We are happy to introduce you to our Top 10 Interview with a Photographer series! Meet Photographer #10 – Francesca Tallone, as interviewed by Maliha. A self-confessed romantic who loves to shoot in natural light, she is based in Brooklyn, New York as a professional photographer and hobbyist.
Please say a few words about yourself.
I’m 30 and live in Brooklyn. I’ve been here just over 2 years but I kind of want to live everywhere. I’ve got some serious wanderlust right now. At this point I’m kind of in-between being a professional photographer and a hobbyist. The bulk of my living right now does not come from taking pictures, but I’ve been doing a ton of work. It’s mostly been for shows and publications or clothing labels and stuff that doesn’t always pay a lot, but are amazing and fun and beautiful. I come from a fine art background and as much as I sometimes hate to admit it, I think I carry around a starving artist complex. It sounds like a really idealist and naïve way to think, but it’s more important to me to make work that I believe in and represents what I do than to do something I hate and make a few bucks, which is why I do not do weddings. That’s not to say I don’t like getting paid. I could get paid all the livelong day and be totally fine with it.
What is it that you love about analog photography?
I’m kind of a romantic, and film carries a lot of nostalgia for me. It makes way more sense on a tangible, tactile level. I can’t seem to disassociate myself from feeling like digital can be sort of emotionless. I know that digital photography can be great, and a lot of people do it really well, but I’m not really a technical photographer – I’m coming from more of an abstract, conceptual place and film just seems to occupy more of a sense of reality, or something. I’d much rather spend hours in a color darkroom figuring out color balance than in front of the computer. I’m kind of old fashioned about it, I think. I love history, and film is history for me.
How would you describe your photography style, and how (if) does it relate to analog photography?
I’m always really conscious of color and light and a feeling of surreality. I pretty much only shoot in natural or available light, it’s really important to me that my pictures aren’t super posed or set up, but I always find myself making things look awkward. I love pictures that are quiet and sort of empty-looking. I am a huge sucker for asymmetrical balance. I always want to try and take pictures that are sort of interdimensional or something. Like things that are hard to see. A lot of people tell me that my pictures feel like they’re from another era, and I like taking pictures that feel timeless.
What kind of film camera do you usually use?
I have an old Kodak Instamatic with me all the time, and a 110 camera. I have been carrying those around since before I got a digital point-and-shoot. I really love shooting with a Hasselblad – it’s heavy and beautiful and I don’t use it nearly enough. I also have a vintage Diana that still takes really amazing photos.
What kind of subjects do you usually look for?
When I’m doing fashion stuff, or when I’m taking pictures of people, I like taking pictures of my friends. They always help me, whether they know it or not, and I love the idea that the pictures turn out more personal. Also I don’t feel as bad if I need them to hold some really awkward uncomfortable pose. And I love architecture and buildings. I love big, open space and things with a lot of layers. I like working in series, so things that have some sort of theme always really strike me, especially when it’s not super obvious.
What kind of achievement in photography do you strive for?
I love getting published and doing art shows, and I mean, obviously would not balk at the chance to be included in the collections of some amazing museum or something. But anytime someone likes my work, or blogs about it, or wants to buy it, or is inspired by it, I mean that is awesome.
Have you found what you have been looking for? (Not necessarily photography related.)
Absolutely not. I don’t know that I ever will, and I think that’s ok. It’s kind of terrifying. I love the idea that I have no idea what I even WANT to be looking for because it sort of makes figuring something out a really amazing experience. I love learning and finding new things to love and new places and putting some sort of cap on life in the sense that I may sometime find what I’ve been looking for seems incredibly frightening. That being said, if I ever do find what I’ve been looking for I’m sure I’ll feel a lot more settled.
If you have to choose between analog and digital photography, which would you choose and why?
If I ever had to give up analog photography, I feel like I’d be cutting a significant chunk out of my soul.
Male nudes or female nudes?
I don’t shoot nudes but I think either can be really beautiful.
Do you think photography has somehow shaped your life? If so, then how?
Oh, totally. I started getting into photography when I was about 7, on my family’s cross-country move from Dedham, Massachusetts to Morro Bay, California. I wasn’t always primarily a photographer – for a while I studied painting and realized that I was an utterly horrible painter, so I started really spending more time with photography. It was like this weird unintelligible mumbling all the time sort of became a clear, lucid voice and I went, oh, duh.
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