It’s Monday, that means it’s time for another Artist Spotlight. If you are new to the blog, this is a feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with there instant film work. We try to provide our readers with a new spotlight each week, so if you would like to be featured or know of someone you would like to see on the blog, drop us a line. We love putting people in the spotlight!
This week our spotlight is on Italian photographer Ale Di Gangi. Ale contacted us after one of our calls for Artist Spotlights on Instagram and Twitter. We loved the work on his site. As a matter of fact, it was a visual overload of beautiful images with mixed media. He truly is an amazing artist! Please do yourself a favor and check out all his social media links. Trust us, you will be inspired.
A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.
I was born in 1966 in Florence (Italy) and I owe my photographic eye primarily to my father, a photographer who also had a passion for 8mm films. I started (consciously) doing visual art in 1986 with a group of friends, then focused on music (making it and writing about it), to eventually embrace photography in my 30s.
Presently, my interests focus on instant, mobile photography and Lomography
How did you get into instant photography?
I should say it’s all my father’s fault; in an era of analogue, he educated me to photography and video filming since I was a small child. He took his photography very seriously and was a lover of Leica, which led him to a resolute refusal to concede anything to instant photography. He denied me Polaroid cameras but my fascination remained. I finally gave up to it when I was a grown adult – just in time to see the Polaroid demise shortly after that…
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
My SX-70, and my SLR680, too. The camera I most love is an Instant-P, though. That’s the camera I started with, the one I found out I could do and made me fall in love with instant photography.
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
Oh my… the 20×24, the 8×10. And the Big Shot that Warhol was so fond of, too.
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
The FadeToBlack! It was a dramatic film, in both results and concept – a film that doesn’t stop developing until the image destroys itself holds a conceptual side that I find fitting for what happened to instant photography, its death, then its comeback.
Also, the SX-70 Gen 2 testfilm is just stunning and I can’t wait to see its final release.
Other than that, I find myself struggling within for the Hard Colored edition of SX-70 BW by Impossible. I love the hard juxtaposition of the splendid black and white film framed in strong colour.
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
Well… for me, instant is a regular workflow per sé. Same goes for mobile photography and regular analog film as well. Since the day I started shooting regularly, I always carry with me at least one camera, be it a Lomo or a Holga or a Polaroid – and lately it is almost always the SX-70 because it’s the easiest one to fit even in my small Freitag. Of course, I also have my iPhone always handy. Thanks to the Instant Lab I am now experimenting going back and forth from digital to analog and back again, but even though I use different mediums and tools, I feel my vision stays the same and follows one stream.
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
As I was trying to explain, I see my vision as one, and it spans over all “kinds” of photography I do. I just put it to work differently according to the tool I am using.
Instant photography forces me to be way more thoughtful than in other fields. Apart from the stellar cost of films, there is something that makes instant shots “more special” and so I hate wasting them. I have this feeling that each instant shot is precious – and as such should not go wasted.
I am of course well aware that this is completely impossible and I do waste huge piles of them! In about 12 years I have only been able to shoot 1 (one!) complete roll of 8 with no waste…
Any personal projects we should know about?
I have just returned from a short vacation in Sicily and you will soon see the results of this trip. The roll of 8 I was talking about above will become a small gallery/project (I shot it shot during this last vacation).
Then… you should know about my exhibitions of instant photography: I have done two until now – The *possible* exhibition and 12 Portraits – but am already working on a new one of image lifts.
Another exhibition is still at the idea stage and I am trying to figure it completely – this one is dealing with those wasted shots…
You can find all about my projects, books and works on my website at http://aledigangi.com, so you are welcome to visit at your convenience 😀
What other photographers do you look up too?
I tend to be a rather curious person, always exploring and looking for new things to discover and fall for. I love and admire a number of photographers, but the list shifts and changes fast and I am usually not able to name any names.
I am perpetually fascinated by artists such as Madame Yevonde and possibly my latest favourite one is Vivian Maier.
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
Be patient. You will need a strong will to learn and struggle to eventually focus your own vision – but this might repay you aplenty. Be ready to throw away every bit of perfectionism (or to find a different kind of it!), to stop thinking and follow your instinct.
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
I obey my instinct, and am usually very lucky with inspiration: it comes to me and I follow it. To me, photography is “seeing it”.
Because of this, I don’t usually get anywhere when deliberately looking for inspiration. I just see a photo when I stand in front of it, and that’s when I’ll shoot. Even in social contexts or while driving on the road, I am known for requiring others to stop and let me take a picture!
I have my highs and lows and it can be totally frustrating when crossing the lows, but in the end I have come to acknowledge that this is how it works for me.