31 July, 2007

Interview with my Flickr friend Valerio (Valpopando)

1. How did you first get interested in photography? And are you self taught?

My passion for photography, and other forms of art, I owe to my father (in flickr, agedsenator) who practically locked me inside the dark room when I was barely 12 years old (seems like a horror film…hehehe). But while winding film in the old, classic Rodenstok spools, I also learned all secrets of Black & White printing! Then I worked for five years as an assistant photographer for the Superintendent of Art in Naples working with large format Hasselbads.

2. Do you have a favorite walk around lens? If so, what is it?

As you can tell from my photographs, I adore wide angle lenses. In fact, a Sigma 10-20 was the first lens I bought other than the classic Nikkor 18-70 that came with my Nikon D80. Now, however, I’m having a good time with an old Nikkor 55mm micro lens!

3. What equipment and software do you use?

At the moment I’m happy to own a Nikon D80 with a Nikkor 18-70, a Sigma 10-20, a Nikkor 55mm micro and an old Tamron 300mm. I also have an OlympusC8080WZ (my first love) that I have literally abandoned to the shelf. Most of my photos are done in HighDynamicRange (HDR) so I use PhotoMatrix to achieve single file HDR (obtaining three equal shots with exposure +/-2,0), then I finish the image in PhotoShop CS2! I’m discovering , however, the pleasure of utilizing RAW files. I also use Nikon Capture NX for normal shots (non HDR).

4. Which one item of equipment is the most important for you?

Besides the camera, naturally, my inseparable friend is a tripod that’s always in the trunk of my car. For HDR shots, it’s of vital importance as is a remote control.

5. How do you decide on locations and subjects?

When I decide to take a shot I don’t know any limits. However, there are several fundamentals which I follow: First, there must be clouds(better still clouds just after a storm)! Second, I prefer sunrise and sunset: and thirdly, I always try to discover an interesting object to insert in the frame. To achieve these conditions I’m prepared to wake up at 4 a.m. and/or remain waiting for a couple of hours like a fool for the sun to set (however, one makes many interesting acquaintances during these waits…photography is always fascinating to women ! :)))

6. What are your favorites subjects to photograph?

Clouds! And also objects that are particular or abandoned, panoramas…and even nude women! :))) hehehe!

7. What continues to inspire you as a photographic artist?

The desire to surprise, to astonish, to try to be ingenious…and maybe I succeed every now and then.

8. What is the one thing that you have not captured on camera you feel you need to express?

Probably proper portraits or self-portraits. I would like to be able to photograph people and obtain the same excellent results that I see so many others obtain on flickr… but maybe I don’t really love to photograph people…hehehe, that includes self portraits, aside from some recent ones that were dedicated to my LOVE! :)))

9. What other artists have influenced your work?

Well, for sure my father! Every now and then I feel some of my photos on flickr are similar to his, but my passion for HDR I owe to Stuck in Customs and Asmundur, two great HDR post-processing artists.

10. What other talents do you possess besides photography?

I’m also a musician(drummer) and for years played as a professional…maybe I would also like to be able to paint!

11. Have you met other flick rites in person? How was the experience?

Yes! I had the good fortune to meet Trey from Austin, Texas (Stuck in Customs) thanks to flickr and my passion for HDR. He visited Naples for a week and we had a great time. It’s an experience I recommend for everyone! Of course, we had a little language difficulty, but our passion for photography cancelled out this limiting factor. Then in April 2007 I met Dean Forbes in Rome and this was also a wonderful experience. I’m planning to visit JR in S. ! Hehehe…sooner of later I will. LOL

12. Any words of advice for those who would like to dig deeper into photography?

I’m not sure what to say! I’m not a great lover of tutorials and handbooks. I think it’s important to master the fundamentals, then you need to work hard experimenting and using your imagination like it was a game so that you don’t become tied to stereotypes and/or get overly influenced by others. The results could be surprising and absolutely unique and personal and it would be beautiful to read comments like: “This beautiful photograph reminds me of Volpopando’s style.”

13. Of all the photos you’ve taken, which is your favorite and why?

It’s a classic question that’s not easy to answer. A single favorite doesn’t exist, there are many. However, after seeing “me in my fingers” after nearly a year, I still love it dearly.

14. If you could change anything on flickr, what would it be?

I agree with jacq77 and I’m not happy with the level of security on flickr. Many of my photos have ended up in large format downloaded as wallpaper. Another two have been used by magazines without my consent and without credit. It would be enough for flickr to create a system that wouldn’t allow download access to individuals (even those on the flickr staff). I would also cancel Explore. It has unleashed competition among flickr users (me included) and has altered the function of leaving constructive comments on photos.

These are the three photos that Valpopando want to show us in this interview:

1) Valpoclassic

2) Valpilou (for my great friend Philippe)

3) Travel to Lupinanto

Thanks so much for the translation of this interview to Don (dgjean) and to Valerio (Valpopando) for his quick reply.

I propose Valerio as ambassador of Naples in the World!

angie_real aka Angela Lobefaro

p.s. Forza Napoli!!!


Catman said...

Bravo Angela and valerio,two of my dear friends it's so interesting

Raoul said...

Awesome interview! I love Val's photos, and have him as a contact on Flickr. Don (dgjean) is also a contact. His night photography is wonderful.

Couldn't agree more about doing away with Explore, or re-engineering Flickr in some way to stop all of the silly competition and meaningless flattery. I actually ended up disabling all comments on my photos. I was so fed up with all of the drivel, and just wanted to focus on improving myself. You can read more about it here, if you'd like.

Linda said...

Angela, This is a great interview. Several of the questions you asked Val were ones I would have liked to ask. And what a surprise to find out that AgedSenator is his father!!
Looking forward to more interviews.
Linda (*labaronesa*)