Shoot 4 Change Interview: Fabio DeBenedettis

Feb 9, 2011 by

Shoot 4 Change Interview: Fabio DeBenedettis

Nicola Sacco met with the photographer Fabio De Benedettis on the occasion of his joining Shoot4Change (S4C) (and we are all happy and honored!) and exchanged with him a few thoughts on photography and social commitment.Tamil Nadu women
Fabio reminisced, “When I was 11 I received my first camera with which I loved portraying people’s faces, their expressions. Now, my daughter Eve, plays with the same camera.”

Fabio de Benedettis’ first photographic experience was in portraiture. This passion led him to begin photographing his city, Rome (monuments, streets, especially faces). He personally experienced many difficulties working in the Italian marketplace. So, he moved to London where he enrolled at Stanmore College of Art and Photography Studio Professional, receiving a diploma. When not working on personal projects at the College, “I worked in a pub in London to make ends meet. Then I’d come home and photograph life. I was attracted to the very concepts that exist in every picture.”

Click picture to view the slideshow

He began working as a wedding photographer, but it did not take long to realize that it was not his way. “These photographs are photographs that look sluggish. “Marriages are standardized events, marked by pre-determined actions at specific times. It was not really what I was looking for.”

He met fashion photographer Paul Pannack and worked with him. The experience was very positive because it allowed him to enhance his professionalism through portraiture and fashion work. He later worked with Sergio Bondione continuing to work in the studio. “With Sergio I established a good relationship. For me was like a father as well as a great teacher. We decided to continue to work in partnership in portrait photography. But, I felt that I was bored in the studio, I was looking for more. I felt a need for knowledge, to meet people and to document.”

Since 2002, Fabio has been dedicated to social reportage: he’s worked for NGOs, the UN, for NATO forces and has worked with many photojournalists in India, Algeria, Kosovo, Nigeria, Bosnia, and in the Sahara. At the same time continuing to engage in conceptual art photography and participate in various exhibitions – solo and group – in Italy China, England, Argentina, Germany, France and Singapore and throughout the world.


Nigerian Children

Click picture to view the slideshow

Nicola: Fabio, photography is a profession? How can I keep the passion even when it becomes a real job?
Fabio: Look, I believe it should always remain a great passion, fortunately for me it’s still a great love. Otherwise it becomes just a job and loses its magic.

Nicola: Is there a difference between professional and amateur photographers?
Fabio: There’s still more after the advent of digital photography. Now there are plenty of photographers around. So many cameras that have the potential to make great pictures. The difference is that an increase in the number of cameras in circulation is not matched by an equal increase in photographic knowledge of the user. Result: the picture of the trader still stands, fortunately.

Click picture to view the slideshow

Nicola: You and digital, what is your relationship?

Fabio: I would say privileged. Information technology has always been a passion of mine. I switched to digital in 2003 after working with medium format (6 × 7:06 × 4.5) and 35mm film.

Nicola: So, no nostalgia for the film?

Fabio: I would say no. Digital photography has enabled a revolutionary addition to the spread of digital cameras, but I am also referring to the cameras of mobile phones for example, which has also led to a reduction of costs and production time. And, just for those commercial reasons many photographers have, in fact, switched to digital.

Click picture to view the slideshow

Nicola: Would you like to talk about one of your last jobs?

Fabio: I’d love to tell you something about my experiences in Nigeria, Kosovo and India. I think they are the ones which tell you what I saw and why I approached social documentary photography. I went to Kosovo, in Pristina, in 2008, “embedded” with NATO forces. I tried to look beyond what I was allowed. In India, in 2007, I followed the post Tsunami reconstruction work of twenty villages in the state of Tamil Nadu, carried out by NGOs. I tried to get closer to the people of that continent living in close contact with the local population. [CLICK HERE FOR THE PHOTO GALLERY TAMIL NADU]

Nicola: One last question, on S4C: How did you decide to join this network of photographers?

Fabio: It was instinctive. I found the project very interesting, in that it will tell stories that do not pass on mainstream media channels, but true stories of people like us living in our streets. Also, elsewhere in the world. I think that photography is really able to help in a process of change towards a less unequal reality.

Click here for the Photo Gallery: Tamil Nadu

All photos courtesy of Shoot 4 Change

and Fabio DeBenedettis

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