An interview with Andrea Ratto

May 13, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

An interview with Andrea Ratto


copy right Andrea Ratto

Andrea was born in Genova (Italy) in 1976, he was based in A Coruña (Spain) since 2005.  Andrea have been attracted to photography from a young age. The camera has accompanied him on my trips across the world. In recent years  Andrea has been drawn to the street photography, which now he sees as means way to documenting society with a critical view.

In 2017 Andrea walked the streets of 26 European countries with my camera in a fully independent journey, taking about 85,000 photos.



copy right Andrea Ratto - Europa



RH: What attracted and inspired you to your current documentary project?


AR: For me, before getting into a project, it is essential to be attracted to it: in general there must be something that catches my attention and intrigues me to the point of deciding to investigate more. This has happened with "Europe" and now with the project in which I am working on: Gentrification in the Madrid district of Lavapiés. I also keep in mind how interesting and useful it can be for the general public or small communities.


RH: Can you talk us through the planning stage for your project?


AR: After having decided the theme of the project, a documentation phase begins that is very important because it prepares me to be more attentive to what I am interested in looking for, sometimes even in a subconscious way. My documentary projects are currently carried out with the use of a candid / unstaged photography, and for this reason it is a great help to be able to work without thinking too much when i stay out with the camera because, in other way, the risk is that i can lose a lot of what is happening. So I follow my instinct and what catches my attention the most. Well, if the initial documentation phase is kept alive during the realization of the project, what you need and what you are looking for will coincide with what instinctively catches your attention. Or so it works on me.


RH: Is there anything you wish you had done differently?


AR: I believe that it is always possible to do things in a better way. But ultimately when you do a photographic project, even if it is a documentary project, you will end up talking more about yourself than about something else. And when I did "Europe", I was the one that can be deduced by looking at the book. If you are asking me more simply for the realization of the project, obviously there are many things that may not go as planned and I think the more you can control the process and the better it will be. On the other hand you also have to be able to improvise and know how to change with the work already underway.

copy right Andrea Ratto - Europa

Implementation and Completion


RH: How have you dealt with any challenges and difficulties within your project?


AR: Very calm, I think the best thing is to forget everything and focus on a own vision.

The worst thing that can be done is to try to please others. My project wanted to look for the essence of contemporary European society, something very broad and undefined and if I had not focused on what I think and am, I would not have been able to move forward. From a more practical point of view, avoid thinking about going to get the perfect work can be a great help because it allows you to move forward and not block. I do not believe at all in the perfect photo and less in a perfect work, come on, I do not believe at all in perfection in general.


RH: How long do your projects tend to take from start to finish?   


AR: There is no general rule, each project is different. What I can say is that it is not something that can be scheduled in advance. Or at least, I do not like it that way. I am lucky to work on my projects in a completely independent way and I do not have dates to respect as if they were commissioned. I can think of spending time on a project but if it's going to take me twice as long then it does not scare me. "Europe" took me more than a year and a half and I had to deal with the problem of wanting to talk about contemporary "Europe" and for this I could not take 10 years to complete it. The Gentrification in Lavapiés project is still underway with the participation of sociologist Marta Morán and we may close it in just under a year.

copy right Andrea Ratto - Europa

Editing and Sequencing


RH: Do have several images to edit of one fleeting moment or do you have one well-constructed precise image that you have captured?


AR: It depends, I do not always work in the same way and I think it's important to stop and try new things sometimes. In general I usually get 2 or 3 images for each scene and I don’t wait long time in one place. Following what I said before I do not believe in a perfect image and I do not look for it. I am interested in capturing the scenes with naturalness to be closer to reality or at least to the idea of reality that i have.


RH: Within the editing stages, have you felt the project has taken on a different narrative than first envisaged?


AR: This is inevitable because the realization of the project always grows and matures the ideas that had at first and according to them is adapting the narrative form. The experience of the project is something that must be fully lived, it is a fundamental part of the project itself, it changes everything, constantly. Another thing is knowing how to shape the whole in the final phase of selection of photos and editing. I think that's where the project really takes its final form.

copy right Andrea Ratto - Europa

Tips and hints 


RH: What would you recommend for people starting their own photographic project?


AR: I can recommend not to be in a hurry and to be very sure of the argument because it is how to choose a job, then you have to do it. You are going to dedicate the most valuable thing you have, your time. So be a project that serves you first as a person.


RH: Does the camera really matter? 


AR: The camera is an instrument, nothing more, but I think that each one has to be comfortable with the one he uses. The most important thing in my case was that I used a fairly small camera because I had to travel a lot and it facilitated my transportation. On the other hand I think  the election of the lens is interesting because it confers a specific character to the pictures. I worked with a 23mm apsc almost all the time. But if you're asking me about brands, I can tell you that they're all good.


RH: Any books you would recommend reading to get the creativity started?


AR: I think the most inspiring thing is to see other projects and realize that they offer well-documented and, sometimes, unexpected points of view. If I have to recommend a book, I would say "About Photography" by Susan Sontag: and not only because of what the author says in the book, sometimes I do not agree 100%, but for the reflections she invites to do.


RH: Would you recommend attending photography workshops?


Yeah sure ! It also depends on who gives it and taking into account that not always a great photographer is a good educator and vice versa.

copy right Andrea Ratto - Europa

copy right Andrea Ratto - Europa


Find out more about Andrea's work






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