Giacomo Vesprini's Beautifully Surreal Street Photography


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Giacomo Vesprini's Beautifully Surreal Street Photography

The Italian photographer shares the method, aesthetic and inspiration behind his collection of surreal street photography.
April 8, 2016, 7:05pm

I don't like to define my style; I just go out and take pictures. I don't often know what I'm going to photograph because I work aesthetically and instinctively.

People are often suspicious or wary of me if they spot me standing in the corner taking their picture. I don't want to interfere with the scene, so it's important to be inconspicuous. Sometimes I sit down, talk to a few people around me and gradually warm myself into the scene as a way to validate my presence. Once they've unconsciously recognized I'm not a threat, I shoot.


What I'm really looking for is to get people questioning what they're seeing. I'm not interested in definitively telling people what to see, or choreographing a set of photographs into a concept; I'm looking for possibilities and for implicit stories. Psychology has a huge impact on how people perceive a photograph. People's brains trigger different things, so when looking at the same image, some may come away feeling claustrophobic. It might remind someone of something, like of their father or of a film they watched last week. Some might see a story about love in an image, while others may interpret it as domestic abuse. Some may find pleasure in the aesthetic coherence, and some might feel indifferent. It's open to interpretation.

There's definitely a surrealist feeling to my pictures, which is mostly achieved aesthetically, yet combining surrealism with street photography sort of opens up a portal to a dreamlike landscape, where multiple narratives are possible and your psyche can take you anywhere. It's like making fiction out of reality.

Lighting is so powerful. From where I'm standing and from where the light naturally falls, the light can highlight certain elements in the scene and disregard others. This definitely encourages the surrealist aesthetic, and it works hand in hand with obscure angles, layering, reflections, and colors. What's most interesting to me is that, although I try not to meddle in the scene to preserve authenticity, by definition it can't be real, because it's only my way of seeing; it's real for me.


As told to Francesca Cronan.

See more of Giacomo's work below and on his website, and check out Eyegobananas, the street photography collective he's part of.