Born into a family of esteemed photographers, David Bastianoni follows the creative path of his grandfather, father and uncle in capturing the realism of personal stories and feelings through imagery.
“Impartial and privileged observer” are the words David loves using to describe himself, as he is on a constant quest for “beauty” in all its expressions. We asked David, fresh off his Grand prize win in the album category of WPPI’s The Annual 2016, to talk about his style and approach in his craft.
WPPI: What made you first decide you were going to be a photographer?
David Bastianoni: I was born into a family of photographers, this led me to do this work almost automatically, but when I was 25 years old I decided to quit, blaming the Italian market and other external factors, but the truth was that I was not a photographer. I gave myself one last season in which I left out important aspects of my life to devote myself solely to photography and this pain just triggered something in me. I changed the way I was seeing the reality of things, and step by step I was becoming a photographer.
WPPI: What do you primarily photograph?
DB: I shoot mainly weddings around Europe; it fascinates me to enter the life of my clients for a day and be able to leave a piece of their history over time. I love photographing different cultures with rituals and customs distant from my own, trying to remain consistent with my aesthetic.
WPPI: What is your favorite lens to shoot with?
DB: I work in a very simple and clean way, using just two lenses—a 24mm and an 85mm. I use only these two because it allows me to have a freedom of reasoning: close enough to the scene to steal a thrill but detached enough to tell the story objectively. Knowing my lenses, I can concentrate more on what happens and react instinctively to the situation that I have in front of me.
WPPI: Do you still shoot with film?
DB: Not as often as I would like. sometimes I like to have spare time to shoot with film because I love developing in the darkroom. I can relax and think better, without considering the sense of nostalgic memory that stirs up in me.
WPPI: Who are your greatest influences in the art world?
DB: Studying over the years made me realize that the use of Caravaggio’s light is always very present in my photography, as is the geometry of Mondrian or the emotional side with which the Impressionists see reality.
It is as if art get inside me even before I was aware of it. Of course Newton, Toscani, Gastel and Benedusi also contributed to my photographic education. I have always tried to treasure the teachings of the great ones and then make my own conclusions.
WPPI: Do you do anything before a shoot to prepare yourself?
DB: I always need a certain amount of pressure to photograph at my best so I try to bring out in myself a sense of “tragedy,” that sense of loss and collapse, the same as actors do with the Stanislavski method, to stir up inner emotions useful at that time.