Interviews / Stories
Interview: Photographer Adolfo Valente (Italy)
Tell us something about yourself
I'm not a professional photographer (I'm a lawyer), but I've been taking photos for many years, since I was a boy when I started developing negatives and printing photos on my own.
How did you get into photography?
Ever since I was a boy I have been passionate about art. I would have loved to be able to draw or paint, but I was totally unable. So the best thing I came up with was to try photography. It was certainly quite a stupid approach because photography, painting and sculpture are obviously different forms of art, but that's how it went.
What does photography mean to you?
It means a lot. Photography is a form of communication: it is about getting in touch with other people, conveying something and talking about oneself. As we are what we photograph. But it is not just about conveying, it is also receiving. It is about sharing and sharing is always a good thing.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
My photography style is simple. I do not like planned, artificial, excessive things. In my photographs there is often a vein of melancholy: it does not mean at all that I am melancholy, quite the opposite, but melancholy is a mood I like and which involves me.
Where do you get inspiration from?
From many things. Obviously from well-known and successful photographers, but also from movies and even music which I love and constantly listen to.
Think in advance what you want in the picture?
Honestly yes, always. I do not want to look like the good guy who always improvises. I never start taking photos without first imagining what I want to do in my mind. Of course, things don't always turn out the way I hoped or thought for a number of reasons and that's when I have to improvise.
Studio, on location or both?
Location. It is the most natural and spontaneous situation.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
A hobbyst, absolutely.
What was your most memorable session and why?
I am sorry to disappoint you, but I cannot think of any specific session. I do not take photographs in difficult or extreme situations, so I have no anecdotes or weird episodes to tell you about. But I can tell you that all my sessions are memorable to me.
What has been the greatest source of inspiration in your work?
It is a very difficult question. There are many sources I draw inspiration from: the books I've read, the movies I've seen, the music I've listened to. Undoubtedly the books of the great photographers are the best lesson you can get. Fortunately I have a nice library.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
I have always used Canon reflex, but only by chance, because I started with a Canon when I was a boy and so I was very fond of this brand. But now I use the Fuji mirrorflex: they are much lighter, more practical and versatile and less invasive. I am convinced that's the way ahead. But I also like shooting in analog mode (which is always fascinating and performing) and sometimes with the Polaroid 600 SE. The target? The 50 mm.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
I do not think I can give any advice. Unfortunately, today the market is very difficult (across the board) and it is really hard for those who want to start. Even those who are good and skilled do not enjoy the right credit and do not receive the right compensation. So, instead of many theoretically beautiful words, I would say two very practical things: make sure to have some money aside (if you have any) and another job to support the photographer's one. Then you will see ... Of course you cannot think of setting yourself up as a photographer without knowing the history of photography.
What do you think of our new magazine?
Well, excellent of course! :) I'm honored to receive your attention and I thank you.