Interview with…Paolo Colaiocco

Photos by Paolo Colaiocco

Paolo Colaiocco is a 34 year old italian photographer, from Florence. He shoots pictures to feed his voyeuristic urge for images.

Can you tell us something about you?
I’m 34, totally crazy for ice-cream and a compulsive listener of De Andrè’s music. I never take it seriously and I’ve recently got over a paralysing fear of flying.

Where do you live and work now?
I was born in Florence, Italy, where I live and work with my girlfriend. I think I belong to this place even if I often feel the need to get out. Actually, though Florence is a town full of culture, it’s no longer the one it was in the 80s, a workshop for innovations, where many artists found breeding grounds for their experimentation. Fortunately my job allows me to travel a lot abroad.

How did you start taking pictures? Usually there is always the old story of the boy who finds his grandfather’s camera, did that happen to you as well or not?
That’s not my story. I have always thorough observer and have had a passion for images. An inexpensive digital camera made me realise that my voyeuristic obsession could be partially replaced with photography. I was 25 and I finally saw photography was my way. I’ve studied architecture, knowing though that I would have never become an architect.

Have you thought right away to follow the existing trends in photography or has it been a need to look for different styles and themes that have motivated you?
I’m obsessed with contemporaneity and I feed my curiosity for images ravenously. Nowadays, I think we are all players/spectators of a huge peep-show and every image is devoured and dismissed very quickly. Therefore I believe that a direct and raw photography language is best suited to describe the cannibalistic nature of using images. After a while, I get bored of the pictures I take and feel the urge to look forward and take some new ones. Each picture I take is just an image of transition to me.

Where your inspiration comes from?
I think the inspirations can be found in cravings, that each one of us has. Mine come through my own experience, my childhood, my possessive and addictive way to live, my union, in life and work, with my girlfriend who manages to put a fashion content to my photographic production. Sometimes I let myself to be influenced by other images, but basically I consider it a mistake.  I actually try to create an imaginary of desire, which has to be direct, unfiltered and therefore soiled. I do it to satisfy my personal urge of images.

In a portrait, what is important for you?
It is to bring out the internal corruption that everyone has.

Whith kind of relationship do you have with your subject when you shoot?
Basically, what I look for is the presence of a body in a space. Very often the performance I require from my subjects is limited to this. I believe that just the presence of a body can create a real tension, this is why I usually do not ask my subjects to pose. Some other times I try to find some more dynamic interactions, but then I always realise that the real strength lies more in the physical presence of a man or a woman.

According to you, fashion photography can be taken the old way or the digital format is predominantly the way to do it nowadays with no way back?
Nothing has no way back, for those who believe in God, even death. I was never fond of technical discussions. I think what important is the result and not the means to achieve it. Actually I prefer a digital machine, because it suits better what I want to do, but who can tell! A good friend of mine, who’s also a great photographer, one day lent me a Contax. It’s still in the drawer, maybe someday I’ll start using it and I’ll never stop.

What does it mean for you now “Streetphotography”?
“Streetphotography” isn’t something that belongs to me. It is closer to Reportage, like ‘capturing the moment’ , as Besson would think. Basically, I’m more gratified by the slower process of building my scene and by describing all its faces. I would suffer to be not able to catch the right moment!

Do you think it’s important to follow a school to learn how to shoot?
In my opinion, a significant cultural background is needed but the technical aspects of photography are so intuitive, that anyone can learn them on their own. In 2012 the figure of the photographer has something more to do with conceptual skills than technical ones. I teach photography at a fashion and design school in Florence, and I always suggest to my students they stay at home reading than taking photos in the street.

What’s the photo you want to take and you never did?
I’d like to be between Cindy Sherman and Juergen Teller in the picture taken for the Marc Jacobs’s campaign of 2005.

What’s your photo-mission?
Trying to take, in a honest way, dishonest pictures.

What’s your last project that are you working on?
I’m preparing the advertising campaign for a very cool shop based in Barcelona. I’m very excited because they are young and they are not afraid to find out new brands. Moreover I love Barcelona, people there has a “buena onda”

In the last years there are a lot of emerging photographer (or something like that). In your opinion, if you have to give a tip to be different.. what are you going to think about?
My tip is not to be different at any cost, but to be honest and genuine with your own work. And to try to find in it your own strength.

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