I would like to continue with the Sony World Photography Awards Open Competition winners😊 As I said, I was impressed by all winner’s pictures and worried about their stories. Because every story tells us that we never noticed something in our life for me, that’s why also I’m sharing their stories with you😊 Here is Simone Corallini who the winner of the Portraiture category in Open Competition with “The Endless Summer-Surf Trip”. If you would like to Simone’s and his picture story, here we go! Let’s scroll down😊
Firstly, we appreciate that you accepted our kindly interview request. Thank you for this chance to learn about you and your photography stories 😊 While I’m writing for the Open competition winners, really impressed by all pictures. To be honest, I couldn’t choose the best, because every picture is very beautiful from different perspectives and reflects life. For your “The Endless Summer-Surf Trip” portrait, I can say that it’s alive, natural, and momentarily captured 😊 That’s why I would like to learn the background of this picture story from you, and here we are 😊 If you’re ready, let’s start to divine up to your life journey!
- Let’s start with knowing about you more. Who’s Simone? I saw you’re good at describing yourself visually, but which words describe you?
It would probably take me a lifetime to understand who I am, but I will give you a brief description here. I was born on 14th March 1988, under the sign of Pisces, or Dragon for the Chinese calendar. I’m a photographer and director. My favorite superhero is Batman because he is a human and could possibly exist in the real life. I love the sea, forests and wild open areas. I’m a surfer, runner, and wakeskater. I have been a vegetarian for more than 10 years and I am fully in love with Japan and its ancient traditions.
- I’m curious about people’s lightbulb moments for passion, talents, and thoughts inside and always ask the same question because it helps other people discover themselves on the deep side😊So here is my question, when did you start to take a picture? Do you remember how did you feel yourself while taking your first picture?
I remember taking part in a short photography course during secondary school. That was the first time I got to know about the darkroom and it totally fascinated me. The darkroom, as well as the movie theatre, are all places similar to a cave where you can create images.
My first photos were taken with a photographic film, using an old camera I found at my parents’ house. It was back in 2000, if I remember well. It was an amazing feeling to buy a camera roll, to insert the film, to have a limited number of shots. And you couldn’t see if the photo was well taken instantly. I always loved the sound of the shutter and all the mechanical parts of the camera.
It’s hard to explain the feelings I had and I still have when I have my camera in my hands and I take pictures. It’s a very intimate feeling. After years of experience, I can now say that it’s very similar to meditation. I would also say that my Sony is like a Katana sword for the Samurais.
- You attended Sony World Photography Awards in the portrait category of the Open competition and I saw mostly portrait pictures on your page. I guess you like taking portrait pictures. What do you like about this kind of picture? How do you capture people’s pictures?
Correct, I have been focusing mainly on portraits for the last few years. Maybe it’s something that took my attention also due to the pandemic. I have always been curious about people, their faces, looks, and expressions. I like listening to the story that lays behind that person, trying to understand his secrets. Only then I take the photo, which helps me have an even wider idea of him. For instance, I took most of my surfers’ portraits right at the moment they were going out of the water, to stop those emotions of surfing over time. The portrait “The Endless Summer” is exactly about this. I don’t follow a rule, I just go with the wave and do what I feel like doing at that moment. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I believe too many rules and methodology could actually cage your creativity. I try to be free in what I do.
- Time to talk about competition 😊 Firstly, I would like to ask how did you decide to join the Sony World Photography Awards? When you applied for the competition, did you think you would win?
Not, I wasn’t thinking about winning, I never do that when I enter a competition. I try to be concentrated on what makes me feel well. I did the same when my short movie was presented at the Venice Film Festival, or when my movie got good reviews.
Anyway, I just woke up one day and I decided to participate in the SWPA. Among all the photos taken in the surf camp, the one with Simone Gentile had something extra that was missing in the other portraits. I feel happy and honored that the Director of Photography for Newsweek Japan Hideko Kataoka had the same idea about it. It feels great to be chosen among so many photos, and to know I could elicit a strong emotion in the jury.
- And here is the most I’m curious that what’s the story of “The Endless Summer-Surf Trip”? I’m sure you remember that day with all the tiny detail, can you mention that day with us?
Yes, I remember the moment I took that shot. I will talk about it with pleasure now, even though I believe that unveiling the before and the after of a photo might make it lose its magic somehow. We could lose the imagination, which is essential.
We were in Somo, Spain, on a surf trip with the guys and girls of the Ostia Surf School. I have received so much from surfing in the last two years. Great days, new friendships, unforgettable moments, but most importantly the contact with nature and to find me. We had stopped surfing for a while and we were just relaxing. I had my girlfriend and my Sony next to me, I was happy. Simone, this wonderful guy with bright eyes, who would never stop surfing, was coming back from the ocean when it was already getting dark outside. I turned around and I saw him, he looked like a warrior after a fight with the ocean, happy and amused. I grabbed my Sony and I took that shot.
- I believe pictures reflect emotion, pieces of life or situation maybe more things. Because every picture is full of meaning and makes viewers feel different things. What do you think about that? What do you want to reflect on your pictures?
I totally agree with you. Each photo has both a universal and more intimate meaning. I really like that each individual can identify with the photo differently, and create his own story on the picture that I took. That’s the reason why I didn’t want to talk about the before and after in your previous question, otherwise, there won’t be much left to the imagination. I try to find beauty, be it objective or subjective. If the person looks at my photo and recollects a beautiful moment in one’s life, then I am grateful for that.
- Everyone has a dream for lifelong. So what is your biggest dream want to come true?
To go on living the dream I am living right now, to keep doing what I like, what surprises me, and what gives me strong feelings.
- Do you have someone you inspire, are impressed by, and see as a role model from artists or photographers?
There are many photographers and at the same times, there are many filmmakers I got inspiration from. But I think that Sebastiao Salgado is the most important. Regardless of the camera that you use, what is essential is to tell a story. And Salgando tells a beautiful and cinematic stories.
- I should this question for new starting photographers, maybe they need some pieces of advice for improving themselves more. What’s a good picture in your opinion? What makes a good photograph?
I don’t think I can give many suggestions, I am 34 and I still have a lot to improve. Probably I can tell you that, as with everything in life, you must be honest with yourself. Don’t take that picture just because people like it or because it’s in fashion now. You must also be in the right place at the right moment. To achieve that you need to feel in harmony. It’s the same with surfing, you must be in harmony with the wave if you want to surf well, don’t go too fast or too slow. Techniques and methodologies are essential too, of course. Yet, we need to learn them without being trapped in fixed schemes and rules only, as Bruce Lee said. Otherwise, we will be always copying.
- Let’s finish our interview with your life motto. You look to stay active and love life fully. Also, I see you like to be with other people in the pictures you took. What’s your life motto want to share with us?