You can read below an interview by Paolo Torri of 2012. At that time, Paolo was attending the same school of mine, The Darkroom Florence, who taught me the basics of photography and how to become a professional. I will never forget that period of my life, and I’m happy to share the interview below.
You can read the whole post (in Italian) here.
What I tell you here is the story of Facibeni Fotografia, a photo boutique which is already among the most successful International Wedding Photographers. He gave us an interview full of ideas for those who wish to begin this profession.
One of the best wedding photographers in Italy, disputed by trendy wedding planners. Do you think this is a point of arrival or departure?
Being considered among the best repays me in part for the all the time I spent in growing my business. However, I still prefer to be considered just nice from my customers; the gratitude of a happy bride is priceless. I continuously invest energy and attention in research and equipment to always get the most out of what I do. I treat every customer as the best one I have; it’s clear that all this is only a starting point.
Your work is very much in trend, how would you define your style and your footprint?
I believe that talking about style is meaningless nowadays. People give too much importance to definitions rather than content. My footprint is mostly romantic if it can be defined so; I use photography to tell a love story.
Do you have any source of inspiration? Any favourite artist?
The sources of inspiration are endless. Blogs, newspapers, fashion magazines, exhibitions, everything that is image is food for my aesthetic. I like to recall three photographers for my professional growth: Robert Doisneau taught me the passion for telling the beautiful and simple things of life, Jeanloup Sieff the strength and the power of communication, James Nachtwey how to bend reality to your own emotions, perfection in the frame and the elegance of the composition. These artists were so crucial for my career that I cannot but take up their books at least once a week.
What do you think about wedding photography nowadays? Would you change anything in your life?
Yes, I’d love to buy a beach resort here in Italy and spend my summertime laying on the beach. Seriously, Marc Anthony once said: If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. It couldn’t be truer!
I’d love to try something different in the future, but always in the wedding industry. Every business requires highly specialist staff, so you must think twice before leaving your job to another. However, I am fascinated by the idea of bringing my photography in motion.
Let’s talk a bit about your training: when did you start shooting?
There weren’t smartphones on digital cameras when I was younger. I remember a grandmother’s birthday when I was eight; my uncle had a fantastic reflex, the Nikon FM. He tried to explain to me how it worked, and I took a group portrait. That was my first photograph.
It was pleasant many years later to study photography with the same analogue camera and discover in a closet millions of forgotten negatives and slides that my uncle had taken around Europe. I watched them all, one by one, and there I fell in love with what would be my profession.
When did you decide to become a professional? And how has this choice matured?
I decided to become a professional when I quit my previous job to devote myself to the study of photography. I realised then that I couldn’t come back.
Initially, I wanted to take the pictures for travel magazines, news reports around the world. After three years, I discovered myself in taking pictures of people. That’s why I began with wedding photography.
What were the initial difficulties?
Difficulties are many because my business had to grow, so I had to go out there and tell who I am. But it took time and money. I remember I spent everything I had to study photography, even the latest savings that I could pay for the concert of my favourite band.
You must take advantage of every little opportunity and show what you can do; in the early years, I worked 24/7. I studied books on Photoshop at night. But it was never a burden! Well, I was lucky to meet outstanding professionals, like James Robinson Taylor. From a human point of view, they helped me a lot.
What if anyone wants to learn from you?
I do not have any preconception, but mostly I prefer to choose than to be selected. That said, the first things I evaluate are character and Buongusto (good taste). You can learn the basics even on the internet nowadays, but the good taste is innate. If I meet a talented photographer-to-be, I help him in achieving his full potential.
What would you recommend to new photography entrepreneurs?
I do not think that shooting, shooting and shooting is the best advice. I recommend to look, look, look. The more you observe, the better your photos will be! Word of a photographer!