It always has been a pleasure to promote brilliant artists and a privilege to discover new talents. We met Alessio and his work through our submission art section. He is an Italian photographer who travels around the world and creates stunning street photography. His latest project is called Urban Melodies and captures the beauty of several cities. Let’s discover his journeys and artworks together.
1. Alessio, please tell us a bit about your background.
I was born in 1981 in Rome, the city where I also grew up and where I’m living now. I like to think that I am a “romantic traveler” and “errant photographer”. My graduation was in 2009 in Disciplines of Arts and Cinema, with a specialization in History and Theory of Cinema. During the same year, I started to travel in Europe and America, taking pictures and living wonderful experiences. My first exhibition took place in a gallery in Rome, in 2010 and there I exposed pictures from my travels. Since then, my number of exhibitions grew and my pictures were exposed in several Italian galleries.
2. What piqued your interest in photography and how did it develop into a career ?
I always had a passion for photography. But there is a moment I can’t forget. I was 10 years old and I was showing to my grandmother photos from a little trip I made with my school in a place not far from Rome. My album was full of pictures of my schoolmates and my grandma told me: “But where are you?”. In that moment, I realized that there wasn’t a picture of me in the entire album because I always was behind the camera. It was the first time I saw myself like a photographer. Later, after my graduation, I began to travel by myself, first in Europe, then in the United States and South America. In that moment I didn’t understand what means to be a photographer, actually, I didn’t know who I was. But my camera was with me, and walking through the streets and the alleys of Paris I suddenly found a huge inspiration, an inspiration that followed me in every city I visited since that moment. I didn’t choose to be a photographer, something just happened inside me that told me this is my path in life.
3. Looking at your projects I could see that you really love street photography and I am curious to know what inspires you most? What are you trying to discover or say through Street Photography?
I absolutely love the street, the stories that every corner and every building can tell. I always search for the soul of a place, I mean, what that place can tell me. Through my photographs, I try to catch the real soul of a street or a building, with something that belongs to its history and at the same time to its daily life. I try to feed my inspiration walking for a while every day and taking pictures of the daily life out in the city. What I love about Street Photography is that, unlike studio or architecture photography, if in that moment you hadn’t been there, that picture would never have existed. If you had chosen another street or if you had stopped to look at your smartphone, such picture would never have existed. The fact that you were there to take this picture, somehow makes you feel a little special.
4. I checked out your project “Urban Melodies” and found it was well received by many publications. What’s the story behind this project?
I try to create, by superimposing different pictures, an abstract representation of urban landscapes and contemporary life from modern cities like Rome, New York, Paris, Berlin and many others. By juxtaposing different images, I would show a usual image in a conceptual way. In my life, I always try to look for something beautiful around me and think that I try to put something beautiful in my pictures. In my project, “Urban Melodies” you can find different perspectives, from a beautiful traffic jam to a building in ruin, this way you can find beauty everywhere. Once I read a quote that is perfect for me as a photographer: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not”.
5. I saw that you even wrote a book about photography, named “Fuori Dalla Caverna”. Could you describe it in a few words ?
Well, actually it’s not a book about photography, but about my travels. As I told before I traveled a lot alone and I always carried out my camera, a notebook, and a pen with me. I wrote a lot of notes, stories and stuff like that in my travel diary. After my latest big travel, in South America, I decided to put all these notes together in a book and that is “Fuori Dalla Caverna” (“Out of the cave”, it’s a reference to Plato’s cave). Even though it’s a diary, I think everyone can recognize themselves because it’s a book about love, life and the search for happiness. Some of my photographs are in the book as well.
6. Can you share with us your routine on a normal work day ?
More or less I usually wake up at 9am. After breakfast, I sit in my “office” (my room) and I turn on my computer. I spend all my morning working on my pictures, responding emails, updating my social networks. At 1.30pm I eat and then I stay two more hours in front of my computer, reading blogs, watching pictures and finishing my work. Then I go out (often with my camera, but not always), walking through the city, meeting friends or looking for new ideas and inspiration. At night, I use to watch a movie, read a book or have a drink in a bar. I usually go to sleep at 1am.
7. On your website, I saw you won several awards. Congratulations! Can you tell us which was the biggest challenge in your career ?
Thank you! I think that the biggest challenge in my career is to demonstrate to myself that I can live the life I’ve chosen for me. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve worked for years every night in a pizzeria to pay my travels, support my passions, and to do what I love. Well, it hasn’t been easy, but now I’m doing it and I am happy. Receiving awards is great, but the best satisfaction for me is to read what people write me on Facebook or by mail: they tell me how much my work inspire or touch them and I really love to read comments and reactions, they are really my engine.
8. Can you name other photographers that you look up to?
I always follow a lot of photographers. Masashi Wakui is one of my favorites in this moment. But I can really name a lot of photographers that I love: Marius Vieth, Marcin Baran, Alexander Mueller, Rosario Oddo, Felipe Rubilar… I’m forgetting someone, but at the time, these are the ones I follow mostly.
9. Do you have any advice for photography enthusiasts seeking a professional career in the field?
I have a story about it. In 2010, during one of my travels in Paris, I was talking with a friend of mine on a bench, not far from the Centre Pompidou. I was talking about my life, how I had to pursue my dreams by going on, trying to do my own art and pondering if I’d turn my life in a safer existence, with a “normal” work, a fixed salary, summer vacations and something like that. Suddenly I saw a writing under the bench, that writing was in Italian and said: “La vita è una sola, vivila come tu vuoi” (“Life is just one, live it as you want”). I know, maybe it’s random and not that original, but in that moment, something changed in my mind. I will never forget this advice. Good things happen to those who wait, so don’t be discouraged if results are hard to reach, if that is your real passion it means that you only need more time to achieve your dream.