Valerio Nicolosi is a filmmaker and photojournalist based and born in Rome. He won First Prize for AAP Magazine Travels
. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
All About Photo: Tell us about your first introduction to photography? When did you decide to become a photographer and more precisely to become a voice for the oppressed?
: I have always been passionate about photography, since I was a child I have always fascinated the world of the image but apart from the disposable machines I have never tried to photograph. I approached photography only around 20 years, when I decided that this tool could be useful to tell how I saw the world. In fact, in addition to the passion for the image, I always had that for the social. I was born in a poor and suburban neighborhood of Rome. Around me I have always seen many social problems and this has led me over the years to engage myself in defense of the weakest.
Do you think that a picture can be an antidote to injustice?
I do not think it is an antidote to injustice but in some cases it can be an instrument that helps a thought to emerge. Photography alone does not change society can only do it together with other tools.
What do you hope to achieve and what is your biggest achievement so far?
For me, being able to teach at universities is an honor I never thought I had. Being able to tell the students the stories I meet through my work is very gratifying. I hope in the future to be able to tell more and more young people.
Do you consider yourself primarily a filmmaker or a photographer? A photojournalist or a fine-art photographer?
I'm a photoreporter and filmaker. There are stories that I like to tell through photography, there are stories that I prefer to tell through the video. As a filmmaker I also have the opportunity to try to tell true stories through the narrative tool of fiction and this gives me greater freedom. As a photographer, on the other hand, I try to capture all that is real and that passes in front of me.
Why did you start working with the non-profit organizations?
Because NGOs are always a good basis for learning stories, which otherwise would be difficult to know. From Palestine to Syria through Nicaragua to the sea, I have always found people available who have opened their doors and put me in a position to work well.
Do you finance your trips or is your work commissioned?
I usually finance my projects through commercial work. The reports are therefore self-financed, then I try to sell them. In recent years, I have also been assigned to work for international agencies.
What country/people touched you the most?
For me Palestine is a special place. In particular, the gaza strip to which I am particularly attached. In that land I also have a project to train filmmaking and photography in universities, obviously as a volunteer.
Is your work political?
Everything is politics. My works are a personal look at how I see the world and I think this world is neither fair nor just.
Being a witness of difficult situations, how do you manage to cope with your memories?
It is always difficult to metabolize what you see. But at the same time we must be good not to become cynical and detached.
What was your biggest challenge so far? What is your worst souvenir?
For a year I have been carrying a little stuffed toy with me. it was a gift for my son who was born dead.
Do you travel alone?
It depends, sometimes sometimes with other journalists. But it is difficult to travel with other photographers or filmmakers because it is an individual work for me. Either you work together on the same project, and then on four hands, or you risk disturbing each other!
How do you prepare for your trips?
I study everything I can study on the place, the population and what I could meet. I try to look at a few photos and a few videos because I'm afraid of copying, even involuntarily, someone else's work.
What equipment do you use?
I use canon 6D, 20mm-40mm-85mm. Sometimes 24-105mm but i prefer fix lens
Do you spend a lot of time editing your work?
I'm not a good postproducer. For the photojournalism it's important to not change the message of the pic.
What makes the difference between a good image and an iconic image?
For a iconic photo it's important to remember something. Or if not remeember something is important to encase a complete concept. In the last weeks there was a iconic photo about a guy during a demostration in gaza strip. It's iconic because remember a picture od Delacroix but, also, it's iconic beacause is the symbol of resistance of Palestine.
Do you have a favorite photograph? (if so which one)
I have a lot “masters” of photography. Paolo Pellegrin is one of this.
What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photojournalist today?
Follow the passion, always. It's hard in this moment. I suggest to mix photo, video and every tool that we can use to tell a story.