Flickr Showcase: David Picchiottino

Light gives life to the silence for this Paris-based photographer.

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David Picchiottino is a 32-year-old photographer based in Paris who recently submitted his work to DazedDigital.com's New Photographer Search on Flickr.

Dazed Digital: What's your background as a photographer?

David Picchiottino: I studied graphic design at ESAG Penninghen in Paris. This helped me develop my “eye”. There, I was lucky enough to have Paolo Roversi as a photography teacher, and he taught me one thing that I apply in every one of my photos: photography is writing with light. I try to use light as a narrative element in my work. It is my main protagonist. After my studies, I went into fashion. I was hired by Barbara Bui in 2001 as a graphic designer. I was given the opportunity there to work on light by recreating it in a studio with live models. I’ve since worked as freelance the fashion world and taken a few commissions for magazines.

DD: How do you find the locations for your outdoor shots? What do you look for?
DP: I essentially find my outdoor locations during my resting time. I work a lot all year long and have a hard time making the transition from work to my photography. For that, I need to be in a certain mood. I need isolation, calm, a certain vague à l’âme [melancholy]… I need to be with myself. I love walking alone in the streets. All my senses are up, and suddenly a light, a scene, an image is there. If I’m lucky, the image comes together by itself. It’s a bit like a mystical revelation. It may sound a bit bizarre, but that’s really the way it is. I wouldn’t be able to recreate it, even if I tried. This scene sometimes exists only for a single moment. After that, it will never be the same again.

What I look for at that moment is the sensation of immortalizing on film my feelings. I am a photographer, not a writer. I need photography, it helps me say things, ask questions, bringing the spectator along with me, telling him an open story. My pictures are always calm. I increasingly exclude human presence from my work. People are essentially present by their absence. They were there at a certain point in time. They have disappeared. They are now only ghosts, traces of life... Was this just a dream? What interests me in this is the objects’ lives. Objects we never look at even though we pass in front of them thousands of times. I try to tell their story, to find their soul.

I try to stay away from "beautiful" pictures, in a classical sense. I try to stay away from clichés, and to show that even a trash bin can be beautiful. I have a big interest in silence and light. It is an obsession in my work. First silence and emptiness; then light, which gives life to the silence.

DD: Are you inspired by any particular films? Art? Literature?
DP: I spend a lot of time in museums, especially the Louvre, and 15th to 17th century north European painters: Memling, Bosch, Van Dyck, Van Eyck, Rembrandt. I also love Gericault, Ingres, and Leonard da Vinci, who used to say that “things are more beautiful when the shadows are half way upon them". Also Expressionists like Ensor, Grosz and Kokoshka. In film, Kubrick, the Coen brothers, Wim Wenders, and Wes Anderson.

DD: What about other photographers?
DP: William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Jeff Wall, Sarah Moon, and Bern and Illa Besher.

DD: Where would you most like to shoot next?
DP: Nowhere in particular. I didn’t think I’d find anything interesting in Venice for example, but that’s where I did some of my best pictures. On the other hand, I thought I was sure to get great photos in Budapest - not even one. Fortuity is an important part of my work. I never really know what I am looking for or what I will find. Right now, I am actually working on portraits. I try to interpret faces like landscapes.
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