The People Avenue presents two exceptional photographers, Mario Mencacci and Mirko Arganese. They're both Italian and passionate about Photography. Through his photos Mario reveals his sensitivity along with his love for shapes and structures. Mirko has a different approach. He focuses on the surreal and his photos take us to an imaginary world of dreams and fantasy.
I’m from Italy, I live in Tuscany, I am an architect but photography is my passion. I live in Pontedera, a little Tuscan town located near many other wonderful cities, like Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Siena...I started taking photos in the 1980s, I used to love driving through the countryside taking photos of the landscapes. But then, because of my job, and because the renovations to my apartment left me without a darkroom, I stopped. After 20 years, in 2008, during a trip to Paris, this passion struck me again: In particular I enjoyed capturing the scenes I run into while on the streets, the people, the happenings, the situations… I didn’t have a photographic culture, but I kept on taking this kind of photos because I enjoyed it, weather traveling abroad or nearby, because you can take street photos everywhere, it doesn’t matter how big or little a place is. Someone saw my photos and told me that what I was doing was called street photography. Ok, I said, I don’t know what it is, but I like it! Eventually curiosity led me to read up and discover the masters of street photography, classic and contemporary ones.
Even if, like I said, I arrived to street photography through a personal journey, I believe that every street photographer is somehow influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson, and by other big masters like Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau, by Fred Stein’s neat compositions and by Robert Frank and William Klein’s innovative rule-breaking. Lately I’m in love with the works of Matt Stuart and Siegfried Hansen, and I am fascinated by Trent Parke’s ones. I believe that it is impossible not to be affected by these artists. I must say that also photography groups on websites like deviantArt and Flickr, allowing photographers from all over the world to express themselves, or dedicated websites like 121 Clicks, are to me an ongoing source of inspiration. There are talented and skilled people even amongst simple photo amateurs, and as a whole they point the way street photography is going today.
As for equipment, I own a Nikon D300 DSLR camera with just one lens, a 18-200 zoom, and 2 point-and-shoot cameras: a Canon G12 and a Lumix TZ10. I do like the tilting LCD on the G12, in many situations it allows me to shoot unnoticed. It recalls me of Paul Strand’s cameras, with the modified right-angle mirror lens attachment. I always carry the G12 with me.
I like spotting things that not everybody is able to see, I try and train my eye to look for the hidden, less obvious things. I like the happy coincidence of elements that last just for a moment and that most often go unnoticed. ‘The ability to see’ is something I appreciate also when I am looking at somebody else’s photos, it moves me. Emotions can be stirred by poetry as much as by irony or by the singularity of a moment. Personally I prefer poetic scenes rather than the curious ones, but maybe I like them better because they are closer to my sensitivity: if I look at René Maltête’s photos, I am left enraptured!
It might seem strange but I enjoy taking photos by night. The night lights give everything a different, unusual look. Even if it doesn’t happen to me very often, I find particularly entertaining photographing by night. I like the cities, maybe it is because of professional bias. I like capturing people surrounded by structures, the contrast between the human life and the static nature of constructions. Geometries, streets, urban choreographies, the way they become a stage for the human show. For these reasons I wish I could visit New York, or other american cities. I’d love going back to Paris, and see how different my current vision is, compared to the one I had in 2008, when I first started taking photos.
I am 40 years old, born in Puglia south of Italy but at the moment I live in Milan with my wife Elena and Simone and Alessandro who are our children.
My passion started relatively late, I bought my first digital SLR, an olympus e410, 10 years ago and after a short trial, I soon realized that I liked to photograph scenes that included the human element. But maybe something in me still was not ready, I left to take about 3 years ago.
Capturing the decisive moment started to interest me very much, and how this led me to a careful observation of what is happening in the space around us! As in a frame you could tell a story.
Without a doubt, some top photographers are Daido Moriyama, William Klein especially for the message that he gave to photography. Also, I admire the beautiful works of Michael Ackerman.
My equipment is a simple Olympus xz2. I absolutely love shooting surreal scenes, over the last year I have been very fond of studying long exposures with the use of flash, during this project I became very enthusiastic, but now I want to devote myself to every single shot and give each photo its uniqueness.
Certainly when I'm relaxed is the best moment that I dedicate to photography, very often I reserve days I can devote entirely to photography: I go out in the morning and return home in the late evening, I walk a lot and I note, of the time I get home with excellent results, others with nothing. This depends on my being very selective with the shots.
Besides, these days I 'm always around with my Olympus in my pocket, if I see something that interests me, I do not hesitate to take it out and shoot. I never go out without it.
I have no favorite place for shooting photos, in my sessions I alternate routes and crowded places with semi deserted places.