Retro Kolkata Exclusive : An interview with B&W Photographer Joel Sanguinetti from France


©Joel Sanguinetti
I try to have the light in the center of the photo, I never give an angle on the photo, the decor is always in front, and I always take the picture from the bottom up with the model in the center if possible.There are derogation on this point but never on these topics. This magnifies the subject and the light.

RK : Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, We’re excited to have you. Let’s have a jump into the past. What first attracted you to photography?

Joël Sanguinetti :I have always loved photography. My grandfather gave me my first camera for my tenth birthday, which was not common at that time. A square format.We did not necessarily have the money to buy photo film and I remember spending hours taking pictures in a vacuum, just the pleasure of framing, composing. I think this exercise, repeated for years has been a beautiful learning.

Today, we consume the photo, their number is unlimited, we would be tempted to take pictures without thinking, without composing. In the past, a photo had to be reflected, we had only 12 or 24 photos in film. The result could only be visible 8 to 10 days later. It was not imaginable to miss or make a photo without interest. Hence this fictional learning ... At 14 years old with all my savings kept for a long time I bought myself a camera SLR and since I always have with me a machine to photograph. Almost 40 years ago .

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : How do you cultivate your vision?

Joël Sanguinetti :You have to look everywhere, always around you. Enjoy the Light, places. You must be in the right place, the light will come, you must not go for it, it’s a violence that removes all emotion.Of course, you have to choose the place, the time, the compositions and the subject .But it's only the emotion that makes the photo.The emotion comes to you, if you say to wait for it and see it.This is the longest learning ... I start to perceive .

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : What kind of photography do you mostly indulge yourself in? Why you prefer Black and White?

Joel Sanguinetti :I love cities, and beautiful places. But I like to add a character, rather than enhance the beauty and much of the emotion sought. I’m an Architect. By my training, I’ve a certain faculty to read the differences of light, of images on a subject.

I take pictures a bit like I would do a sketch of architecture in black and white and for me, the look is no longer dictated by the different colors that, of course, correspond to the aesthetics of the photo, and I love the color photos, but I see that the black and white leaves the place only to emotion.A black and white photo without emotion, without a story is a picture empty and sad .After our consciences, and thankfully, don’t react in the same way to emotions, and fortunately what is in their photos are not views as I see them .

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : What is photography for you – a passion or a profession?

Joël Sanguinetti :A passion. Always. and more than that. I feel legitimate and in my place when I have my camera with me. I'm never afraid of anything with my camera, and I'm emptying myself. All the stress of my very difficult job no longer exists when I take pictures.


RK : Were you formally educated in photography, or are you self taught?

Joël Sanguinetti :Only self-taught. I feed on the work of others, the exhibitions and my failed photos.I analyze my photos and look on each of them what I can improve on the next one.But I am aware that it is very long.I’m seriously considering training to unlock some things that still hold me back and that I’m not aware of.

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : What rules guide your process from idea to execution?

Joël Sanguinetti :The sharing !Who knows a model better than the model itself !

She must be confident and show herself as she is.Without this, it is impossible to take pictures with the desired emotion (always emotion).My only job is to find the time, the place and the outfit that best fits what I want to do ... and then we let things happen !

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : What is your favorite image or series of images in your portfolio and why?

Joël Sanguinetti :It's a difficult question, and it's a difficult question ...

Maybe my pictures of New York . New York was a dream for me .But I was afraid of not being up to this city. I went there with great humility and it took me a short time to be released and to get some pictures. It was a great success, on Instagram, I had the chance to make an exhibition of my photographs of New York in a gallery of south of France and especially to have 10 photos published in a book dedicated to the published photography and sold in New York . In New York, I lost all my complexes.


RK : When you have a vision you want to create, how do you solve the problem of how to do it? For instance, if you want to create a certain look or effect, where do you turn to learn new techniques? Do you learn by experimenting or turn to books or videos?

Joël Sanguinetti :I search alone, often. I do not apply many effects on my photos. Less and less. Today, I realized that the strength of the photo is made in the morning, in the rain, , sometimes with a uncomfortable positions, to the edge of exhaustion sometimes and yes, a photo is made on the site, not behind his computer, comfortably seated on a seat, a mouse in a hand, a glass of Coca Cola in the other.

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : How important is gear in your work?

Joël Sanguinetti :You have to have fun with everything.Experiment everything. I made marine photos with disposable cameras, others in high mountains with very heavy cameras, today I always have my camera and mobile phone (always the best) with me. It’s a perfect duo. I name them “ my dream team “.

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : What has been your biggest photography related challenge?

Joël Sanguinetti :Dare to take pictures with models. The first time is terrifying. Then we take confidence but there is always an apprehension before each shooting. . I always sleep badly the night before a shooting...


RK : What is your view of our fast-paced digital world? Do you think that iPhoneography or similar is a benefit or a detriment to the photographic artist?

Joël Sanguinetti :No !!!! On the contrary !The sharing! The photo is global! Connected! Multicultural!It's magic!For someone my age, 53 years old, it's magic!

Do you know how many photos I own that I am alone in having views ? Am I going to talk to you without this digital world ?The digital world is a means of locomotion where you can reach everyone instantly.I’ve contacts all over Europe, India, the United States, South America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa… all other the world.

I don’t know these people but who are true friends.Magical,I tell you ...

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : Can you talk a bit about the importance of shadow in light in your work and what meaning it brings to you images?

Joël Sanguinetti :I've already told you a bit about it ... But as I say in my bio on Instagram, I'm waiting for the call of light. Light is everything. she is always everywhere. you just have to learn to look at her, to wait for her, to see her calls us...

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : There is something peculiar about light in your pictures that make very simple compositions stand out strongly. What is that one spice in your recipe ?

Joël Sanguinetti :You know, my philosophy is if you don’t share, your learning it will have served no purpose.So here is my recipe.

I try to have the light in the center of the photo, I never give an angle on the photo, the decor is always in front, and I always take the picture from the bottom up with the model in the center if possible.There are derogation on this point but never on these topics. This magnifies the subject and the light.

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : Every picture of yours seems to be a well thought of creation. We would like to know what goes into the conceptualizing process of every frame you decide to create ?

Joël Sanguinetti :I have already answered that a little. But it's the sharing that allows me to create. I like less solitary photo opportunities. Sharing is everywhere today. It must also be applied to art.

Lately, one famous painters in our region asked me permission to paint one of my photos. Which I accepted of course. It was a photo of being a dancer of a very high level. So these are found mixed 3 arts, dance, painting and photography.

We have given years of experience and work for this purpose. and that's where it becomes magical.

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : What is that one thing you recommend / advise to aspiring photographers who look up to you for motivation ? For all those who are in awe of your pictures ?

Joël Sanguinetti :Impressed? No, you must not! <Smiles>.

We must learn from everything! Dare! Make several photos outings.

Work, work and work. Never be fully satisfied with your photos while but loving them.

Apply simple rules: be careful to the effects that affect the quality, leave the visibility on the subject and above all, heal the framing. The subject is centered in one third of the photo, the ideal is the known third of the world (the image is decomposed into 3 vertical thirds and 3 horizontal thirds, the subject is placed in the intersection of the lowest horizontal line the leftmost vertical line). Add to this a "right" photo with a horizontal horizon and perfectly vertical verticals. A front photo to avoid unsightly angles with a central light.

©Joel Sanguinetti

RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to build one single stage for all the artists, because we believe that artists are the most beautiful creation of God and geographical boundary can never break their unity and harmony. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your followers.

Joël Sanguinetti :I talked about it a little bit before too. You digital media, erase boundaries and differences between peoples. Everyone, if he is in a country of freedom, can obtain information. I am immensely grateful to you and I can not thank you enough for allowing me this trip. I strongly believe that, while everyone will keep their culture, the world will come together through digital media, this is ongoing, and it is my great hope for humanity.

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