Leonardo Brogioni was born and raised in Florence. He moved to Milan and attended the photography school R. Bauer until 1989. Then, he started working for photography agencies and for the publishing industry. He was commissioned to work on several issues, such as reportage and portraits, until the recent crisis, which is why Leonardo changed over to corporate photography. Leonardo founded and managed, until 2016, the association Polifemo, that organizes cultural events focused on photography and located in Milan, in the buildings called Fabbrica del Vapore. Now he is a freelancer and deals with new, interesting projects.
Hello Leonardo, thanks for your interview. Let’s start with the first question…
How and when did you start getting close to photography?
The picture below is recent. It reminds me that it was the passion for mountain that moved me towards photography and push to know more about the authors and the photography genres. In a first step, I didn’t have precise rules, I had an inquiring mind. Later I started studying in a more organized way relying on the school and the professionals. I often captured pictures when I went for walks and one time I took a photo that won an award. This recognition encouraged me to keep shooting, but with a conscious and serious approach.
What did you push towards mobile photography?
The image above is one of the first pictures I took on my reliable iPhone 3GS. It makes me realize that I wasn’t forced to choose mobile photography. It wasn’t a change of my habits, but just a natural and spontaneous transition for me, caused by both actual and personal factors. The new advanced systems and the smallest dimensions of components (two essential elements to keep up with the communication technology) made the devices more limited in size, lighter and wieldy, and the quality of the images is getting better and better.
I’ve always hated the heaviness of the materials that I should have dragged on for years. I started working in the analog era, with the SLR cameras, and I still remember what the nightmare it was with the handling the bags full of lights, tripods, cameras, panels, rolls, polaroids, etc. It’s like a dream to create the photo shoots with only a smartphone. I prefer not using supports, additional grips and lenses, but just the “raw” smartphone as it was in the original package. I like very much post producing images with a couple of mobile apps, because I don’t have to use my pc. Sometimes, I take the luxury of working on the tablet, because its wider screen offers a better vision.
What do you prefer of mobile photography?
In addition to the above, I’m fond of other elements of mobile photography: now, you can send and share your photos in real time. The internet world connects people very quickly and the speed of the social networks is difficult to manage (you must work in a hurry and take more risks), but it’s very useful and effortless. As you can see, photography is becoming a competitor of the TV.
More and more multimedia products are the assembly of single shots and the spectators love them. Several newspaper discovered photography again, often combined images with videos. But on the other side of the coin, the professionals, now, have to know how to realize both photos and videos.
Are there any pictures you could take only thanks to your smartphone? Could you give us an example?
I’m not a smartphone-aholic, I think the smartphone is just one of the devices available. It’s complementary to other instruments and to the cameras. I don’t agree with people that love smartphones only because they’re small and “invisible”, and give the possibility to take photos without being noticed. My professional training and work experience have thought me that a good image is created also thanks to the complicity of the subject, or better, the help comes when people are aware of being shot or that they can be shot. Then, I can choose to capture a scene taking more pictures of the same situation and using different devices. It depends on the moment, on how I want to realize the project.
What’s your favorite genre of photography?
I often use the smartphone because it allows me to always have a camera in my pocket and shoot freely, without restrictions, forgetting all about rules and duties, trying to go beyond the self-censorship that sometimes professional bias risks to impose. People who work in corporate photography can fall into this trap and when I think of smartphones, the anarchy comes to my mind.
Therefore, choosing one particular genre depends on the moment. I can take pictures of landscapes, still life, portraits or street photography: I like experiencing of being carried away by sudden emotions, a thrill, a “divertissement”. Improvisation, in the jazzy sense of the term, not as inaccuracy, is the best word to define my approach to mobile photography.
What do you suggest to people who want to pursue this career?
In my opinion, they should design a good project, carrying it on, find and apply a visual homogeneity to the whole creation, always being untiring and tenacious. Never try to go along with the taste of the public, purpose the yours. Try instead to be a dreamer and surprise the community.
Speaking of mobile photography, do you have in mind any new challenge?
I’m not competitive, I don’t look for challenges or motivations. That’s the way I am. And my vision. Let me say, I’d like to realize more and more mobile photography projects, because it would mean to be free and appreciated. I think it would be a meaningful change, because it rewards the content, not the investments in equipment.
Thanks Leonardo, we’re looking forward to seeing new projects of mobile photography!