Insert your Heart and Brain {HERE}.

It took much more than looking at someone doing it.
It took me (only) a couple of years of unsatisfied feelings and confusion.

Feeling like you are missing the point, or more precisely, that you are doing some of the right things, but not enough of them to be completely happy.

I’m taking about photography. I am not saying I’m completely satisfied with my work, but I’m ok enough to know which way I have to keep trying. I know which direction I have to work the most. To get better I mean.

I thought this epiphany would have been smoother, at least I was really sure I had some ideas. I had NO idea. Not too long ago I decided to start over, and it was a good decision. It will probably have to happen again and again in the years to come.

The reason why it came to me is because I kept processing, until I realized part of the answer is in the way I interpret other photographer’s work.
When people ask me what was like to be working next to David, I always think about being precise. Never let anything to the case, be prepared. I’ve never seen such an efficient crew around a photographer. That same attention to detail can be (should be!) translated on smaller productions as well. David LaChapelle does one thing particularly better than many others in my opinion, he thinks better. It may take three days to build a set that corresponds to his vision, but that is exactly why the final images look great.

You know when people tell you “get the picture right already in the camera” ? I’m sure you’ve heard it before, at least once. Did you think about it? I mean, did you really think about it? It doesn’t really matter whether your shoot produced or very low budget, either way it will make the difference. Maybe not everyone will be able to see it. But who matters will, trust me. And most importantly you will know, you’ve done that shit right.

I haven’t gotten to that point, it’s a goal. I am not even 100% sure it needs to always be that way (there must be exceptions), but you need something to look up to. For me that “something” is the research, preparation, focus and precision the people I worked with put in their art.

I want to quietly thank everyone who helped me understand this. If we’ve worked together you, are definitely on that list. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to learn.

I thought it would have been nice to share some backstage about this. These are some of David portraits of Uma Thurman and Katy Perry on which we broke our backs on, building up, moving, lighting, refining, laughing, sweating, getting yelled at, to get it just right. Every little detail in these images is real and well thought, in their own way these images are honest.

Build the set, tear it down, clean up. And do it again. Hopefully for the rest of your life.

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4 thoughts on “Insert your Heart and Brain {HERE}.

  1. Nice to understand from your words you’re re-appreciating the work of others.
    Practicing humility – in a positive sense of the term – is a great resource.
    Be happy with that.

  2. Ti auguro di arrivare al tuo 100%. Per quanto mi riguarda, (quasi) ogni volta che lavoro su foto che ho appena scattato sono molto soddisfatto, ma quando passano 3 o 4 mesi, e sono già ad un altro punto, vedo solo ciò che avrei potuto fare di più per migliorare. Ma questo è il bello della fotografia. Ci sono fotografi che guardano al loro lavoro sempre con gli stessi occhi e altri che lo guardano un po’ con imbarazzo appunto per questo. Per questi ultimi è il processo che da soddisfazione, è il momento di creazione e tutto il lavoro che è connesso ad esso. Io credo di essere tra questi, e se da un lato è brutto perchè non riesco mai a godermi a fondo le mie foto, dall’altro lato è anche il motivo per cui amo la fotografia e per cui non sono mai stanco e sazio.
    Complimenti per le tue foto, la serie dell’Argentina (almeno credo fossero in Argentina) è una bomba!

  3. I just love you Mattia. I love how much you care about your craft and that despite how incredibly talented you are already, you are always looking for ways to improve. Miss you very much!

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