Dec 15, 2012

Featured Mobile Artist–Andrea Barbarano

When I discovered the gallery of Andrea Barbarano @osokijack on Instagram, I had only one complaint – I want more!  Andrea’s main focus is black and white portraiture.  Instagram is a very friendly community and Andrea agreed to allow me to feature his work here on my blog. Below is my conversation with the very talented Andrea Barbarano.  (Photo captions taken from Andrea’s Instagram gallery).

© Andrea Barbarano
Karam (above)

© Andrea Barbarano
Monsoonic tales (above)
Geri: Where do you live? 
Andrea: I would like to introduce myself briefly. I am Italian (from Naples), 28 years old, but living in Sri Lanka since 2011. Thanks to my job (pilot) I usually travel a lot, mainly in Asia and in the Middle East.

Geri: How long have you been on Instagram?
I joined Instagram in July 2012. My initial effort was to upload pictures taken with my DSLR and edited with my laptop. In fact, at the beginning, I didn’t realize the real capabilities of mobile photography until I came across the gallery of Dilshad Corleone (a.k.a. @italianbrother); his work opened my mind… and from that day I completely changed my idea of “iPhoneography”.

© Andrea Barbarano
Watching cartoons (above)

Geri: How long have you been a "student photographer" as you call yourself on IG?
Andrea:  My journey into the photography world started in 2005. At the beginning I was equipped both with a digital and an analog camera. I was very fascinated by analog black and white photography and, as many other amateurs, I used to develop my BNW films myself. The creative process of developing and printing was often more exciting than taking the shots.  Still today I continue to study, to do experiments and to learn how to take good pictures thus I cannot find a better definition of myself rather than “a student photographer”.

© Andrea Barbarano
© Andrea Barbarano
Captain Alain (above)


Geri: You have so many beautiful portraits. Are most of these posed, are they candid shots or a combination of both?
Andrea: It's definitely a combination of both. In my opinion taking good portrait shoots requires both a good interaction with the subject and an instinctive feeling of the photographer. Nobody can really teach you how to interact and guide your subject through the shooting process. A little bit of interactive social skills are required… be shy as a photographer and you will lose plenty of good portrait opportunities.

To better answer your question, most of the time I don’t plan any strategy when I take pictures, I just try “to take advantage of the moment”. For example, a few weeks ago, in my parent’s home in Italy, I found an old bowler hat that used to belong to my grandfather. At the same moment my friend Antonio was coming to visit me and I immediately knew he would have looked great with that hat. Since Antonio is a good friend of mine I didn’t need to explain to him what I was going to do. I put him in front of a white wall with a desktop light on his face to create what in manuals is called the ”Rembrandt lighting”. My cousin, Odile was also in the room and she helped me to speak with Antonio and to set the right mood. We were laughing and playing around. Without any other input from us Antonio took the hat from the desk and started playing with it… and so the magic took place! (below)

Once again the key point is the interaction with people. If you speak with people then the people will speak back with you… even through your camera lens.

© Andrea Barbarano
Antonio (above)


Geri: Do you use the native iPhone camera or do you use a special camera app like Camera+ or ProCamera?
Andrea: ProCamera is my favorite one: It gives you the right amount of control on the shooting (when you need it) and it has some interesting features like the ISO boost (up to 3200 on the iPhone 5).

© Andrea Barbarano
Please let me introduce you... Sanjeev and his monkey (above)
© Andrea Barbarano
Apparently Sanjeev has also a snake…(above)


Geri: What are some of your favorite apps? Please tell me a bit about your editing process?
Andrea: I use my iPad to edit pictures but at the moment my editing process is very simple. Here is a small list of my favorite apps:
Basic editing/tuning: Snapseed / Laminar / Filterstorm / TouchRetouch / Denoise Me
Blur: Big Lens  / AfterFocus  
Black and white: Dramatic Black and White / Noir Photo 
Effects: PhotoToaster / Rays / RainyDaze HD / LensLight / LensFlare / Portrait HD / AutoPainter HD / Jazz! / Vintique / Mirrored
Transfer: PhotoSync
I always start editing with Snapseed and end with PhotoToaster (that I use a lot). If I have to layer different effects together, I use the excellent layers mask features of Filterstorm.

© Andrea Barbarano


Geri:  How would you compare iPhone photography to traditional DSLR photography?
Andrea: Photography is photography no matter what camera you use. This is my personal opinion but I know some will disagree with me. When I used to shoot on film I met people who hated digital photography… because in their mind “it was not true photography”. I think that the most important thing is to take pictures that can describe an interesting story, the camera you use to do that is not really important.
Technically speaking, I love the idea of a small camera that I can use everywhere (it's great for street photography!). The quality of the iPhone lens is very good and you have the opportunity to focus just on the composition.

Off course since I am a portrait lover I will always love the effect of a good 70mm lens set on a “big camera” :-)

© Andrea Barbarano

This gentleman was flying from Dubai to Singapore. He was quiet, polite and discreet. "He's a British businessman", I thought to myself. After five hours of flight I found out he was Italian (above)

© Andrea Barbarano
Otto (above)

Geri: Have you ever exhibited your work, if not, any plans for the future?
Andrea: I am an amateur photographer and this is what I would like to continue to be. But if somebody would ask me to do an exhibition with some of my pictures I would be honored and I would not say no, but I don’t want to take any profit out of it.


Geri: I am fascinated by the human face (and a few animals too - smile) and it seems you are as well. Have you always done portrait photography?
Andrea: Yes! I think that people are very interesting as subjects and I started taking portraits immediately since the beginning of my photographic adventure. I don’t think a portrait should necessarily depict the subject as it really is. The photographer has the right and the pleasure to discover different personalities of a subject and play with them… and this is something I love to do! For some reasons many people think that a picture should always show things as they are. It’s indeed a matter of personal taste but I see the whole photographic process like a creative one. Nowadays we have just switched our working lab from the classic dark room to our mobile phones.

© Andrea Barbarano
Mao a.k.a. Maolona (above)
© Andrea Barbarano

Thank you Andrea for sharing your photography and insight with me.  Looking forward to viewing more of your beautiful work.

Please visit Andrea’s gallery on Instagram @osokijack

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