzing the existing material (if any) and come up with a different angle.
For instance, never before as during this past year I’ve seen so many pictures of Pakistani/Indian wrestlers training, some of them belonging to the one who’s just been nominated best wire photographer of 2013 (a very well deserved title by the way, check his work out).
This proves a point: if a story, no matter how “small”, has been told (and sold) in the past, it doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of reinterpretation.
When, on the other hand, it comes to original, unknown stories, it’s mostly all about researching. Sometimes though, things don’t go as planned so one should always be able to come up with a B plan.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
James Nachtwey, for the depth of his work and for the way he did it.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
…a good advice for life. too.
What’s in your bag when you leave the house to shoot street photography?
A second lens (a 50mm since the 35 is generally already mounted on the camera)
An mp3 player with “Enya” on loop.
Enough money to buy at least two cups of coffee.
What’s your favorite website about street photography?
I think websites like “in-public” and “Invisible Photographers Asia” can provide with a lot of inspiration, but let’s say that I personally search for street photography the same way I shoot it: I bump into it!
What book about photography would you recommend?
“As I Was Dying” by Paolo Pellegrin.
Any attempt to describe this book would not do it justice enough.
“Yangtze, The Long River” by Nadav Kander: because, with a few rare exceptions, most of those who shoot landscape with a medium format nowadays stole something from this book.
“Inferno” by James Nachtwey: because people need to know.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
Don’t look for the “decisive moment”.
Look for irony instead, look for sarcasm. Try going out shooting immediately after watching a movie or reading a book; you’ll be surprised by the results.