Corner Member Close Up: Carlo Galliani
We have an amazing Corner Member Close Up photographer interview for you today. There are 2 dozen photographs below, and each one of them is absolutely, hang-it-on-your-wall, breath-takingly STUNNING. If you're a member of the Corner, you're already well familiar with the photographs of Carlo Galliani (if you're not, sign up for a FREE account here) - his photographs are consistently nominated for Photograph of the Month honors. Admittedly, his English isn't great (he's Italian - between a friend of his and I, we managed to make this interview work), but the photographs more than speak for themselves. Even if you don't read the interview, scroll all the way down to browse the photographs... you can thank me later.
Tell us a little about yourself.
What does your username mean?
It's just my first and last name.
How old were you when you took your first picture with a camera; any camera? Was it any good?
Sincerely I cannot remember when I took my first picture, but I think I used an old Polaroid when I was child and for sure the pictures were not so good.
What was it about photography that made you want to become a photographer? Why do you take photographs?
I am mainly a naturalist photographer even though I like to take pictures during the night of Italian towns. I always loved the all the aspects of the natural world. My passion for nature has helped me to study in detail the plant and animal world. For a little while, it was very important for me to also take pictures of flowers and animals in order to classify them more easily. Following that, I learned to use the camera and took nicer pictures with each passing day. In more recent years, I've studied the style of famous photographers, so I've tried to introduce an artistic vision in my photos even if the naturalistic aspect remains prevalent.
How long has photography been a passion for you? When, where and how did it start?
My passion to be a photographer began when I was 18 years old. I went very often on trips to Parco del Ticino - a Park near the river Ticino and the natural world I had around captured my curiosity. I started taking panoramic pictures, but after few months, it became important for me to purchase a macro lens. I bought a 70-210 Vivitar - it was macro 1:2 - and since that time I still continue to use macro. Even if after I dedicated lot of my time to take pictures of animals.
What is your background/training in photography?
My personal formation is mainly based on studying the photograph guidebooks and in particular macro-photography. Some friends helped me with personal workshops. In more recent years I learned a lot using the internet and attending photography forums and also reading comments and recommendations on my pictures. Moreover I studied pictures of famous photographers by searching on their websites and this has been the origin of big inspiration.
What was your very first camera?
My first camera was Nikon FE with a 50mm Nikon lens.
What equipment is in your camera bag now? What pieces of equipment will be added to the collection next?
You are asked to choose one lens from the following group: 14mm wide angle, 50mm prime, 200mm telephoto, 105mm macro. You could only use one of these for the rest of your photographic life. Which would you choose and why?
Between all these options I would choose the 105 macro because macro is my big passion and another reason is that with 200mm telephoto is very difficult and impossible to take good pictures of animals if we do that in a natural context with free and wild animals.
Do you like your photos most of the time or dislike them most of the time? Why do you think that is?
When I look at my pictures the same day I have taken them I dislike them. I appreciated my pictures only after some days or months. I think it depends on the fact that I would like to take a picture more perfect in each aspects of light, exposure definition, etc., but every time something is not perfect.
Have you ever taken the EXIF/exposure info from any of the critiques and tried it yourself?
Generally I take EXIF info studying from other pictures in order to understand the reason of some set up. Certainly after reviewing the EXIF data from other photographs, I use it to take my own pictures.
What are your favorite places/subjects to photograph? Why?
My two favorites places to take pictures are:
- The National Parc Gran Paradiso where I can find a fantastic and beautiful atmosphere still uncontaminated where I can take pictures of big animals like chamois and eagles. My favorite one is the fox.
- The Regional Parc of Ticino where I spend a lot more of my time dedicated to macro-photography. In this park is possible to take pictures of big animals and also macro-photography. This ambient is adapt to insects. My favorites subjects are dragonflies and butterflies.
You are given a dream assignment to photograph one location in the world. Where/what would it be? When would you shoot it? Why that place and that time?
Certainly I think I will go in Central Africa in country like Kenya or Tanzania. My dream is go to on a savannah and take pictures of big carnivores or elephants. I would also like to capture a panorama of this region. I would like to stay there for a long period (for example 3 months) so I can explore better this particular savage world.
You are given a dream assignment to choose one person in the world that you can photograph. Who would you choose? Where would you photograph him/her? Why that person and setting?
As I already have written this is not my kind of photos - even if I follow interesting pictures that my photographers friends take of various models. If I have to choose (but is only a fantasy), I will pick Angelina Jolie - but I have no idea where because I don't know how to create the set.
Who are your biggest photographic influences? Why? What about their work influences your work?
Generally I do not have big photographic influences, but I have inspiration from lot of naturalist photographers, studying their compositions and details of their pictures. Between lot of names I always loved pictures of Ronnie Gaubert.
What are your goals for your photography?
I am photographer only for hobby. And also because I think this is one of the best way to spend my free time relaxing and feel well. Moreover my passion in studying nature allows me to link together scientific and photograph interests. Certainly I cannot tell you that I would not like to win some international championship of photography.
What photo did you take that you are the most proud of up to this point in your photographic journey?
The photo I am most proud it's the one I use as home page in my web site. It's not perfect but it is an unforgettable moment and very difficult picture to take on the fly (pictured below).
What was your most embarrassing moment while taking pictures?
The most embarrassing moment in realty was a very comic one. One day I was in Ticino Parc taking some macro photos. Obviously to take good macro I had to lie down in order to have same position as the insects. The grass was very high and I was so concentrated in searching some particular insects that for a moment I had not noted the lady catch sun in the field instead of the river of beach. Suddenly I heard someone shout against me telling me in not good Italian language "you are a bad man because I take photos of her in secret!" At the beginning I couldn't understand well because the lady was Russian and she spoke very bad Italian. But after I understood that she thought I took secret photos to her. So to calm her, after lot of time of explanation, I had to show her the photos I took of the butterflies and dragonflies. Moreover she was old and not pretty and I can't understand how she could think I would even want to take her pictures in secret.
What was the most dangerous thing (or worst thing) you ever did to get 'The Shot'?
Certainly when I take picture of snakes. One time I was taking a picture very near a viper. I had been scared so much because I had been focusing on it very well with macro and the viper moved quickly against me. The viper enlarged by macro appear to bump into me and I ran back even if the viper was far from me at least 10 centimeters.
What do you do with your photographs?
My photos now appear on almost 30 naturalist Italian book and in lot of website of Italian Parks. I also sent my photos for calendars and art show but not for profit. I also used my photos for a couple of books and various articles that I have written with some friends referring to birds and Mantidi we can find in some areas where I leave.
What initially drew you into Corner?
As for all the forum in the English language where I have registration the thing drew me was the comparison with photographs of other country's and the possibility to search and look at macro sections and wildlife animals of other continents.
What keeps your hanging around the Corner?
My feedback around the Corner is very good because there is an excellent focus on photograph technique and the comments are always constructive. Unfortunately at this time my English is not so good to perform constructive comments (and now to answer your questions I request assistance of a friend).
What section of the Corner is your most frequented or favorite?
What advice would you give other members of PhotographyCorner?
I apologize but I cannot give any particular comments because my realty is completely different from the one in USA. The only thing that I can say is that it's important to focus on your passions and if it is for photography, take lot of photos in order to try new ways to take pictures and also look at photos of other photographers in the forum for inspiration.
What thing about yourself as an artist do you want to be remembered for?
I would like to pass my enthusiasm for little microcosms we have around so everybody may discover the extraordinary biodiversity that we can meet in any field in the world - also near the big towns like New York or Milan in my case.
If you knew it were your last day with your equipment, whether it be by choice or not, what would you photograph and why?
I hope this happens as late as possible, but remaining in the joke I'm sure: a flight of dragonfly.