Italian Summer | by photographer Lorenzo Grifantini

I came across Lorenzo's work in Vice Magazine and find his work fascinating. If you're going to embrace colour and forget the dull English weather... this is how it's done!

1) Lorenzo, you are an Italian architect / photographer and a very successful one too. Tell us about you.

 I am Italian from Rome ,now an adopted Londoner, I am a 40 years old-ish architect and I’m  co-founder of DOSarchitects: an architectural practice based in London.  Photography it's a passion which has grown with time and that developed in something intimately important for me. Photography, compared with architecture,  allow me to vent a creative process in a short amount of time.


2) You've worked on architecture projects all over the world, I imagine it's benefited your photography greatly?

 For work reasons I travel quite often to African countries, Ivory coast, Ghana, Senegal,  countries with a fast growth and strong contrasts. Working there isa privilege which also allows me to understand these countries and the paradigm of Africa: a continent constantly on the move.


3) Your work is very refreshing. You may have noticed that we feature a lot of black and white and your colours are an exciting change. Do you think we have enough grey skies here in London that it drove you to create this Italian Summer series?

I go back to Italy every summer and every time  I do have a physical and cultural shock! The heat, the chaos, the human contact are almost alien in my winter London life and in Italy I see this every time with new wonder.  As a photographer I'm in a privileged position because being Italian I have an in-depth understanding of the places and people I portrait and this gives me the confidence to be comfortably settled inside the scenes. On the other hand I often feel like a foreigner in my own country, this allows me to see things with more amazement, almost in a naive way and with less cynicism.


4) You've been in the UK over 10 years. Do you miss Italy? How's it different shooting there compared to London in terms of people's reactions?

In London people are not too bothered if you take picture of them, they are generally in hurry and have always some business to do to be concerned about someone taking a picture of them. The only concern London people might have is  "is this guy going to make any money with this shot?"

In Italy the people are generally quite friendly so no trouble at all.  However  Italians are also very vain so the only concern they might have is about their physical aspect and if their hair ok.                                                                                                                                                                                


5) What's next for you? I hear you are working on a project documenting the area you live in here in London? 

I have lived for 10 years around the W10 London Postcode (Portobello and Golborne Road) which despite the gentrification and the increase of mass tourism still has a strong community identity and a pulsating heart. This series is an act of love for this neighbourhood and my intent is to freeze in time the life and soul of an area which is changing quickly. For this purpose I have opened a blog and have held an exhibition in a small gallery in Portobello Road (no longer existing unfortunately) involving the local communities alongside some of the people portrayed. Until such time as I will be living in London I will carry on documenting this area and furthermore it is also a perfect training set for my photography!                                                                                                      


6) What would be the one single piece of advice you wish someone gave you when you first picked up a camera?

If you want to grow as a self-taught photographer, as I am, I think you need to be curios, have many sources of inspiration,  follow trends of contemporary photography, subscribe to magazines, subscribe to social photography platforms etc. However if I have to give one single piece of advice it would be to take as many pictures as you can and through them learn who you are and which type of photographer you want to be. I’m still learning!


Thank you very much Lorenzo!

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All photos © Lorenzo Grifantini