“I love photography because it opens your eyes to things that you would never notice otherwise. As a photographer, you are always in search of something. You are always looking, hunting. Trying to find that one photographic combination in a mix of thousands of possibilities.”
Anthony Spatara (born in 1976) is a street photographer from the USA currently based in Chicago Illinois.
Interview with Anthony Spatara
Anthony, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures out on the streets?
Most memorable moment shooting on the streets of Rome. I came across a homeless man who wanted some money for some food. I said, ok, I will give you a few euro but you have to pose for me over here. He had a great face. I handed over the 3 euro then – and he ran away. All I could do is stand there and laugh. Always remember: Service first, pay later! (laughs)
Why did you become a photographer? And why street photography?
I love photography because it opens your eyes to things that you would never notice otherwise. As a photographer, you are always in search of something. You are always looking, hunting. Trying to find that one photographic combination in a mix of thousands of possibilities. As far as street photography, what better place is there to photograph? The street has everything you need. Action, sadness, chaos, sex..anything you are interested in shooting can be found on the streets.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to say with your pictures?
Photography is something you have to lose your mind in to truly understand. At least that is how I am. I cannot do photography full-time for I would just be lost in it all. I have to come up for air, breath for a while. But it is a huge part of my life and always has been. When I photograph, everything in my mind just goes blank. It’s crazy. I walk around places only to lift my head up and realize I have no idea how I got here or how to get back.
I would just like my pictures to maybe move someone in a way that it moves me. Let them see that all beauty does not have to be perfect or colorful.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
Alex Webb, David Alan Harvey, Alex Majoli, Christopher Anderson, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
They are all Magnum photographers and they just blow my mind. Just how they photograph, their angles placement, shadows etc. Just spot on beautiful.
What’s your favorite inspirational photography quote?
“Of course it’s all luck.”
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process?
Oh man, hard question I don’t even know how to answer that one.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice?
I think you just don’t find your voice it finds you in a way. After you shoot for so many years, you notice you start shooting a certain way or leaning towards a certain type of format. At least that is how I feel about. You start to notice pattern in your work. And always go back and review work from your previous shoots. You will always find something that you missed. As your eye develops your taste changes and photos that you thought were ehhh are now yeahhhh…
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
For me: Subject, subject, subject. The rest I think is just an afterthought.
What qualities and characteristics does a good street photographer need?
Patience is huge. Don’t force it..just have fun with it. Because you didn’t get a shot the first few thousand times. Big deal, don’t quit. Patience.
What does a photo need to be a great street shot?
I think it needs to tell a story about what is happening in the picture.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
I don’t know. I just love to do it. Really don’t know.
What’s the biggest challenge shooting on the streets?
Lighting is huge, just pointing the camera at a complete stranger definitely takes a lot of getting used to. That would be the hardest thing to do.
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
Leica M9 35 MM lens. Nothing else.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
What book about photography would you recommend?
Henri Cartier Bresson. Anything by him is great. Really shows the mind of a generous.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a street photographer?
Just be patient and brave. Don’t be afraid to get wet, yelled at or dirty.