Snowboard freestyle, freeride skiing, downhill mountain biking … extreme sports bring you out of your comfort zone, pushing you to the edge. They require motivation, passion and power. For action sport photographer Roby Bragotto, these sports do not only represent his daily life, but also his biggest passion, both behind and in front of the camera.
We sent him the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens for the ultimate challenge!
Hi Roby, let’s break the ice! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your passion for photography.
Ciao! I am Roberto Bragotto, a simple 35-year-old guy – with the knees of an old person, the Peter Pan syndrome, a bunch of wavy hairs of an undefined colour, who often lives as a gypsy between snowy mountains and oceans with big waves. My passion for photography started when I was in high school and I studied analogue photography, the camera obscura processing, and all the magic they involve.
When did you start doing action sports photography? What is the most fascinating aspect of this genre?
I have been practicing action sports since I was very young … I started with the skateboard, destroying my knees (I had 4 surgeries). When I was 20 years old I turned to snowboarding, with the hope that the snow could ease the pain and I am still keeping on it. It came natural to me bringing it together my passion for photography and for action sports (the most important thing for me). There are tons of beautiful aspects involved in what I do: from travelling to amazing places to building deep friendships. Passion and beautiful experiences connect people. As I consider myself half hippie, I think that being strictly connected with the nature is always a moving and touching feeling.
Is there a photographer who has influenced your style?
Even though the professionals of my sector are not so many, there are few I deeply admire and appreciate. But, at the same time, I try not to be influenced by anyone in order to maintain my own style. I would love that, one day, my photos will be recognizable even without my signature.
Describe yourself with three words.
Ironic dreamer, slightly imaginative, sometimes sensitive.
What camera did you use?
I wanted test the Petzval with my old EOS 3, but, for convenience and since I had very short time available, I used a 5d Mark III, the only digital camera that I have.
The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens is a great tool for portrait photography. How did you deal with other subjects?
I really enjoyed it! I always like messing up with everything, thinking and acting in a subvert way. It was a sort of personal challenge, and it was really funny, especially for the expressions of my colleagues, who were really impressed by this old fashioned brass lens.
What aspect did you like most of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens?
Without any doubts its Bokeh control. The blurry effect is really unique and, with some creativity, you can use it in several ways. I really appreciated the possibilities of changing different aperture plates, which give the opportunity to create movement in the pictures.
What advice would you give to those who approach the New Petzval 58 for the first time?
To forget thinking in a digital way, going back to the “origins”. My analogue experience taught me to think as I would shoot with films – I shoot less but think a lot more. The Petzval Art Lens needs a deep study on what you want shoot, its composition and the best angle. The aim is to create something new and particular.
We know that you won the “Best Action Shot”, “Best Photo” and “Best Light Effect” awards at Click on the Mountain. What advice would you give someone who wants to become a professional action sports photographer?
The Click on the Mountain was such an amazing experience! I was the only photographer from Italy and it was my first time! Obviously, it was a great satisfaction for me, winning against photographers from USA, France, and Spain. For doing great action sports photography, first you have to live and love those sports. I think it is necessary to know every aspect of what you want to take picture. You have to be really passionate about action sports.
In which events did you take part last winter?
Thanks to many agencies that have trusted me for years, I shot in a lot of events: snowboarding, skateboard, motocross, downhill, mountain bike, triathlon, and marathons. But I have to say that I also like commercial shooting, with athletes and companies, where everything is planned and where you get the chance to face directly with the athletes, in order to shot the best possible photo.
Do you have some projects for 2016?
After having passed the whole winter working as official photographer for Monster Energy, I am planning some biking shooting, an ultra-running event and even something about motocross and surf … and, even if I cannot say nothing more at the moment, I am one of the few Italians with a selected photo in a very important international competition about action sports … We will see what will happen!
Anyway, I am not used to do long-term plans. I hope to improve, travel, dream, have fun. I want to do my best in everything and I will keep it on!