Paolo Raeli is a known face to Lomography, we already had the pleasure of featuring his beautiful work and hear more about his experience using Lomo'Instant Wide. In this interview, you will get to know Paolo from a different side and learn more about the story behind his captivating work. Also, you will find out what sparks his inspiration the most and how did photography change his life forever.
Hey Paolo! When did you discover the need to capture the moments around you? How old were you when you took your very first photo?
Hey! It's a pleasure to reply to these questions for Lomography. I was a little younger than eighteen. A lot of things started to change around me and also meeting a very special person made me realize that I wanted to have more than just memories, so I started taking pictures. They help me remember things.
What has changed in your life since you started doing photography?
So so many things, it's unbelievable! I am twenty-two now, and I look back at the past with tenderness in my heart. I was a lot more naive and reckless and I have some pictures to prove that! I am still naive sometimes. But my soul has grown. I have visited and lived in many different places, from Copenhagen to Rome, passing through Milan and stopping in Berlin.
What made the biggest impact on your photographic style?
It all came gradually actually when photography took a big part in my life I felt the need to have a signature, a special trait in order to make my pictures unique or recognizable by others. I always had a thing for lilac colors and sunsets so that's the reason why it's something almost always present in my pictures. Slowly they all turned into this dreamy purplish shade. It's nice now when people recognize my pictures even when my name isn't written with them.
It seems you enjoy capturing intimate, romantic moments between young people. What inspires you the most regarding youth and love?
I find it extremely beautiful because... it won't last. It's something that Jack Kerouac said and that really made me stop and think. All this love and youth is slowly expiring (it's life! nothing to be too sad about) and having the privilege to capture it in pictures it is something I deeply appreciate. Life inspires me, the love and the youth itself are a great source of inspiration.
What is your all-time favorite camera?
The one my parents spent so so much on and which is also the best camera I've ever had, Nikon d800. It allows me to take good pictures of all kind of circumstances.
What is the most challenging thing about being a photographer? What inspires you to capture special moments and do this job every day?
To me, it is finding the right situation to take a good picture. I often find myself bored from not living some kind of experiences I crave due to some external issues and that frustrates me a lot because sometimes I find myself taking pictures of something I don't find great remembering in ten years, for example. Wherever I feel this way I look back at the pictures I've taken that makes my heart quiver and I try to do better instead of discouraging myself.
If you could choose one way to express your creativity, except photography, what would it be?
I have a thing for music. I sing all the time. All my friends can't stand me for that sometimes, because I never shut up hehe. I'd love to sing and compose music, it's a dream I soon expect to realize.
Since you have lots of followers and people who enjoy your work on Instagram, what is your secret to keeping the audience engaged with the things you post? What is the best thing you learned through social media?
That is one good question! Trends change all the time so it is hard to keep a stable audience through the years. I just try to connect with people I guess. Main themes of my photography are love, youth, happiness, sadness and the joy of exploring and traveling, all things youngsters find relatable and dream about. One thing I've learned is (and I will never stop to empathize) that not everything you see on the internet is real.
Many people seem to think my life is beautiful or a movie-like dream but it isn't. I have bad days and boring days and uneventful days but I know it doesn't seem like this through Instagram. The important thing is to never lose the true contact with life, even if things are dull and grey sometimes. Social media has its good sides but it reflects a distorted version of the world sometimes.
What is it that you want to show in your photographs? What do you enjoy shooting the most?
I am trying to cherish all kind of emotions of the human soul, the beauty in the teenage years with a special focus on love. I really like taking pictures of the love stories of my friends. You can see it in their eyes and it's absolutely beautiful to have it captured on camera.
How did photography influence you as a person and as an artist?
It changed me completely. I see things I wasn't able to see before, it may sound weird but now I perceive the light, how it changes through the day. Things I have never really cared about. I see details I have never noticed, I fall in love with them. I just embrace life more and I am grateful for that.
Could you describe a day in the life of Paolo Raeli?
It varies a lot I can't really say! I will describe a very normal day because for the great ones there's Instagram for it! I usually go for long walks and work on my sketchbook, wherever I can I visit the sea and just sit and enjoy the sound of it. I always bring my camera with me so I stop from time to time along the way to take pictures!
We know you have had the opportunity to shoot with the Lomo Instant Wide, but what would be the next Lomo camera you want to try out?
Yes! and I totally love it. I have taken so many good pictures with it and being so light makes it a pleasure to bring it around when I travel. I'd say the Lomo LC-A+! But that is another story!