“Fotografiere, was du nicht verstehst und die Antwort beginnt, sich vor deinen Augen zu entfalten.”
Das findet die italienische Fotojournalistin Lucia De Giovanni (Webseite). Im Interview mit Augenblicklichter.de spricht sie über Ihr Fotoprojekt mit dem Titel “LOVE”. Dabei fotografierte sie Paar, ihre Zuneigung, ihre Liebe. Was hat sie über ihr Sujet gelernt? Was entfaltete sich auf ihrer fotografischen Entdeckungsreise vor ihren Augen? Und warum sind alle Fotos in schwarz-weiß?
Deutsche Übersetzung des Interviews folgt.
To me, love is in the small details – a look, a smile, an attentive gesture.
You took photos of nearly 70 couples in love – of all ages, colors, shapes and styles – in an attempt to capture how love looks. How does love look like?
Good question. I guess love looks different to everyone. To me, love is in the small details – a look, a smile, an attentive gesture. It looks tender and strong at the same time, happy and serene… there is a sense of calm energy around it.
What is the difficulty of capturing love with the camera?
The short session ensured that they wouldn’t start posing and I usually got the shot within the first 10 seconds
[/pullquote] The first thing is to throw all rules away and rely on your instincts. People are conditioned to look at the camera and smile from early childhood , and what I needed was to capture my subjects in an intimate, natural way. Technically, I used a 50mm lens and moved around them for exactly one minute, sometime less – the short session ensured that they wouldn’t start posing and I usually got the shot within the first 10 seconds. The vantage point of shooting from above the couple gave it a sense of “looking in” into an intimate moment. The shallow depth of field was very deliberate, I wanted to focus on a smile, a look, a glance.
Sometimes the couples look into the camera, sometimes they are looking at each other, sometimes their eyes are closed and they are kissing. How important are these differences in terms of capturing love? In this regard: what do you think works best for communicating love through photography? Or: How does a different gaze or look of the eyes influence the different impression of love and how does it emphasize the different aspects of love?
I think I understand your question… I just asked my subjects to breathe and look at each other, and show me what their love looks like. I didn’t direct them more than this – I did, however, ask them to keep it PG13. HA! What you see, is simply what they felt in that moment, and each photo reveals their own unique expression of love.
All the pictures of your love-project are in black and white. What is the reason for this decision?
I feel is allows the viewer to hone in to the feel of the photo, rather than have colors that might distract from where I want the focus to be, which is the emotion of that moment.
How did you approach the couples?
At first, I just asked a few of my friends to participate in the project. Since they know me well, they didn’t hesitate at all, as they knew I would only showcase them in their best light and the thought of having a one minute photoshoot was quite appealing to all. Then it snowballed – as soon as the photos started to circulate via social media, the amount of emails from people started pouring in. It seemed like everyone wanted to participate and volunteered their parents, friends, anyone they knew that was truly in love. It resonated with so many people that I actually photographed close to 200 couples and only chose 70 for the book/gallery show. It’s still a work in progress.
How did you make the people feeling comfortable in front of the camera? Did it work with all people? Are there tips you have for other photographers with respect to that?
I thought that was the most difficult part, but it developed rather organically, with a lot of jokes and humor. People were happy to sit for this project, so they were already excited. Sometimes I would have several couples scheduled at the same time (usually 10am on a Sunday morning), so I asked everyone to respect the privacy of the shoot, and to wait at a safe distance, while I talked to the couple I was about to photograph. Most times, I met with just one couple for coffee, got to know each other, laughed A LOT when I asked them to tell me how they met or a funny anecdote about their love story, and then we did the shoot. I have met so many people who I still consider very close friends to this day.
While selecting the pictures, which criteria where important for your selection of the right pictures?
I would have about 10-15 shots per couple, so I loaded them all in Bridge, and glanced at all of them at the same time. The one that made me feel happy made the cut. Even if it wasn’t as technically sound as the others. It was just a gut feeling.
What did you learn about love during the project?
Love is kind, empowering, honest and uplifting. It inspires. Anything that makes you feel any other way is not love. My couples showed me how their devotion to each other only made them better people, within the relationship and outside of it.
What did you learn about photography during the project?
I am, by trade, a concert and music photographer. My style of shooting is by nature very fast and instinctive. What I learned about photography during the project is that I can use my skills for portraiture as well – I don’t have to have a two hour long session in order to get the shot, and my clients prefer it as well. Often, they remark how fun and painless my sessions are, and it’s all because I photograph the way I feel most comfortable approaching my subjects. I tried other ways, and never felt very successful in the end. When you shoot the way I do, you have to rely on years of experience to know your hands and eyes will get the shot, while your heart feels all the rest. Maybe that’s what I like most about it, the way it makes me feel.
Are there any questions that I should have asked? (Feel free to add (and answer them))
I think we covered most of it – I would add, photograph what you don’t understand, and the answer will start developing in front of your eyes.
Thanks for the interview.
Here’s a link to Phase I of the project with many more pictures of loving couples – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.153087528098927.39923.152714211469592&type=1&l=920ddfe696
In Phase II of the project De Giovanni took photos of is a single person and their dog. Many photos of this “Puppy Love” proect can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.157154257692254.40687.152714211469592&type=1&l=17ce771707