This feature, my interview with Luca Rossini, originally appeared in the Flickr ‘Photo Genre Monthly’ group in August of this year. Luca’s story is so interesting, and the photos so beautiful, that I couldn’t help but re-publish it here!
For those who may have already seen this, the photos alone worth a second view. For those who haven’t read about Luca’s Alaskan adventure – you’re in for a treat!
As an aside note, despite being very busy in the studio, Luca somehow manages to find the time to stay active on Flicrk (and is a member of the Flickr Click group) where he posts a daily photo as part of his current project: 365 Days of RX1 – one camera, one lens, 12 projects. Links to Luca’s website and flickr stream can be found at the end of the article.
LUCA ROSSINI INTERVIEW: AUGUST 2013
Luca Rossini is a professional photographer based out of Rome, Italy. Luca’s creative and highly expressive images have been exhibited in such locations as Chiostro del Bramante, Officina 468, Ashanti Gallery, and Istituto Quasar. He has done work for PhotoVogue, Art+Commerce, and the highly regarded Italian magazine L’Espresso.
If you live on Planet Earth, then you know that Sony is an electronics giant, and a leader in innovation. They are also the successor of the Minolta camera heritage, and developer of the highly successful NEX line of cameras.
Just prior to the release of their NEX-6, Sony contacted Luca and fellow photographer Mike Palmieri with a proposition… and a challenge: an assignment in the wilderness of Kodiak, Alaska to capture its rugged beauty and splendor while testing the capabilities of the new camera. The catch? Each were allowed ONLY a single carry-on bag for ALL their gear (including clothes, etc.) weighing no more than 10kg!
Travel! Adventure! Photography! Sounds like a great story for Mars Weekly readers!
(You can view the whole of Luca’s great ‘Into Alaska’ work here:
6 Questions For Luca
1. I can imagine how exciting it must have been when Sony contacted you and said they’d like to fly you to Alaska to try the brand new NEX-6. What was your first reaction?
I remember that day, that phone call, as if it was yesterday. I was on the highway, driving to a wedding I had to shoot. My wife (who’s also my second photographer at Rossini Photography – www.rossiniphotography.it) answered the call since I was behind the wheel. She told me “There’s a guy from London who wants to talk about Sony”. I don’t know how I didn’t lose control of the car, and yet I managed to pull it on the sidewalk, grab the phone, and finally hear the whole story. I couldn’t believe what was happening: Sony actually knew about me, and there were people there liking my work enough to ask me to work with them for the commercial of the new NEX system. For which they would fly me to the other side of the world to live and shoot an incredible adventure. I think I’ve never been so exited in my entire life. It definitely was the biggest assignment I had ever got at that time.
2. The premise of the fly-in required you to ‘travel light’ – no more than 10kg of gear (including food and luggage!) 10 kg isn’t very much. Was it difficult for you to meet that requirement?
To be honest I did even better than the requirement. Some of the flights I had to take to get from Rome to Kodiak had stricter limits for hand luggage, and I didn’t want to check-in anything since I was going to change four flights (I had to stop in Amsterdam, Minneapolis, and Anchorage before landing in Kodiak) and I couldn’t risk to lose anything on the way. I left Rome with an eight-kilos-packed backpack and my NEX-7 around my neck.
At Kodiak I had to leave some of my luggage to make space for the food and water, but we didn’t have to bring much since the cabin-lakes had always some food in, plus we fished for our dinner every day and filtered our water directly from the lakes and rivers.
3. What did you do to prepare for the trip and photo shoot?
I started working out every day since I got the phone call. I knew I would have had to hike a lot and I needed to be in good shape for that.
I also tried to get as much information about Kodiak as possible. I watched “The Grizzly Man” (my wife still hates me for that, because she feared I would be eaten by a bear every day since) and a few episodes of “The Deadliest Catch“, I surfed the web looking for info about the island’s flora and fauna (especially the bears: how to cope with them!), temperatures, weather, geography, common hikes, etc. I also learned about Kodiak City, its economy, population, and organization. I bought travel insurance (extremely important when traveling in the States).
Finally, having such a strict limit in luggage, I had to go technical about my clothes. I needed proper shoes, trousers, a better windbreaker, and a right-sized waterproof backpack. I went to the mall a couple of days before leaving and did my shopping. I felt a bit like Pretty Woman.
4. In a few words, how would you best describe Alaska from a photographers perspective?
Astonishingly beautiful. The island of Kodiak is so rich with many different environments it doesn’t even seem real. I had the chance to fly over its cliffs, hills, and plateaus and then to walk through its woods, to sail and to row along its rivers, and even to step on one of the mainland’s glaciers.
At summer, daylight lasts long, especially the blue hours, which is great for landscape photography. I noticed that some days the weather can change very quickly and almost continuously, which makes a landscape look totally different every five minutes or so, which also is fantastic because you get to take many different shots from the very same spot. The light is something magic there.
The town of Kodiak is also very photogenic, once you understand how to look at it. Especially at night, when the wet concrete reflects the street lights, and the pubs darkly shine over the fishermen, the hunters, and the rest of the wild crowd drinking and playing pool in them.
5. What lasting change or impression would you say that Alaska has left on you?
I feel Alaska can truly be seen as “The Last Frontier” (as every Alaskan car’s plate says): there, wild animals approach you because they’re curious! We’ve been approached by bears (many!), eagles, deer and even seals. People are wild too, you can feel how everyone there has an incredible story behind, something dramatic that brought him or her up to the end of the north.
It is a place full of melancholia, a mood I particularly love.
6. Can you tell us a little bit about the newest series you’re currently working on?
My current blog/project is called “365 Days of RX1: one camera, one lens, 12 projects”. This time I got the support of Sony, which provided me with the equipment for the project, their new top professional compact RX1. It is a 365 project, meaning everyday I post a photo taken solely with the RX1 and its 35mm fixed focal length, but every month I change theme. I try to keep a balance between artsy projects, reportage, travel photography, and so on.
It is never easy to choose a theme, because once I do then I have to stick to it for 30 days, and to keep it interesting and coherent for so long is harder than it may seem.
6 Tips From Luca
What 6 tips would you offer someone about Travel Photography?
1. Study the place you’re going to starting by reading the pro-loco website, then surfing the net for experiences of other travelers, and finally by watching as many movies shot there as you can find. All this will give you an idea of what you’re going to find once there, which kind of landscapes, people, light, situations, and so on.
2. Choose which kind of photography you want to take. This decision will deeply affect the equipment you’ll have to bring along.
3. As soon as you’ve set a tentative itinerary, check out the weather conditions in each place you’re going to visit. Be sure you and your photographic equipment can cope with them.
4. If you think you may need something you don’t already have, you should buy it and learn how to use it before leaving.
5. Once there, check on a daily basis all of your equipment: dry or clean the cameras and lenses, charge the batteries and download the memory cards. Be sure to always have more than enough of batteries and cards, you never know when one of them is going to fail you, only that this will eventually happen.
6. If you have enough time, try not to start shooting as soon as you arrive in a new place, but rather let the surrounding and the people talk to you by observing them. Start to shoot only once you have got your own personal idea on the place and its people. There are good chances you may have found an untold story.
I’d like to thank Luca very much for his time, and sharing his wonderful adventure and insight.
You can see more of Luca’s work here:
Thanks again Luca!!
-Shawn (Mars Observer)