Andrea de Franco is a photographer based-in Lecce, Italy who shoots mostly film and loves illustration. We featured his work here on Shooting Film once, and now we have a talk with Franco to ask him more about his work and his passion for film photography.
Hi Andrea, can you tell us more about you?
Hi Hmoong and thanks for the interview. I'm a 24-year-old guy from Southern Italy; I got a graphic arts degree this summer and I'm currently studying Illustration in Urbino, a very, very, very little cold city in northern Italy. I like taking photographs as much as I like drawing or playing music; I also like to fill up my free time with freelance work, friends, food and books.
Since when did you do photography?
I remember taking snapshots with compact and disposable cameras in my childhood, in 2000 my best friend gave me a polaroid but it started for real in 2006, when my friends gave me a Lomo camera and I got very curious about it. I asked everybody how does exposure work, learned where to get the cheapest films and acknowledged that a lot of people in the world are developing their films and printing their photographs. I was completely ignorant about it.
I've seen a darkroom for the first time four years ago, in the fine art academy I went to. I attended a photography course that was totally focused on digital techniques to my contempt, so I asked my teacher to use the darkroom and for a year I had a semi-abandoned free darkroom full of chemicals and papers all for myself. At the same time my best friend took darkroom lessons in Turin, and that was the time for us to build our own darkroom - that's two years ago. When I got the basics for developing and printing and got some decent cameras I decided to completely focus on getting good photographs.
Are you a full time photographer or is it just a hobby?
I do not wish to make a job out of it but I do not like the word hobby either… it makes me think of nerds sharing technical data, shooting their food everytime they have lunch and spending money on stuff with strange names. I prefer to consider it a lovely way to acquire more knowledge, feed my brain, meet nice people, doing weird things. It's very funny and it may reveal unexpected aspects of things around me. It may reveal something particular about people and friends, or show something so relevant to have an actual impact on people. There's an ocean of possibilities in photography, it may be a plain surface, a broken glass, soft skin, chocolate, anything.
What inspires you?
I have a long list of photographers, musicians, artists, illustrators, calligraphers, foods, places and people I love… putting some order to my brain is a mess, so I'll put it out random: Gabriele Basilico, parmigiana, Franco Matticchio, Mark Peckmezian, Yves Klein, Guy Delisle, pomegranates, Jonathan Safran Foer, footwork dance, Karel Martens, the story of the madman monk and calligrapher Ingen Ryuki, pasta, Eugene Robinson, zines, Jeremy O'Sullivan, Claudia Moroni, espresso coffee, Piet Mondrian, cave paintings, Werner Bischof, Tullio Pericoli, Ernest Hemingway, the band ISIS, crazy girls, Saul Steinberg, butter biscuits, high-volume guitar amplifiers, Carsten Nicolai, Daniel Clowes, Nadar, walking in a forest with my friends, Oren Ambarchi, jamming freejazznoise with my friends, breadmaking, crazy girls, Erik Satie, Brassaï, have I already mentioned crazy girls? And my exquisite quartet of friends Antonio Di Summa / Marzia Fino / Daniele Argentiero / Gabriele Fanelli that taught me a lot of stuff. To put it boring, he most recognizable inspirations in my photographs are neotopography and erotic portraits. Mixing weird, relevant places and girls may yeld strange results.
Do you have projects in future in photography?
I've lately resized my work to mostly snapshots because I just moved plus the school I'm in is a pretty tough one. I thought it would be boring, but I love to get the most out of a pocket-sized, automatic camera - it's really challenging. I'll definitely keep on exploring the relationships between female body and graphic compositions, I'm very happy with the results of my latest shoots with my friends Maura and Beatrice. I'm still exploring this new 'city' to find its interesting, weird angles. Being immersed in nature, it was easy to get a handful green pictures. For some times I've been happy to justapose portraits and landscape, but I think that I'm sort of naturally trying to merge these two aspects. I also hope to publish in the near future.
What tips can you give other film photographers?
Do whatever you like to get whatever result interests you, but please do not waste your time on buying cameras. Used cameras are getting so expensive and we all have plenty of them. Spend your money and time on books and film and your friends. Argue, criticize, communicate and leave all the crazy girls to me.
Andrea, thank you so much for the interview!