Seizing every opportunity to photograph candid, everyday moments is a goal for many photographers. One of our top contributors, Stefano Tinti, takes this pledge very seriously as he attends events to capture people in action and on the move.
Exposition centers, marches, carnivals, fashion shows, extreme sports – all these events make up most of Stefano’s portfolio; they keep his body of work current and exciting. He’s not the kind of a photographer that would set out to photograph the wonders of nature; instead, Stefano chooses to focus on something slightly more unconventional. Today we have a chat with Stefano about his work, inspiration and personal aspirations.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a professional photographer born and raised in Milan, Italy. In my life I’ve been travelling a lot, especially to Africa. I love the mountains and all the activities related to it, like climbing. No, I don’t shoot landscapes.
When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
Several years ago I used to work as a director in the field of commercials and at that time photography was just a passion, not a job. Then, more or less seven years ago, I felt the need of a different way of expression – I wanted to be more independent. I was tired of the necessary production apparatus that it takes to shoot a 30 seconds commercial. I mean, now I can just go out with my DSLR and take a picture that will make the history of photography (it’s a provocative exaggeration of course). Given my moderate misanthropy, I do prefer to work alone than surrounded by a troupe of 20, 30 guys. I’m free to move around and decide for myself.
What would you say is your specialty in photography?
I love shooting people. I like faces so I would have to say that portrait photography (in the broadest sense) is what I feel more comfortable with. I do shoot street fashion, backstages during fashion shows and I also do lifestyle photography.
How did you get started in stock photography?
I heard a lot of talk about stock photography way before I started but it always seemed so strange to me (not to say impossible) that, in the huge ocean of Web, a pic of my portfolio could be noticed and bought. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine (a very cool photographer) told me that he had started to contribute to the stock industry and, slowly, things were going in a positive direction. So I decided to try myself and now I can say it’s been a good choice.
Was it difficult to break into the market? Was there a pivotal point?
In the beginning there’s a lot to learn: what to shoot, what not to shoot, releases, keywording, when to upload and so on. It’s kind of a waste of time but it is also valuable experience. When I realized the right balance between quality, quantity and a good perseverance in submitting, then things started to get better and better.
Your photographs are very positive and bright, what is your personal philosophy when it comes to the art of photography?
Everybody knows that photography never tells the truth, it’s a subjective representation of a portion of the world around us. Nevertheless, I always try to achieve, as much as I can, the most of spontaneity and naturalness that the subject in front of my lens can give to me.
How do you make models look so comfortable on set?
I try to make my models feel free, it’s very rare I say something like “pose this way, do that, look there”. Generally, sooner or later, a kind of empathy comes out and that is what I think works best.
You seem to attend events, do you take your camera with you everywhere?
When I attend events like exhibitions or sometimes political demonstrations (as I mentioned above I like faces, especially in big crowds) it is programmed well before. I always try to have a camera with me everywhere I go, nobody can tell in advance if there’ll be something noteworthy to shoot.
What is your favourite photograph in your portfolio and why.
People, faces, I find very hard to choose only one.
What’s been the biggest mistake you’ve had to learn from during your career?
It is not related to stock photography. A couple of times but enough, a long time ago, I accepted to work for free with the promise of big works to come after such as exposure and so on. It has never worked, I’ve just been naive.
Your #1 photography tip or words of wisdom:
Let’s read books, watch movies, go to exhibits, let’s feed our culture, in every respect: our creativity is a summary of all that.