Photographer Marcello Perino, an avid street photographer out of Rome Italy, stresses the importance of simply being in the right place at the right time to capture an emotion – a feeling. “I concentrate on the ‘decisive moment’ which often, in my pictures, corresponds to a look, an expression or a gesture that strikes me in some way.” Mr. Perino says, “By and large, I could say that I prefer the emotions that a photo is able to convey rather than a technically perfect picture without pathos.”
Mr. Pernio can’t say for sure what drew him to photography, but he’s been doing it since he was a teenager. He speculates that perhaps it was his love for travel or maybe his desire to immortalize important memories that created the passion. While photography became a way to save all the details of his travels, the connection goes much deeper than a simple hobby.
Unlike many forms of photography where the a lot of the content is staged, posed, or at least heavily influenced by the photographer, street photography is known for being a matter of chance or luck as much as what the photographers lens choice or exposure settings are. Things like lighting and composition are mostly secondary to being in the right place at the right time.
One could say, however, that the art of being in the right place at the right time is the defining skill of a street photographer – knowing where to be and what to look for. Some may call it luck, but in reality a big piece to the puzzle is knowledge. This doesn’t refer to looking up a bunch of trendy tourist locations to go camp out ahead of a street session, it is more about just spending time on the street itself, seeing how people act and react, move around objects and interact with the city around them. The more that you do this as a photographer, the more that you pick up on things to clue you into a good street image.
“I prefer exploring new places that I visit without doing a lot of research beforehand.” Mr. Perino says of his street ritual, though he goes on to note that he does do some basic research online ahead of time to get a general feel for where he will be and places to look for. “[If] I see something interesting, I try to get there on my own. Otherwise I ask around for information.”
More than locations and composition though, Mr. Perino makes a concerted effort to capture emotions and personality in his imagery, and this means constantly being on the lookout for interesting characters and personalities, being able to spot them and get a shot before the moment passes or lingering too long and drifting into creeper territory. “Usually, I focus on the personalities of the faces, on their expressions, and then, as I said earlier, if I’m able to get all this into an interesting context, well, then I can say that I have brought home a picture that I wanted to take,” he says.
Mr. Perino doesn’t interact with the subjects he shoots, preferring instead to take the shot and move on. He stated however that, “One day I’d like to meet them and talk to them because sooner or later those photographs that portray them will become a photo documentary that will recount those pieces of life of a puzzle in continual evolution.”
Marcello Perino’s passion for street photography has been a lifelong affair, he tells us that as a teenager he cultivated a strong passion for photography, specifically street photography, and that over the years his methods may have evolved but that the passion and drive remained the same. “I’ve been taking pictures for a long time, so surely something has changed in the approach to the shot, but one thing has always remained the same: the desire to take pictures of the street, its dynamics and its people,” he notes.
These days you won’t find Mr. Perino running around Rome with an SLR or DSLR either. He, like many street photographers, has moved into the Fujifilm system – his camera of choice being the X100T with the 28mm wide-angle conversion lens. “I’ve used Fuji X100T with the 28mm (conversion lens) for a while now, and I have to say that it’s very rewarding.” he says of his gear choice, “it’s a really cool camera, small enough and not intrusive.”
Mr. Perino notes Alex Webb’s famous assertion that 99% of street photography is about failure while discussing how deceivingly easy it appears to the masses. “Street photography is seemingly easy; you can walk around streets and take pictures of whatever you see in front of you.” he states “But, actually, it’s really hard to find scenes that instill a sense of beauty.” Specifically, he notes that he’s very selective about which images he chooses to post on his website, insisting that published photos should convey a message.
Marcello Perino has spent much of his life indulging in the passion of street photography. He has seen what the rest of the world sees on a daily basis through the eyes of his camera and turned it into provocative art. It takes the eye of a true artist to see this mundane world and find within it the people and places that make each moment a unique experience that will never happen again. He notices these moments that others might miss and captures them.