After visiting a beautiful photo exhibition, I ask Roberto Patrovicchio to join me for some coffee at the enchanting Caffè San Marco, one of Trieste’s historic cafés. I am keen to hear his opinion on the current state of professional photography in Italy. Roberto is an advertising photographer specialized in still life photography. Essential and minimalist, he constantly seeks what he calls “aesthetic silence” in his work.
While studying geology at University, he realized that discovering the world through research and exploration was no longer enough. He felt the urge to create, and eventually found in photography a privileged means of expression.
FR: From geology to photography: What is the reason for this turning point in your life? I suppose photography did no longer offer great job opportunities in those years…
In my student days I needed it both to document my field studies and to preserve the memory of the breathtaking landscapes I had the chance to admire.
However, I was eventually fascinated by the possibility of finding my own creative way of seeing the world. At the time I was not interested in the “professional” photographic situation. I was too concentrated on studying the images of the great masters of this art form.
FR: When did you start your career as a professional photographer?
I started as an assistant for a photo studio in my town specialized in concert and stage photography. It was extremely useful to learn how to shoot in difficult conditions, first on film and then in digital. I then moved on to studio photography in an advertising agency, where I focused on still life and advertising.
In 2005 I realized that it was time to follow my own personal path, so I opened my first photo studio.
FR: Do you think the profession of the photographer is still rewarding today? And what are the limits and satisfactions in the current market?
In my opinion, photography is always gratifying if it’s your thing. I love Monday mornings, working in the studio, knowing that something beautiful will happen. Today, photography has become too fast to follow. With thousands of images created every second around the world, professionals must go beyond an image of excellent quality. We need “authorship”, that is to create something unique in our expression. Plus, our role is changing: photographers are becoming creators of visual content, with increasing market demands and specializations (video, 3D, etc.).
FR: Let’s move on to your personal work. I really appreciate professionals who do not limit themselves to satisfying their client’s needs but find the time to develop their own ideas. It shows passion for their work.
To do research is to remember where we started, the amazement at the first images developed, the way the light gave meaning to our vision.
FR: Being free from the needs of the market allows you to concentrate on the purity of your vision. To what extent did your research influence your work?
My personal projects always lead to a new creative spark, that I can then apply to commissioned jobs. Furthermore, research always brings with it a good dose of fun and innovation, and both are essential to keep the creative flame alive even in jobs where technical competence is required but little “art”.
FR: What is photography for you?
It’s always creation and experimentation. I do not want to document reality, my aim is bringing to live my thoughts and ideas with images. Take for example “Aftertaste”: I spent more than one year searching for a way to visually represent the aftertaste of a wine, without taking a single picture. Then the idea showed up and a new artistic project was born.
Sometimes photography is a kind of therapy. It takes you into a world filled with quietness. My search for what I call “aesthetic silence” comes from this need to escape noise and superficiality, and then you can feel a sort of rebirth in your creation.
Senses, 2018. Stampa inkjet su Hahnemühle baryta FB, courtesy Italesse
Retrogusti – Schioppettino, cm 40 x 40 (con cornice cm 50 x 50). Stampa inkjet su Hahnemühle baryta FB
Big Bang Flour, 2018, cm 100 x 100. Stampa diretta su Alluminio Dibond
Portrait photographer, looking for the geometries of the human face, as well as the exchange of glances revealing the real soul. He collaborates with Juliet art magazine and Photo-Imago for the realization of photographic exhibitions.