Born in Castellamare di Stabia (province of Naples) in 1961 and living in Treviso since 2004, Umberto Verdoliva has been photographing since 2006. Today, he holds workshops and in-depth studies on street photography. Member since 2010 of the international collective “Street Photographers”, in 2013 he founded “Spontanea”, an Italian collective dedicated to street photography. He has approached photography after having seen FAN HO’s Hong Kong works. While in love with Cartier Bresson, Andrè Kertész and Elliot Erwitt, his greatest passion is the humanity surrounding him, of which he is a careful observer. For Umberto, photography is a personal way to understand humanity, its implications and contradictions. He also does it to bear witness to the times and especially to have a tool with which to become a better man. He wouldn’t expect anything less from photography.
How and when did you become interested in photography?
I started in 2006 to document the progress of of the construction work for my company. They have bought a camera and ordered of documenting the company website work each month. I fell in love looking at pictures of the great authors and I started to study photography, reading books, to compare myself with others.
For me the street photography is the essence of photography. I could not do anything else. The continuous observation of the people around me makes me a better understanding of the man and at the same time I improve myself as man.
Is there any artist/photographer who inspired your art?
Surely Henry Cartier Bresson, André Kertész, Doisneau, Elliott Erwit, Willy Ronis and so on. I’m very emotionally attached to Fan Ho, because I discovered photography and got closer to the study of light and forms thanks to him.
Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?
Photographing in black and white or color I think it depends on personal feelings. It is not a rule but a way of being and feeling the road, the city in its entirety, the people. I dream in black and white.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
My way of thinking and seeing, I think I show myself.To me, street photography means summarizing inside an image complex aspects that are essentially about man in his routine: the places, the hidden conflicts, some brief moments of poetry, the irony, the improbable and surreal coincidences. Basically, everything that might interest or that is invisible in everyday life, with the important objective to show future generations our time and the way we are today. Even reinterpreting reality, by making it unique and personal through our own vision, is an interesting way to handle what surrounds us.
I would like to be judged and considered on the basis of the projects I make. Elaborating projects in street photography is very important for me. Almost all my works are categorized as projects and my going on the street stems from the search for something I have inside me, which I want to develop in time. My ideas and projects almost always come to me when I’m looking at my archive, categorized by dates but also interests. I shoot and keep, I let some time pass, I let the picture “clean up” with care and then, if possible, I attach it to an idea.
Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?
For over a year I carry two jobs at the same time, they involved me a lot. They are not completed I hope to finish in this year. They are difficult but I hope to do a good job. I do not expect more from photography I would just pleased to feel good myself and others.