Assistants Project – Updates

One year has passed since I first wrote about my then new project about studio assistants and I feel is time to give some updates on it.

Lots of things have happened: old assistants have left and new ones have arrived… personally I don’t work at Big Sky studios anymore, but I’ve become a key holder at Sunbeam Studios, so I get much more regular work there.

I also work in another little studio/location, but I’m the only assistant there, so it’s irrelevant for this project.
I still have all of my Big Sky uniform stuff and I’m considering going back in the future to see how it has changed and which assistants are working there at the moment, but right now I’m focusing on Sunbeam and I really feel at home there.

I thought that it’d be nice to do little interviews with all the people who I photographed so far, I shall see if they’re willing to do it, but in the mean time, you can see the new pictures after the cut.

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100 Strangers Project

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m rather curious about people and I like the idea of photographing strangers, so I’ve decided to start the 100 strangers project on flickr.

One of the aims of the project is pretty straight forward, taking pictures of 100 strangers, but it’s not limited to that and what better way to explain it than copying the manifesto from the 100 strangers flickr group? You can find it below.

The idea: The 100 Strangers project is a learning group intended for those wishing to improve both their social and technical skills needed for taking portraits of strangers and telling their stories. The method is to learn by doing. Your participation will require you to share your experiences with the other members of the group. By providing this invaluable knowledge, everyone, beginners and experienced alike will benefit.

The challenge: Take at least 100 photographs of 100 people you don’t know. Approach anyone or a group of people, ask for permission to both take a photo of them and to post it to this group. Get to know your stranger/s. Who are they? What is their life like?

Step out of your comfort zone and into a new level of portrait photography. Start by taking 100 portraits of people you don’t know, total strangers. We welcome both beginner and advanced photographers. You may be new to photographing strangers or already have experience with this type of photography. Regardless, everyone is encouraged to take up the challenge.

The project is quite enjoyable and will definitely improve your photojournalistic skills. During the process you might just gain a new appreciation for those around you and enrich your everyday experience . You may even gain a few new friends along the way.

As you progress with the project it will be critical to share your experiences with the other members. This may be a story about the stranger you just met or how you felt making the approach. You may have, for example, tried a new approach, used a new photographic technique or equipment. You are learning by doing, so share with us what you’ve learned while taking on the 100 Stranger project.

I think that’s a pretty sweet initiative and it’s worth supporting, plus it’s a brilliant “excuse” to approach and photograph strangers without feeling too awkard.

So far, I’ve photographed 13 strangers for this project. You can see the first three of them in my previous post about photographing strangers and, if you wish, you can keep up to date with the latest additions in the 100 strangers set on my flickr account.

Stranger’s stories and pictures after the cut

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Testing with two twins

Recently I had the opportunity to fulfill a little photographic dream of mine: taking pictures of identical twins.

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Sebastian, my muse

According to the dictionary, the word muse has many different meanings, but it originally signified any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of who presided over a different art or science. From this meaning derived the modern connotation of guiding spirit and source of inspiration, normally embodied in a woman who inspires an artist/poet.

I can rightfully say that I’ve found a muse in my dear friend Sebastian, whose role doesn’t limit to simply submitting himself to my weirdest photography experiments without batting an eyelid, as he also inspires and guides me in creating different work with his insightful observations and ideas.

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Taking Pictures of Strangers

Vincent Marino (photographed for 1883 magazine)

I’ve always been fascinated by people and people watching has been a favourite pastime of mine since I can remember.
On the other hand, I’m a tad socially awkward and I find quite hard to approach people who I don’t know.
Recently I’ve finally (partly) overcome my awkwardness in approaching strangers and I’ve started asking more and more people  on the street if I can take their picture.

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The Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg

During my stay in Saint Petersburg, I spent many hours at the Russian museum and it was an incredible experience.
I felt deeply inspired by Russian art, I was totally in awe and I felt compelled to take several pictures of most of the large paintings of the collection.

While I was shooting picture after picture, I kept framing little details out of big canvases, distorting them and using shallow depth of field to isolate them from the bigger picture. I’m not sure why I did it, but it was quite an interesting experiment.

 

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