Love at the First Touch – Preserve memories, preserve moments
My name is Fabrizio, I am Italian and recently entered my forties! Born in Rome, I have spent the last ten years living and breathing in the beautiful Tuscany landscape. I have been an Italian Air Force pilot for the past twenty years and recently embraced a new life experience with my wife.
The pandemic was a tough period for everyone; the ups and downs caused by this uncertain situation almost changed everything we already knew and how we lived. So pushed by this, my wife and I decided to move to the United States for four years, working with the US Air Force as an exchange pilot.
Besides my military career, my biggest passion is photography. At a young age, I almost always had a camera close to me (my father always carried one), and the real spark started to burn more as an adult. I’ve always had a sort of attraction for the old printed images, or for my father’s film negatives, but even more so, for all the “memories” they carried with them!
At the time, I had an entry-level Nikon given to me by my brother. Only after a couple of years did I understand why that spark had difficulty catching fire. The cameras I had before Fujifilm, always had the feeling of some kind of computer in my hands, as if there was some sort of physical barrier between my eye and the world I wanted to capture.
So I started studying and reading, and the more I did the more I was hungry to know. I began to realize that this “medium” was slowly capturing me even more than other passions of my past. One of many books I was reading at the time, the one on EVF (electronic viewfinder) and mirrorless cameras, captured my attention.
Talking with my friend Alessio, he advised me to try the Fujifilm X-series. I decided to buy a brilliant Fujifilm X-T1 graphite edition with the XF23mm F2. That was the spark, love at the first touch! I can’t reasonably explain exactly what happened; I am sure some of you experienced the same feeling.
By then, everything had started to take shape. I had everything needed in a camera to bring with me every time, everywhere. The first tests and shoots were landscapes around my house in Tuscany, but, as soon I started browsing with this small camera, I realized that now I could capture the same memories, the same “life scenes” that I saw as a child while my father projected the old film slides onto the wall. Simply put: “Memories from Street Life”.
We photograph our family and our children, not because we need the yearly Christmas card or the quick post on Facebook, but because we understand that life is all but a fleeting moment and that the documentation of our loved ones will be cherished for generations to come, all because we had our camera.
I first started with books about how to use and set the camera, then about light and composition. But my field was the street so I soon started researching important names to learn from. Some of them are: Joel Meyerowitz, Sebastião Salgado, Saul Leiter, Fred Herzog, Robert Frank and of course Henri Cartier-Bresson. But, honestly, I am always in search of the unknown photographer who inspires me through their captures. One of them is Jonathan (a.k.a. @myvisualmind), follow him for amazing work. I was able to spend almost a whole day shooting with him last time in New York. I truthfully think these are the best experiences this medium can give us for free, as well as bumping into someone on the street asking him to capture a portrait and gifting a print.
This is what truly kidnapped me about photography: moments, people, emotions, gestures, light, anything that you can find out in the street.
I find myself walking around constantly framing scenes in my head and looking for the perfect dance of light, even if I don’t have a camera on me. It’s an obsession. It helps me see the beauty in life that others may just gloss over. Photography slows me down and gives me a space like nothing else.
Coming back to the present day, we have been in the US for ten months. I can frankly say that this new beginning wasn’t easy at all. In terms of photography has been a big change. We don’t live in New York, not even in a glamorous city like Miami, Chicago or San Francisco. We are in Arkansas. It’s a nice place, but a difficult place if you are a passionate and hungry street photographer!
This meant having to change my way of doing photography a bit. My favorite playground for street photography is medium to large cities, where life flows freely; but obviously, a lot depends on where you live, doesn’t it? Tuscany is a wonderful place; you can easily find cities like Florence, seascapes, and small ancient towns such as Lucca (by far my favorite) or Siena; everything is very close.
You can understand that I have to change something if I still want to shoot every day here in the US, not only during our trips. A positive side is that, being a small community, and we as foreigners, it’s easy to make friends and get to know different people. I was able to shoot with one of them recently, really appreciating the different point of view; I learned more about how to interact with strangers and get rid of the fear that almost all of us have along our street photography’s journey.
With my wife, we still want to travel as much as possible, so I’m always looking to discover amazing places and street photography gems. Till now, my favorite city is New York… sure, it seems obvious! But it is so alive and vibrant!
As a street photographer you could shoot almost anything but what you really need is the human trace; cities like New York are full of them. People are everywhere, day and night, all different. This city is always breathing, it seems like something is going to happen every time! It’s the city of a thousand faces.
I would love to spend some time talking about gear. The reason is that I love my gear and we all (Fuji X Passion friends) should love Fujifilm cameras and lenses. The choice today is so wide; whether you want the latest fancy camera or you need something cheaper, you can definitely find the best gear to fit your needs. I would honestly like to buy back my X-T1 graphite, it was such a beauty. Still today I am amazed by how some of my favorites as @Damien Lovegrove (one of the best portraits photographer) manages to bring out amazing images off an “old” X-T1.
By the way, a few months after moving to the US, I felt the need to change something in the way I photographed, I was looking to challenge myself once again trying to find that kick in the pants to go shooting. I decided to focus my attention on one of the most controversial Fujifilm cameras ever made: the X-Pro3. Like anything new and different, it took a certain learning curve, but now I can’t stop loving my X-Pro3 more every day. It’s such a beauty; it’s the most amazing camera I have ever seen in this price range. I am not saying everyone has to buy the X-Pro3. Just trying to say that it doesn’t matter if you have the X-T1 or the new latest fancy one; the only thing that matters is that your camera pushes you to shoot more, to go out more experimenting with new techniques, dragging you into the street, facing what you thought not possible yesterday… as my Fujifilm gear does.
I originally wanted to make images to impress others, but slowly that changed and I began making images for myself. Owning this and setting my sights on the things that I love, was yet another turning point for me and my photography passion.
“My name is Fabrizio, 41 years old Italian street and travel photographer. As a military pilot, I embraced the photography world shooting exclusively with Fujifilm, empowering every day my passion. I love to capture unique moments forged by light and shadows, always willing to preserve memories, preserve moments.
This is the gear I own now: X-Pro3 and GFX 50R. On the street, I like to reduce the variables to a minimum, so as lenses, I use only primes: the 33mm f/1.4, and the 50mm f/2. I like to play with adapted or vintage lenses too. I really like the look of the tiny Voigtländer Color Skopar 21mm f/4. And I will never sell the first gen 35mm f/1.4.”