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Interview: Photographer Ruben Cagnata (Italy)

Can you tell us a little about you?

My name is Ruben Cagnata and I am an independent photographer born in 1956 near Mantua where I currently live. In addition to photography, I love music, cooking and traveling to Sardinia. I like photographing people but when I travel I also love taking photos of landscapes. I worked as a teacher until 2020 and from this year I am retired so I have more time to concentrate on photography. As a teacher I taught photography trying to spread culture and passion for photography among the students of the school I worked for.

How and when did you get into photography?

The passion for photography began in 1980 using a film SLR, developing and printing black and white films at the home garage. Family and work made me leave out photography for few years. In 2009 I bought my first DSLR and since then I have not stopped studying and deepening the topics that interest me mostly in photography.

What does photography mean to you?

My character is shy and reserved so, as a portrait photographer, photography means building relationships. This is something special, I consider the camera a sort of psychological tool that can help strengthen the subject's self-esteem. There are so many beautiful and interesting people who don’t know that they are so.

Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

My subjects are mainly common people such as friends, next door girl, acquaintances, relatives or work colleagues. My girls sometimes have no make-up at all. We are surrounded by images that offer us perfect but unlikely models. I think beauty is not a model to follow but a lifestyle. Beautiful people are those who accept their flaws and live well with themself. So I retouch the images as little as possible looking for authenticity. I mainly focus on people's gaze and eyes looking for that spark that makes the subject authentic. In a nutshell simplicity but well done.

What has been your most memorable session and why?

This is a difficult question. Each session is different and you remember it for different reasons. Each time you learn new things and each time you make mistakes that you try to avoid next time.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I draw inspiration studying the masters of photography such as Peter Lindbergh, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz and many many more, I follow also Italian photographers like Eolo Perfido, Oliviero Toscani, Settimio Benedusi, Gabriele Rigon the list is endless. I had direct contact with some of them during their workshops.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?

Yes, almost always. A photograph starts from an idea that you then try to realize. A shooting need to be organized, set, lights, clothes, accessories etc. all should be in the direction of the mood you want, so planning is very important. Sometimes I write a list with ideas or upload some images on the tablet of what I would like to achieve. All this is just a starting point, experimenting is also important, during the shooting new ideas can lead in a different direction. This is funny considering that I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t need to follow any specific rule.

Studio, on location or both?

I like both. The approach is different. In the studio you can build your set, the light, the backdrop etc. with a complete control of the situation, on location you have to adapt to the environment and the weather, you have to look for the light. This is funny too.

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I consider myself a hobbyist who works professionally.

Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

I don’t think the camera is crucial, is just a tool, today cameras offer performances that are often used only in part. I use Nikon because my first digital SLR was Nikon. For portrait I basically use 50mm and 85mm, sometimes an old 20mm for perspective distortions. The most important thing is to know the instrument and its limits.

What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

This also applies to me. Be yourself, do not be afraid to experiment, take risks, do what you love and what excites you.

What do you think of our new magazine?

I think it's fantastic because it gives visibility even to minor photographers by focusing on quality.

Thank you.

Facebook, website, instagram: @ruben.cagnata

Model: Giorgia CassiIG: @giorgiacassi

Model: Marianna CagnataIG: @mariannacagnata

Model: Greta ScorzaIG: @gretoschiiii

Model: Luisa GrossoIG: @grosso_luisa

Model: Greta ScorzaIG: @gretoschiiii

Model: Marianna CagnataIG: @mariannacagnata

Model: Silvia Carta IG: @silviagcarta

Model: Silvia Carta IG: @silviagcarta

Model: Nicole Tiranti IG: @nicole_tiranti

Model: Julien TirottaIG: @julien.tirotta

Model: Julien TirottaIG: @julien.tirotta

Model: Gianluigi Lancini

Model: Monica Coletto IG: @__monii__c

Model: Angelica Tomaino IG: @angelicatomaino

model agency: @emccasting

Mua: Mauri Menga IG: @maurimenga

Studio: B49studio IG: @b49studio

Model: Luisa Grosso IG: @grosso_luisa

Model: Julien Tirotta IG: @julien.tirotta

Model: Claudia CarlettiIG: @redclo_fashion

Model: Nicole Tiranti IG: @nicole_tiranti

Model: Giorgia Cassi IG: @giorgiacassi

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