Walter Meregalli has been working in the photography field for over 25 years. In the last 15 years, he has developed a particular passion for India, where he often travels to capture the local beauty and get to know the local people.
We sent him the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System to use with his Nikon D810 for his latest trip: let's see his shots and get to know him a bit better in this interview.
Hello Walter, and welcome to Lomography! What has your educational and working path been like?
I started photography for fun, imitating my father, until when one of his best friends started educating me in the field. I had the luck that that friend was Piero Donzelli, one of the most important Italian photographers of the Fifties.
Since then, I have never taken a break from photography. In the early '90s, I opened a communication and photography studio and photography has been assuming an even more important role in my life. I cannot see myself without the possibility to fix everything that it is around me through the combination of shutter speed and aperture.
How would you define your photography style?
Honestly, I am not able to answer this question. If I look back at some photos I took a few years ago, I really see that my photography style is something in continuous evolution - and I really like that. I think my visual communication language is a synthesis of different styles, with a unique goal: tell stories through the visual medium. I do not have a sophisticated either cryptic approach, I prefer to rely on simplicity.
Among all the genres of photography, that one which represents me the most is the ambient portrait, which has a strong influence on my travel photography: rarely I can tell the story of a place only through landscapes, as I prefer narrating it through the human element.
Is there a photographer who really inspired you during these years?
There are a few. The first two who come to my mind are Steve McCurry and Joe McNally. From Steve Mc Curry I tried to steal the ability to tell a story through people's faces and to capture 'the decisive moment". From McNally the technique of using the flash, up to become dependent on it. Other photographers who influenced me: Gianni Berengo Gardin and Ragu Rhai, for their talent of encapsulating daily life stories in photos. And I could not mention Michelangelo Merisi, also called Caravaggio.
Could you tell us something about your travel in India?
Since almost 15 years India and Nepal have become my second home, at least looking at how many times I came back here. India and Nepal have also become the main destination for the photography group travels that I organize with my photography project Photo Avventure. Although I regularly come back here, India continues to inspire me and surprise me every time.
Did you face any difficulties in taking portraits of people? How did you approach them?
I think that taking portraits of people in India is one of the easiest things, as people there are almost always very happy to be immortalized. I could take portraits here all my life and still, I could not have two similar photos, as the population is a really a mixture of different ethnic groups.
Besides some stolen shots, usually, I openly approach the people I want to take a picture of, I ask their permission and often I chat a bit with them, before and after the photo.
Sometimes a simple "May I take a picture of you?" opens up for long conversions or invites to follow them to their houses, to sit together and drink a cup of tea.
Where is your next destination?
Morocco. And then again India as I will come back there at least three times next year: in Rajasthan for spring, Kerala in August and in the Madhya Pradesh in October.
What were your first impressions of the Convertible Art Lens System
In the beginning, the focusing was a bit difficult for me, as I am no longer used to the manual focusing. Therefore, I took me a bit to get used to it again.
I really loved its sharpness and the particular bokeh effect at larger apertures. I particularly appreciated the bokeh effect with Proteus, the 80mm, which was also my favorite (that does not come as a surprise since I love portraits). I must admit that Neptune really paid back my efforts!