Nico Ferrara is a street photographer from South Italy. Nico, constantly take pictures, even if he doesn’t have a camera. He loves observing people and what’s going around. He is also co-founder of the street photography collective Superluna.
In his words about memorable street photograph “The content. A memorable street photograph is something that when you see it you stick with it for a while, something that makes you ask questions and most importantly if and when you have some answers, they must be good ones, otherwise, I lose interest.”
Thanks, Nico for accepting for our invite. Please read on.
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Nicola Ferrara, but everybody calls me Nico. I am 35 years old from south Italy. During the last 7 years, I have been living far away from home, first in London where I stayed for almost 6 years and currently am based in Parma – north Italy, with my wife and beloved daughter. I have a master degree in industrial engineer and besides my job I love taking pictures. I constantly take pictures, even if I don’t have a camera with me, I love observing what’s going on around. Last year I co-founded the collective Superluna.
What is your childhood memories towards the arts?
I remember during middle school I received from a friend a beautiful set of water-soluble colored pencils in a wooden box. This because I was passionate about drawing. I never used those pencils they were too precious to me. But yeah, I remember being good at drawing, well not that good but I really enjoyed it.
What first drew you to photography and how did you discover it?
Photography to me is something completely unexpected that came later in my life. Growing up I never had any particular passion or hobby, then it came the possibility of a trip to New York, my dream city, suddenly photography became a priority to me. I went to New York, took a lot of crappy pictures and that’s it. A few years later I joined a basic course in photography for fun and curiosity. I was completely blown away! Ever since then I never stopped learning, practicing and researching.
What makes street photography so special for you?
I am a bit of an introvert, street photography is my way to forget about my attitude, it helps me get out of my comfort zone. I love taking pictures getting very close to people using most of the time a flash. That feeling of my heart bumping up when I approach someone never go away, it’s pure adrenaline but besides this, I just love the unpredictability of going out without knowing what I will end up with. Plus, I walk a lot so this is another benefit of it.
When I saw your portfolio, the lighting and framing are so good. Few words about that?
Thank you, most of the time is about the light, I think about the light condition all the time, it’s my starting point. I spent a lot of time practicing with daily and artificial lights. About the framing sometimes is about guts and sometimes when I see something potentially interesting I like to play with it. As I said before, I like to observe what’s going on around and imagine or anticipate the shot. I now know how people react to me and the camera, so I know how to anticipate them, sometimes I use elements on the street to try to make my subjects move where I’d like to. I prefer vivid colors and strong contrast.
What do you think makes a memorable street photograph?
The content. A memorable street photograph is something that when you see it you stick with it for a while, something that makes you ask questions and most importantly if and when you have some answers, they must be good ones, otherwise, I lose interest.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
Difficult question. I like to bring them into the action, make them feel part of it, and sometimes surprise them with something particular, give them something to stay with for a bit.
What do you think about contemporary street photography?
Nowadays street photography is very popular and is constantly evolving, also there are a lot of different styles within the genre. Social networks are also making things easier on one side and difficult from another one. It’s easier to show your work, get consents and also they eliminate distances, so easily you can get in touch with photographers around the world. There are a lot of great communities, collectives, groups which are doing a great job and positively influencing/inspiring people. On another side, this “like4like” thing on the social network I think it’s creating a lot of confusion, noise, sometimes at expenses of quality.
What do you do to keep motivated, and not lose your passion for photography?
Whenever I can, I enjoy traveling on my own so I have time to focus on what am doing. Recently I had a baby, and she is giving me a lot of inspiration. Whenever I feel not motivated I just leave it as it is, I don’t push too hard, eventually, motivation will come back. In this situation, photography books help me a lot and I also like to spend some time browsing the internet, Flickr is still a great place for street photography.
What is the best compliment you received so far?
I am very critical with myself, so whenever people make me a compliment I don’t take them too seriously. I had some appreciations from photographers I respect and admire but I’ll keep them for me.
Which photographers have inspired you?
So many! From the past, I’d say Winogrand and Leiter above all. I’m a big fan of Trent Parke, Joel Meyerowitz, Harry Gruyaert. Recently I really love Daniel Arnold’s work, this guy is really inspiring to me.
What camera and lenses do you use the majority of the time?
I use an M6 with a 35mm, recently my wife bought me an X100F so I’m using it as well.
Any favorite photography books?
I’d love to get my hands on Morocco and 1964. Among the book I own I chose Minutes to Midnight. The use of the flash and lights it’s simply astonishing, every picture is like suspended between a real and imaginary world.
Apart from photography, tell me about your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy listening to music and cooking for people. Sometimes I buy photography books, I enjoy reading and collecting them
Thanks again for providing 121 Clicks with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
I’d like your readers to think about 2 things “Why do you take pictures” and “Would you still take pictures if you were the only viewer”.
Thank you for having me on 121clicks.
You can find Nico Ferrara on the Web:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted to Nico Ferrara. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.