My Photography Philosophy & Cesare Zavattini

February 29, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

"The true function of the cinema is not tell fables"

Cesare Zavattini is the acclaimed screenwriter of Victor De Sica's The Bicycle Thief.  Whenever I take my camera out to photograph subjects I am reminded of Zvattini's essay Some Ideas on Cinema.  Zavattini is a renaissance figure in the Italian Neorealism movement that occurred after the end of World War II.  When I am traveling to photograph people in their surroundings, I seldom take my camera out on the first or second day.  I spend time to observe.  I get acclimated with my surrounding because I am a guest in their community.  I interact with people.  I do not rush my camera out, pointing my lens in people's face for the sake of taking a photograph for an invented story.  Understanding my story and my subject's lives takes patience.  As Zavattini says, "life is not what is invested in "stories"; life is another matter.  To understand it involves a minute, unrelenting, and patience search."

A photography philosophy of mine is to capture the reality of my subjects.  In every story I have covered, every subject I have captured through my lens, and every short film I have directed and produced, I have attempted to tell a story without forcing conflicts on my subjects in order to advance a storyline.  I, like Zavattini, believe that stories do not need to be exaggerated and made into heroic tales of protagonists struggling against antagonists, instead, if observed closely, the daily activities of individuals reveal stories that garner a better understanding of human life and condition.

 

Hebron, West Bank.  August 2011

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Stills from The Bicycle Thief:


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