simo valley [simovalley]
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
It started as a passion back in 2003 when my sister gave me a digital camera for my birthday. It was a super compact, crappy one, but I started taking pictures of everything and developed a sense for composition (that was all I could decide, with that object...)
after getting my Master's degree in translation in 2007 I decided to try and turn that passion into a job and applied to a photography school which I attended for two years, and where I worked as an assistant as well.
What has been your education as a photographer?
Many years ago I took some short basic photography courses for beginners. Then in 2007 I started a two-year professional course in Milano, and some other interesting short courses afterwards (such as lighting/photography for cinema).
Please list any exhibitions in which you have participated.
November 2009. ”I Am a Cinematographer” personal exhibition at Casa in Movimento in
Cologno Monzese (Italy)
May – June 2009. ”I Am a Cinematographer” personal exhibition at Cape Town Cafe in
April 15-29 2007. “Still Death” personal exhibition at Nazca in Roma (Italy)
December 2006. “Milano Maratona fotografica FNAC” Finalists’ collective exhibition at
FNAC in Milano (Italy)
May 30th, 2006. Martelive contest/collective exhibition in Roma (Italy)
Please list any awards for your work.
Finalist in Maratona Fotografica FNAC
Finalist in tourist photo contest "Touristime"
What is your favourite type of photography?
Social reportage and portrait (especially artist/musician ones)
What do you try to express through your photography?
I am a very truthful person, I really have a problems with lies: I always have to tell the truth! In my photography I tend to express all I think with no filter, no matter how unpleasant or politically uncorrect it might be.
I would like my images to tell something USEFUL, not to just be "good" and somehow pleasant to the eye. There are so many good-looking things nowadays, I believe art should try and help changing the wrong things happening in the world (or, at least, I would like my photography to do that).
How do you choose your subjects?
I spend a lot of time on the internet, therefore it's there I usually look for inspiration.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
Depends on what I shoot, but I read a lot and think a lot and I look for inspiration everywhere.
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
I usually have a purpose in mind but it changes as I shoot, as there's always millions of variables I cannot calculate before starting... but sometimes the final result is even more satisfying than the original idea.
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
All my equipment is Canon made... but this was just a chance as my first analog camera was a Canon and therefore its lenses, too. I don't care about this battle Canon VS Nikon at all!
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
Umm, I have a Canon 5D MarkII, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8 IS, Flash Speedlite 580 ExII; analog: Canon 50E, Holga, Diana+; computer: MacBook Pro; plus millions of CF cards, batteries and so on... and three external hard-disks by now, but they're never enough.
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom, most of the times.
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
I have found out it's quite impossible, there's always somebody stealing your photos. I hate watermarking my pictures, I do it very rarely. And I always ask my subjects (if they're human!) to credit the photos with my name and a link to my website.
Are you a good salesperson of your work? In what should you improve?
I have much, much to learn in terms of self-esteem. Therefore my answer is no.
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
In no particular order, and for various reasons: Avedon, Brassai, Beaton, Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Weston.
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
It does, somehow, because everybody having the cheapest and crappiest digital camera can now make his/her photos look great with just a little Photoshopping.
What is your team of habitual collaborators like?
I don't have a fixed team.
With which other photographers do you normally team up with or do sessions with?
While in photography school I used to work with some of my classmates and colleagues; I still do sometimes, though I prefer being independent I totally love working with my friend and colleague Stephanie Waldstein.
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
I'd say I'm more artistic, even if I pay much attention to the technical side of my work.
What have you learned about the art of framing and composition?
I don't like centered subjects.
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
I believe it's a matter of sensitivity. At one point, you kind of 'know' when you have to shoot. You FEEL it.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
It depends on what feeling you want to give your project, both in your way of working at it and in the final result's atmosphere.
Does photography have the recognition that it should have in contemporary art museums?
I think so, but definitely not in Italy.
Which websites for photographers do you frequently visit?
Is there any particular technique that you could share?
I'm very fond of photographing in low light conditions.