Interview: Photographer Michele Coppola (Italy)
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF
I was born in 1978, in a cold Thursday of January, in front of the Siren Gulf close to Naples, but my family moved to Milan when I was still a child and I grew up here.
I always loved travelling, for working or for passion and for this I call myself “an eternal foreign in homeland”! No place belongs to me, every place fills my heart and my eyes and photography is a natural consequence of my curiosity.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
Well, I’m not able to tell you when I decide to became a photographer… is something that happened naturally! I started to shot during the Accademy in Milan where I studied theatrical direction, but at that time photography for me was a way to takes notes, gather ideas… after the Accademy I realized that what I was doing with the camera was what I wanted to do! The pictures weren’t just “notes”, they were the way in which I saw the world and people around me. More I developed this, more I knew myself. At the end photography for me became a need for discovering “how deep is the white-rabbit-burrow”.
During the last year of university, I was working in a little photographic studio, and I got a phone call:
“Would you like to work as photo reporter in Africa for 2 years?” I said yes, and in 15 days I left my family, my university, my house and I was at the airport of Sharm just with my old Nikon D70.
And everything started.
WHAT DOES PHOTOGRAPHY MEAN TO YOU?
It will surely survive on me.
It’s not a passion, it’s not just a job… it’s a needs. I’m able to tell you only this.
It’s the needs to be amazed, it’s the needs to know, it’s the needs to express myself,
It’s the needs to communicate with my own language, without words but with something that everybody can understand and at the end, maybe, leaving an heritage of this time.
PLEASE BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOU PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE FOR OUR READERS
I’m above all a black and white photographer, even if I’m looking for “my colour” also.
I could say to be a portraitist, even if, in reality, I don’t care to give me “a label”. All the technicals, framing – choiches, managing model, locations, style and make up… all this things are elements that I use to build an image. I look for a harmony among the body, the look and the world around.
I search all the time for poetry, sensuality and elegance.
WHERE DO YOU GET INSPIRATION FROM
There are a lot of places where I get inspiration, more or less…everywhere!! Reading novels and poems, watching movies, looking magazines or pictures on the books and web. I get inspiration from my trips, looking things places and people around me, during my long walks ( I really love walking) and of course studying my favourite big photographer as Lindberg, Avedon, Herb Ritts, Barbieri, Newton…
I get “input and ideas” from everywhere and I leave them growing up inside of me… some of them disappear, others, suddenly, became a need to be realized. So I start to develop them. I try to transform these suggestions in a concrete idea that belongs to me. I look for all the “things” that I need to realize it… and then I shot. Sometimes it works… and sometimes no! Anyway, I always leave free a part of this creative process… because sometimes things happen, even if you didn’t project anything, but you have to be ready to catch them.
THINK YOU IN ADVANCE WHAT YOU WANT IN THE PICTURE?
I could say at 60%! I mean, I build the idea then I want that the model lives inside this idea. For me is important her/his interpretation: I give some directions, some suggestions but I want that she/he feels part of the world that I ‘ve created. In this way I give to my self the chance to explore the limits of the idea, if it works or not, if it miss something or there is too much… Moreover, all the people that work on my set are important, because through their professionality, their sensibility this idea can grow up. I like to talk with them and confront with their interpretation… and sometimes it happen that we change a lot from the original idea.
For all this, I could say that I go on a set with a canvas in my mind… but the picture will be built there.
STUDIO, ON LOCATION OR BOTH?
I’d say both! As always… depend on the idea! Even if sometimes I prefer to work outside. Maybe because I come from reportage, so I feel more comfortable in open space, with natural lights… or better with that “cloudy-soft- lights” before the rain! For me is the best one!!!!
WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A HOBBYIST OR A PAID PROFESSIONAL?
I’ve been a professional photographer for 16-17 years.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE SESSION AND WHY?
OH! Hard question! I don’t know… I mean, often behind a picture, there is a story…!
For example has been so funny what happened while I was taking the picture of the model with the long black skirt on the stairs. It was December and we were in Milan at 2pm o’clock. At the end of via Montenapoleone, close to Armani Hotel, there is a little square with this monument made like a huge stairs that I chose as location. We started to work, the model was posing, I was concentrate to shot and suddenly I saw the model through the camera start to laugh… I stopped and when I turn behind I saw more than 100 people with cameras, mobile phone and I don’t know what else… taking videos and pictures of her!
There were a couple of policemen that were taking pictures too! By the way we go on to work and after 10 min, when we finished, people started to clap and some of them asked also a picture with the model and my autograph… Was very funny! We laughed so much!
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION IN YOUR WORK?
Well, probably Peter Lindberg, but in somehow all the neo-realistic photographers!
For example I really love Ferdinando Scianna and how he show us Sicily. People, places… every picture is a story! He has been able to give not only an interpretation of the life of this land but above all an aesthetics and an iconography!
NIKON OR CANON? FAVOURITE LENS?
Always been Nikonist and my favourite lens are 105mm 2.8 macro and 85mm 1.8.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD LIKE TO OFFER A NEW PHOTOGRAPHER LOOKING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Mmmm… what could I say… are you sure??? Ok, I’m joking! Well I think that you don’t choose this profession, you must feel for real that is what you want to do… or better to be! Is one of the best profession in the world, but is also one of the hardest. You have to be prepared to do a lot of sacrifices, to receive a lot of doors closed, to change your mind and put all your work in discussion for improving and never give up to study. You should defend your ideas and work but you should be able to listen people that give you the right advices.
Don’t do it just for money… even because, nowadays, is not so easy earn “big money” from this career, but do it for yourself! Because after all the struggling’s, after all the fights, after all the problems… if you keep hard… you will see realized your ideas! And for me this is the best gratification.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF OUR NEW MAGAZINE?
Well, first of all, I’d like to say thank you for hosting me! I think is a very nice magazine above all because you give the chance to introduce a lot of talented photographers and beautiful models. You give them a lot of space to show their works and present themselves!
MODEL: LINA ZHENG
MODEL BELINDA KLOECKNER
MODEL KARINA TAIROVNA DRESS DESIGNER DIAMOND LUISANT MAKE UP ALESSIA BOSSI
MODEL HELEN RUDENKO
MODEL: GEORGINA HOBOR DRESS DESIGNER: JENNY MONTEIRO MAKE UP: MARA BOTTONI
MODEL: KAORU FUKUTOMI DRESS DESIGNER JENNY MONTEIRO HAT DESIGNER PASQUALE BONFILIO MAKE UP ELEONORA G. PELLEGRINI
MODEL: ELISA MARCHISONI MAKE UP: MARA BOTTONI
MODEL: HELENA NIELSEN HEISELBERG AGENCY: LUXX MODELS MAKE UP: RA LOOK