“I’m interested in what my eyes can’t catch, the inexpressible. I try to represent the mysterious side of things.”
Marco Bottelli was born in 1978 in Piacenza, Italy. After high-school, he graduated in photography at “Istituto Italiano di Fotografia” in Milan in 2002.
He worked as a photo assistant in Milan in an advertising studio and as an interior photographer. In 2003 he began travelling to Ex-Jugoslavia and was impressed by the traces of the past war. He traveled to Eastern Europe (Bosnia, Croatia, Romania and Albania) until 2007 working on a project about post-communism and post-war effects.
In those years he also started collaborating with some Italian NGOs and he travelled in Africa (Mali) and in South America (Bolivia) to cover as a photographer some project on natural resources and socio-economic development of farming communities.
In October 2009 he decided to move to Pakistan where he lived until March 2011. He worked for international NGOs (“International Organization for Migration” – IOM, Acted, “Welthungerhilfe”) covering the water floods of 2010. He also worked on some personal projects about the victims of terrorism and about the critical social and political balance in Pakistan.
His work was published in magazine such as “Vanity Fair”, “L’Espresso”, “Donna Moderna”, Burn Magazine and shown in several exhibitions throughout Italy.
Interview with Marco Bottelli
Marco, what was your first camera and photographic experience?
My first camera was a second-hand Pentax P30 with 28-80mm. My first experience as a photographer began in 2000 in New York, where I lived there for 3 months.
Why did you become a photographer?
It’s was a natural evolution of my personal interest. I tried to take some black and white pictures just for fun, but I discovered a new way to convey my inner world.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is a personal need.
Which photographer has inspired you most and why?
Many photographers inspired me over the years. The first chronologically has been W. Eugene Smith; after that Richard Avedon, Michael Ackerman, Antoine D’Agata, Eugene Richards, Paolo Pellegrin, Alex Majoli and James Nachtwey. But the list is very long. Every day I try to discover new photographers that draws my attention.
Your favorite photography quote?
Stanley Greene about one of my works:
“Poet and Love. A potent mixture!”
How would you describe your photographic style and way of working? How do you realize a shooting?
I’m interested in what my eyes can’t catch, the inexpressible. I try to represent the mysterious side of things in my personal projects. For the assignments, I try to approach the needs of my clients.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic style and how did you achieve it?
When I think about a new project, I try to imagine before what kind of photos I would like to shoot. It’s important to develop my personal vision. Unfortunately I don’t always succeed.
What qualities does a good photographer need?
Be honest to yourself and to all the people.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes?
A great photo is what is not directly related to photography.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
Everything could be interesting. I don’t have a method to find inspiration for photographic projects. It’s very important to ‘stay tuned’.
How do you keep up to date with new developments in photography, to keep on learning new things?
I have my favourite websites, for example Le Journal de la Photographie. I’m also interested in new technologies.
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
I have Canon 5d Mrk2, Nikon D700, Hasselblad 500 Cm, Fuji GW3 6×7, Holga and Polaroid SX-70.
What’s your favorite website on photography?
Many. At the moment I’m very interested in Magnum In Motion.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional photographer?
Professional or not, be yourself and so you can discover if photography will be your way or not.