Photography is the art of communication. At its purest, it’s the journey of an idea from the photographer’s mind to the viewer’s. The idea could be anything, complex or simple, artistic, documentary or commercial, but how clearly it’s transmitted is all about the skill of the photographer.
© Amedeo Novelli | Sony α7R II + 55mm f/1.8 ZA | 1/800s @ f/2.0, ISO 400
Drawing on his background as a photojournalist, this is something that Amedeo Novelli knows perfectly well, and with the help of his Sony Alpha cameras and lenses, he applies it to his commercial and fashion work, creating clear and powerful messages for his clients.
“When I do commercial work, I’m helping my clients communicate their values through my photography, and I love that; one of the best parts of the job is combining my photographic vision with that of the brand and the campaign.”
© Amedeo Novelli | Sony α7R II + 55mm f/1.8 ZA | 1/2500s @ f/1.8, ISO 200
Of course, between Amedeo and the client there is always a communication agency managing project guidelines, “from which it’s not possible to deviate. But this is always the starting point of every pre-production meeting, and from that foundation the creativity of the photographer comes into play.”
© Amedeo Novelli | Sony α9 + 35mm f/1.4 ZA| 1/160s @ f/4.5, ISO 200
Amedeo draws on a variety of influences to create his commercial work, all of which help him as a visual storyteller - a communicator of ideas. His grandfather was a naval engineer who travelled the world creating thousands of photographic slides which he left to Amedeo “along with his Rolleiflex and, above all, his passion for the image.”
He started working as a photographer almost by accident when, still a student at university, he went backpacking in Southeast Asia, and financed his trip by selling images to magazines.
“Photojournalism,” Amedeo explains, “taught me that any project should always start with proper preparation. This preparation is not only about visual research and ideas, but above all it’s crucial to really know about the stories, the people and the brands that I deal with.” With commercial work, he says, this means looking at the values of the product, and working out how to explain them through an image.
© Amedeo Novelli | Sony α9 + 24mm f/1.4 GM | 1/160s @ f/3.2, ISO 200
Of course, Amedeo adds, whether it’s subconsciously or actively, bringing your own influences to bear on a project “naturally means that each photographer adds to the basic recipe of the client’s brief, creating their own unique vision. I really believe that culture, technical training and experience all combine in this as essential ingredients. For example, I bring my passion for journalism, and for communicating information, along with elements of my personal projects in social and street photography.”
© Amedeo Novelli | Sony α7R II + 55mm f/1.8 ZA | 1/3200s @ f/1.8, ISO 200
When working with commercial fashion setups, Amedeo says it’s vital “to create a connection between the product and the public; that is to say, those people for whom it’s intended, and therefore arouse positive emotions in them.” For him, this often means adding context to the images, making them more real, and so he focuses not only on the models, but also on the spaces they inhabit, and the lives they might be leading.
© Amedeo Novelli | Sony α7R II + 55mm f/1.8 ZA | 1/1600s @ f/1.8, ISO 50
“My experience in street photography and reportage influences my commercial shots, which are rarely made in a studio but almost always in shops, homes or offices, rather than directly on the street. The goal is to place the models and the products within a real context, and it’s even better if they can also tell little stories.”
© Amedeo Novelli | Sony α9 + 24mm f/1.4 GM | 1/160s @ f/5.0, ISO 200
Playing on his photojournalistic background and his channelling of street and social documentary themes in his fashion and commercial work, Amedeo loves to use wide-angle lenses, “especially the FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS, FE 24mm f/1.4 GM and FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA, which allow me to represent the subject in the context and draw on their environment,” but his kit also features more classic portrait lenses including the FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA and FE 85mm f/1.4 GM.
Most importantly however are the cameras which help him to draw his influences together and create stories; his α9 and α7R III. But what is the draw of using mirrorless bodies for work like this? Amedeo explains that quality is a huge factor.
© Amedeo Novelli | Sony α7R II + 55mm f/1.8 ZA | 1/1250s @ f/1.8, ISO 50
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Ultimately my photographic research always focuses on man. If I were forced to give a definition I would most likely use the term social, although in a very wide sense of the term. Everything about man interests me, from his emotions to his relationship with the environment. I chose a mirrorless system because it allows me to be both more discreet, and more responsive in grasping the emotions that I want to tell with my photography.hasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical. - Trent Parke