Giancarlo Rado’s Italians

Giancarlo Rado - Diego Rizzi, his wife Anna Zurek and their son Tomek

Diego Rizzi, his wife Anna Zurek and their son Tomek | © 2012 Giancarlo Rado

Somewhere in between August Sander’s People of the 20th Century and Robert Frank’s The Americans, lies Giancarlo Rado’s Italians. Traveling through the Northeast of Italy, Giancarlo takes portraits of people in their homes or places of work, aiming to tell each person’s story with an image. Read below to see a few of his images from the project and his account of what it’s like to shoot in such diverse locations.

I am working on a big project, photographing the Italian people of the Northeast of Italy. Once I meet a possible subject, I let them take me to their home or place of work or get inspiration from what they tell me about their lives.

This image [above] depicts rural life in Italy and is taken in the mountains of Trentino, where the Rizza family lives during the summer taking care of cows. Ania, the woman, comes from Poland. After their work is done, they will go back to Poland where they live during the winter.

The photo of the Rizza family is lit from above with the sun reflecting off the floor, while the background is almost dark. This location reminds me of the great Venetian painters, Gentile and Giovanni Bellini.

Giancarlo Rado - Andrea Salvotti

Andrea Salvotti | © 2012 Giancarlo Rado

This is an image of Andrea Salvotti. He is a diver who works repairing docks in Trieste.

This portrait was, in a certain way, inspired by Federico Fellini movies. With the sun behind his shoulders, the diver seems like a sea monster coming up from the deep.

Giancarlo Rado - Daniele Brancaleoni

Daniele Brancaleoni | © 2012 Giancarlo Rado

Daniele Brancaleoni is a very good violinist and teacher. This image refers to the great Italian tradition in music. Lit only by the sun coming in through the window, this portrait has a very classical style.

I use a Hasselblad camera with two lenses, both by Zeiss: a 80mm/2.8 and a 50mm/4.0.

As you can see, the lighting conditions are very different for each photo. In all of these different situations, my Sekonic light meter was very useful. I use a small TwinMate L-208, which is very easy to use and to take with me everywhere I go.

With over 400 photos so far, Giancarlo has created a unique portrait of a region. Don’t miss more of Giancarlo’s photos from this project.


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Giancarlo Rado, all rights reserved; story is ©Sekonic. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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Posted in portrait photography.