Nowhere Newsletter 16: Leonardo Taddei

Interview with photographer Leonardo Taddei

What is your backstory?

Hi, I’m Leonardo Taddei, I was born in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, where I immediately formed a strong bond with the nature. This bond is also clearly visible in my works, in which the element of nature is often present. My photography reflects and analizes my inner worlds, in an attempt to create a relationship with the outside world.

After several years shooting as a self-taught photographer I decided to graduate in Photography at Libera Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. Photography has always been my passion but is also my job now. I Recently opened an online store where I sell my pictures. You can find it on my website www.leonardotaddei.com/shop

What camera/editing setup do you use?

I began taking pictures with a phone and I still do it. I also use a Digital Sony Camera, a 35mm Pentax and a Zenit. Some of the pictures I chose are shot with a Zenza Bronica medium format camera. I use a lot of different cameras, it’s really fun to try and experiment with different tools. It’s fun ‘cause if you look at the pictures you can’t really understand what kind of camera I used. The pictures are edited with a smartphone’s app or sometimes with a pc editing program. A picture for me is poetry, the rest doesn’t matter. With it I say things I can’t say with words.

How do you achieve the look of your photographs and could you take us through the process?

It’s a process that I unconsciously started to refine since the first time I took a picture. (It was ten years ago when I shot a pic with the aesthetics of Luigi Ghirri in my head) It took years to define it, and it’s really personal. Now I’m in a “black and white moment” and it’s really interesting to look back and try to understand why I got here. It slowly started last year but if I look at my very first pictures, I can trace it back to them. As I said, last year I was in a very difficult moment with photography, I was so frustrated and unhappy that I wanted to quit. So I decided to do a kind of “rehabilitation” and I started shooting with a 5 euros camera and the cheapest BnW film. I found it exciting and I started to be reborn. From that moment on, I have never stopped thinking of pictures in black and white. At the moment, I’m also studying the colors as shapes, and I want to gradually reintroduce them in my photographs.

Could you tell us the backstory of some of your photographs?

The picture of the girl with a lot of hair is part of a recent project I started about portraying people. When I say “project” I mean a “personal challenge”. I started photographing people to learn how to approach them, how to talk and put them at ease. I think people are fundamental for me and my photography because every picture, with or without a human subject, raises human relations.

The picture of the kid on the swing is made in Sicily. It’s part of a bigger ongoing project about sustainable lifestyles. It will be a poetic manual for wild life.

The hand with rubber band is part of the work “this bird had flown”, a self-produced fanzine about feeling lost in a labyrinth of thoughts. It’s born in the dark period I told you before.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?

My personal advice is to have fun and make a lot of mistakes. Get your hands dirty and have no fear to fail. Try different cameras, different approaches in order to find the most comfortable shoe for you. I also like to make personal challenges to improve myself and to move on uncomfortable terrains. Give yourselve time, be patient. You can’t get everything in one day. And do not accept too much advice, especially mine, cause everyone has to go their own way.