Eolo, tell us about you:
My name Eolo Perfido, I am 42 years old and a photographer since I was 28. During these 14 years I have opened a professional photography studio and worked on many advertising campaigns and photographic services for the publishing industry.
About 10 years ago I started taking Street Photography and now as many of my street photography colleagues, I never go out without my camera.
In 2013 I became a Street Photography teacher for the Leica Akademie in Italy.
How did you learn? Did you attend any photography course?
I am self taught with all the advantages and limitations that such training can bring. After the jump into professional I had the good fortune to be represented by a photo agency, Sudest57, which in Italy represents photographers such as Steve McCurry, Elliott Erwitt, James Nachtwey and Eugene Richards. I had the opportunity to meet and work as an assistant to these masters. In particular, I have been following Steve McCurry in many of his assignments for more than five years. This allowed me to be able to see up close how they work and learn as many techniques and working methods as possible. It's been such an important training for me.
Do you believe Street Photography can be taught?
I think so. In particular, I think it is possible to aim the beginner photographers in the right direction.
Street Photography is a photographic discipline that tells us much of the photographer and practice. You can not teach a lifestyle or how to approach others, but you can certainly make suggestions and share methods. It remains fundamental to the daily practice and dedication to it.
I teach Street Photography to young photographers but also to professionals who are specialized in other areas of photography (such as studio photography or corporate).
Street Photography is, of all the photographic disciplines, one of the most comprehensive and useful to develop the ability to take pictures in any situation. Regardless of the photographic genre practiced, whether it's for passion or as a profession, I always recommend to my students and colleagues to deal with street photography as a tool for growth.
Their photographic technique gets stronger and stronger as we apply it to Street Photography. They learn about the ambient light in all its forms as well as shooting in mixed light environment/artificial. They also develop the ability to see and interpret situations in a less superficial way.
Street Photography forces the photographer to walk, learn how to recognize situations and details that can make a great shot. To reach out to people and know them often forcing us to develop interpersonal skills, a very important characteristic for a photographer.
How's Street Photography in Italy?
I have done it in different countries, and each culture has a different answer for the Street Photographer. Some countries are more difficult than others. Your own one then, may seem the most difficult of all. When I teach street photography, the first thing I tell my students is that, you don't need to get to New York to do great Street Photography. Even the smallest cities offer opportunities that you simply don' t see at first.
In Italy it's not harder than in any other European countries. There are differences between the northern cities where people are more secretive and those in the south where you will also feel the Latin heat in the response of the people being photographed.
Rome being exactly halfway is a city where you never know what to expect. When I go out I always say " if you don't get yelled by at least a couple of people, it means you haven't gotten close enough ;) ."
My attitude is definitely related to my mood. There are days when I feel good and I get closer to the subjects, while other days I feel insecure, I keep a certain distance and try to work more on the geometry and light.
What equipment do you use? What do you usually bring with you?
As you can imagine I like to stay light. A camera, two lenses and a notepad.
At the moment I shoot my Street Photography with the Leica M Type 240 and two lenses. The Elmarit -M 1:2.8 / 28mm ASPH and the LEICA SUMMICRON -M 35mm f / 2 ASPH . I worked for many years with the 35mm but a few months ago I fell in love 28mm . Forces me to get closer to people and I like that a lot.
I don't love the neck strap and I have recently started using a shoulder strap from Black Rapid.
How often do you shoot Street Photography?
The first few years I shot very rarely. A session every two or three weeks. Now I go out with the camera around my neck almost every day and do the longer sessions two or three times per week.
Color or Black & White? In your gallery there's a lot of black and white, do you have a preference?
I love black and white, but I'm increasingly getting attracted by color shots that I find certainly more difficult to achieve. When a picture has the feel of a timeless image, the black and white is definitely the best choice while when I choose the color, it is because I feel that this image lends itself to a more contemporary look.
Which photographers inspire you?
Many. The list is really long. There is a community of Italian and International Street Photographers really active at the moment and the Internet allows us to discover the work of photographers maybe less known but definitely not less valid. My style is very clean, so I'm attracted to those photographers with a more dirty and scratchy style. I admire their talent and I promise to always try to have a similar approach to theirs but failing miserably :)
What motivates you to go out and do Street Photography?
The reasons have changed over time. The first few times I told myself that I was well away from work in Studio Photography and that allowed me to go out and reset my mind to get off some stress. Today I can not help it. Without a camera around my neck I feel a sense of discomfort. I really don't know if that is good or bad. I believe I will need to think about this. But first, I'll go out and take some pictures.
Thanks for this very insightful interview Eolo!