The Street is a Stage: Street Photography from Treviso, Italy by Umberto Verdoliva

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Umberto Verdoliva

To talk about street photography you first need to explain what it is.

I will start off by saying that there is more than one way to shoot street photography. It also depends on the the history and context in which you live.

European and international street photography has a history and a variety of different styles. However this doesn’t mean that one style or way to shoot is better than the other.

It upsets me to see the lack of consideration of Italian street photography in the international arena. Italian street photography has a different story which is based on neo-realism. You can also find that there is an urban setting full of history that is not found in other places. The interpretation of Italian street photography tends to be more about poetry than images shot in the US.

Italian street photography is much closer to a poetic vision to that of Robert Doisneau and Henri Cartier Bresson shot from the 1940-50. Not only that, but it gives a more comprehensive outlook on life. Today the trend seems to be to focus only disconcerting aspect of the surreal or time. They forget to see the poetic side of pure sentiment. I think there needs to be more.

Another trend I have noticed in street photography is to have little respect for the people on the streets. I see more and more videos on the internet where street photographers attack people who cannot do anything but look at you. However this does not mean that you managed to capture a moment important and unique. I think the best thing to do is wait for the right moment, to live the moment through the heart, eye and head, and I think this needs to be invisible.

Street photography is a genre widely understood, described and implemented in many ways. Therefore to re-think the standard definition is useless. We know what we’re talking about. What I want to highlight is instead, what I feel in practice. What drives me? what is the inner strength that I press to get out into the street and point the camera toward people, toward the urban environment?

I think the definition of street photography is very subjective, clearly affects one’s own experience, personality, and culture.

For myself, I am naturally attracted to the life around me which I have a desire to emphasize. I have a need to feel connected with the people I see, with the urban forms that surround me.

My street photography is based on continuous research that is based on various issues and that has to be judged as a whole. My eyes doubles triples and quadruples at times, my fields of interest, but they all have different perspectives of recovery points with the same end connected to each other.

The street is a stage where performances continue to be on stage telling dramas, comedies, comedy, simple stories, seasoned with humor, loneliness, trivia, friendship, curiosity, special coincidences. The scenery is made up ​​of sidewalks, walls, lights, billboards advertising, cars, buildings, squares, then the main characters, the actors, made by ignorant people who live in all this.

I am there to try to capture and interpret these moments in my sensitivity to show to those who love photography, but with the main intention of feeling close to them, to try to understand life, to live the story I’m looking at how when you watch a movie.

Do not try to denounce situations, moments that can not seek political or social interpretations of what is happening around me … I have a simple vision, as a theater photographer, I want to take the show that is going on the air and, as in theater or the movies, if you like the show, of course, comes a round of applause and emotions will remain in these small, they make you hope, all of this definitely improves you as a man …

The way I act is almost immediately changed when I started shooting. I thought I could go into the street and wait for something interesting that might happen to be able to photograph. But it was not. I quickly realized I was attracted by what I see and was always focused on a next project, an idea to be developed.

My gallery is made up of projects, designed, search and all feel spontaneous and real scenes:

  1. City of mind: where I wanted to describe that sense of loneliness and closing, the difficulty of approaching each other out, to shut in their thoughts. A project where the contrast of light and shadow it is the main technique together with a rigorous composition.
  2. City of Mind

    City of Mind

    City of Mind

  3. Prisoner of privacy: a provocation. The project describes the difficulties that we now have to photograph the faces of people on the street. That’s the kind of images could be, with great imagination and originality, but above is based on the question what will be left to future generations if it is prevented from photographing the faces of people today?
  4. Prisoner of Privacy

    Prisoner of Privacy

    Prisoner of Privacy

  5. Bi, double, Twin: where I tried to tell the one hand, those impossible coincidences that can happen on the street and the intersection of situations that mirror-like, that they happen in the viewer wonder, but on the other, even to tell how these similarities in background between two people is going to try to feel the same, closer.
  6. Double



  7. Stories of life: there are four sequences of images that tell little stories of life, then forget the moments that give off emotions but that even mild to those with eyes and heart to watch. A set of simple moments of life where I tried to show their poetry.
  8. Geometry and…and horizontal sign…: they focus on how to attract interest from scenes insignificant, trivial, without any content and make them immediately through significant human presence by using the forms, light and shadows, where the formal balance and lyrical ‘man, albeit on the margins, it becomes the protagonist.
  9. Geometry






  10. Ironic street scene: In this project I tried to see the road as a comedy, a series of funny sketches, where the protagonist wants to be ironic, for the fun and bring a smile to the viewer of my work.
  11. Iconic Street Scene

    Iconic Street Scene

    Iconic Street Scene

These are just some of my projects and my ideas that I carry on. All of these images should be seen as a perspective of the whole. They tell stories of the life around me, which I think is the most challenging to do.

Often, we can not only be faced with an unoriginal shot, but we are faced with a shot where the idea is missing, the message, where nothing comes and nothing you hear.

The comparison may be valid with the music, texts and sounds like a good approximate comparison can be made with the act of photographing without originality.

In addition, many underestimate the ability to of the photographer to show themselves through their images. If I am touched by a photograph and its message, I have a positive perception of the character/feeling of the photographer. For me, this is an important thing in photography– which is to have a theme, or a close link with the poetry itself.

Poetry and photography have many elements in common. Both show an intimate part of yourself and which make up the grand-stage of street photography.

Street photography is the essence of photography itself.

Remember to always concentrate on the focus of street photography itself, rather than the cameras and equipment. Create images that show the sensitivity and intelligence of life. Always make your focus of seeing life the most important.

Always remember: The camera is only a pen.



What do you think about Umberto’s street photography and his philosophies behind his imagery? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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