Photography highlights what is happening around us quickly… allowing us to see what we sometimes eludes us.
Q1: State your name and occupation, please. Where do you live?
A: My name is Mario Mancuso and I live in Italy to Naples, I am salesman and photographer by passion.
Q2: Welcome to The One Photo Interview, by the way. It is the TOP Interview. Do you know what that means? It means that you will only have the opportunity to show one single photograph and you will refer to that for the rest of this interview, right? Would that be ok with you?
A: Thank you so much!
Q3: Any particular reason for taking that picture, Mario?
A: Here, it was pure instinct, I was walking under the rain in the center of my city looking for some attractive situation, I saw this person walking undaunted and not worried at all by the rain, the sign of the bike path, and a police car with its headlights illuminated him. It was a moment. I took a series of shots and thought this one was the best.
Q4: Is this your style of street photography then? Do you think you have a style? If so, what is it?
A: I can’t say if I have a style, I try to represent what most strikes me and excites me.
Q5. Tell me what is street photography? Have you got a definition? Let’s hear it!
A: I think street photography is a tool to highlight what is happening around us quickly, giving the time to review the reality at a different pace, allowing us to see what we sometimes eludes us.
Q6: Give me some basics. How long have you had an interest in street photography? Do you have any mentors that you have learned from?
A: I started to photograph several years ago taking pictures of everything, including people, but five years ago I dedicated myself exclusively to street photography. I have always enjoyed the great masters of photojournalism and the greats of street, the list is very long.
Q7: Let’s talk about equipment. Some have an almost religious addiction to it. Long lenses, short lenses, rangefinders, non rangefinders, compacts. Leicas, Canons, Nikons, analog or digital. What is your opinion of this? What is your preferred gear? Don’t be boring when you answer this, please.
A: In the past I have been the victim of “GAS”, but now I prefer to carry around as less as possible. I use a Fuji and Olympus OMD-X100S EM5 almost exclusively with a 17mm.
Q8: Are there any particular reason why you call yourself a street photographer? Many people picture landscapes, seascapes, birds caved in. Do you take such pictures as well? What I mean to ask is, do you in fact do much parrot shooting in the zoo? Or similar non-street themes?
A: At the moment I’m only interested in street photography. I have some projects related to this genre which I hope to accomplish. The only other photos I’m interested in are those of my children.
Q9: Do you know what is the difference between photography and plain picture taking? If so, tell me what it is.
A: I think a photograph can evoke emotions and makes us think, others are only shots.
Q10: Why do you think that all the best street photos are shot in black & white? How do you explain that?
A: I do not think black and white street photos are the best. I personally think that helped me to focus on the message that the picture expresses avoiding the distractions that color can bring.
That said I’m not a fundamentalist of this thought and haven’t said that sooner or later I wouldn’t experiment with color.
Q11: Do you think that street photography is a serious type of photography? Can anything good come of it? How do you see this?
A: I think it is a representation of the reality that everyone can see. We photograph the stop just some moments that hit highlighting. Reality is neither good nor bad, it’s just what happens, ruthlessly true.
Q12: Is there any value in street photography you think, besides your own enjoyment?
A: When I’m on the streets I like photographing people, meeting new people, talking to them and trying to understand their stories. This makes me feel good.
Q13: Your vision? What is your vision for European street photography? What is the vision for your own photography? I am not going to ask how you see the future, but tell me anyway.
A: I think the main difference lies in different cultures. Culture determines the way we interpret everyday life. As we photograph everyday life, differences emerge depending on where the photographs are taken, not only between Europe and the rest the world, but also between the various European countries.
Regarding the future, in photography, I don’t ask myself any questions. I hope to continue having fun photographing on the streets, especially in my city, and help raising awareness on the stories happening.
Q14: One last question: What is the most important thing with a photograph? With any photograph?
A: Arouse emotion!
Q15: Is it true then that street photography was invented in Europe?
A: I do not know if street photography was invented in Europe or elsewhere. I don’t care. The important thing for me is that it exists and is a recognized kind of photography.
Thank you very much, Mario. Much obliged. Will you see yourself out?
© KNUT SKJÆRVEN 2014. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This interview was first published October 24, 2014