An Emotional and Careful Improvisation

Andrea Scirè

In the words of published Italian Street Photographer Andrea Scirè, “The street is like a stage; you must wait for actors to arrive”. A member of the collective, Italian Street Photography, Andrea trolls the streets of Italy patiently and instinctively waiting for the moment when light, shape, color, and people come together in perfect balance. He is waiting for the unrepeatable moments of converging elements. He is waiting for the interesting side of simple things. His sense of timing is impeccable. The view through his lens, masterful.

I am a Creative Designer for a Communication Agency based on Catania, Sicily. I’ve taken photographs for several years, but only the last four years have I started to have a more rational approach to photography. I discovered later that my photos fell in the street photography category. I like to capture those moments of normal everyday life. I am a member of the Italian collective, Italian Street Photography which is composed by 20 photographers that come from every Italian region. I talk about my experiences in my online blog, fotostreet.it." Andrea Scirè

WSP: What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
AS: I do not think of myself as a photographer. I'm just a man with a camera. This thought makes me feel free to express myself without the weight of the typical difficulties of a photographer.

WSP: Do you have a style in your photographs that separates you from other photographers?
AS: I perceive my pictures as different, but I do not know if this is a good thing. I don't think I have a style. I'm still looking for it.

WSP: How do you choose the places you shoot?
AS: I do not choose. I always carry my camera with me. Every moment of my life outside the home is a good time and a good place to photograph.

WSP: Who are the photographers who have influenced your thinking and photography?
AS: I love Alex Webb for his use of color and the Controcampo, Saul Leiter for overlays, and Ferdinando Scianna for photographic sensitivity. Lately I have also been attracted to the style of Daido Moriyama and Bruce Gilden.

WSP: Do you think a photographer must have ‘natural talent’ to become a great photographer?
AS: I would not speak of talent, but of sensitivity and ability to see. I think that a man can learn photographic technique, can have experience on the street, a man can move easily between people, but if this man is not sensitive to the life, this man will not see the presence of great moments.

WSP: What type of images do you view as cliché, overdone, or too common?
AS: In street photography I do not see clichés. Each photo is taken in a specific time and every moment is unrepeatable. The composition may follow some standards, but each picture retains its uniqueness.

WSP: When you are out shooting, how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
AS: I act on instinct. I try to be fast and to predict the scenes and people's behavior. If i am lucky, then all the elements converge in perfectly and, CLICK! I don’t like to stand still in the same place. I walk a lot.

WSP: Do you think gear really matters when trying to make that great picture?
AS: The camera is only a means of our expression. The latest discovery will not improve your photography. It will only emptied your wallet. Daido Moryiama says "If you want to write a romantic love letter, you need some tool with which to write it. But whatever - a pencil or a pen - it is suitable”.

WSP: How do you handle unpredictable factors when you’re shooting?
AS: Every time and place is good for taking pictures. Sometimes a nice background or a beautiful environment helps a lot. I believe that the street is like a stage with many environments. You must be able to see it and then wait for the arrival of the actors inside.

WSP: For you, how important is content versus form in photography. Do you think for you one plays a stronger role than the other?
AS: I think form and content are tied together by the structure. The presence of both elements are crucial to creating a good photo. I think the lack of one of these things makes the picture ineffective.

WSP: How does black and white vs. color play into your work?
AS: I like black and white. I find it easier to manage. With color, if it’s not perfect, it is a distraction. I want to shoot in color. For me, it is a higher level of photography, but very difficult. I’m studying every day to obtain the tonal aspect that I have in my mind. I am honored that the "World Street Photography 2015" book has selected my color photos. I believe that the choice of color is related to what the photo is saying. Some photos work better in color other photos in black and white.

WSP: What is your opinion regarding film vs. digital photography?
AS: I like film. I am drawn to it, but digital is more convenient and economical. I care more about the content of a picture than the quality. I sometimes shoot with a 1975 Yashica rangefinder. My dream is to shoot a Leica m6 with a 28mm lens.

WSP: What is your opinion regarding darkroom vs. Lightroom?
AS: I think Lightroom should be used with the same approach as a darkroom. I can adjust tones, shadows, lighting, contrast, but nothing more. I think Lightroom is only a modern evolution of a darkroom. The risk is, however, an excessive and inappropriate use of the various tools available.

WSP: RAW or JPG and why?
AS: RAW certainly is more manageable in post-production, however in some cameras like Fuji or Ricoh, JPG is still usable in post-production.

WSP: Is there any particular genre/style of photography you would like to learn about and try?
AS: I'd like to address the urban portrait with flash, but it’s a question of courage and in Sicily, it is really complicated to take photographs this way. It’s a rather dangerous challenge.

WSP: Many photographers feel that we're all inundated with images thanks to the web. Have you seen a change in the way people interact with your photos because of that?
AS: Today people look at a picture for a few seconds, they click ‘like’ and go to the next photo. I think the amount of photos in the network has reduced the time of observation at the cost of the correct interpretation of the shot itself. On the other hand, this large amount of photos allows comparisons, inspirations and a common growth, but only if the approach is constructive.

WSP: What are your photography weaknesses?
AS: I'm lazy. I have many plans in my head but I don't have time to deal with them, and when I have the time I am so tired I just stay home.

WSP: What do you consider your greatest photographic accomplishment?
AS: There isn’t one. I am amazed every time someone likes one of my photos. I find it strange. I continue to research my personal vision, but when I think I have reached it, I’ve lost it again. My photos that I like are very few (no more than 10).

WSP: And, finally, what are some tips/advice you would give to yourself if you started street photography all over again?
AS: You must take risks! You must never be afraid to move. You can always learn from your mistakes. And if all photographers run to one side, run in the opposite side!

WSP: Thank you for this interview Andrea.

Andrea Scirè at World Street Photography (click)