Giorgio Giussani is fascinated by the unpredictability of analogue photography, but for him celluloid film’s inherent volatility isn’t enough to fully satisfy his creative desires. Instead, he choses to experiment with adding extra chemicals into the darkroom process to take his images in new and unforeseen directions.
When and why did you start shooting pictures?
I found my very first analogue camera during a trip to Stockholm around 8 years ago. It was a bright red HOLGA camera. I didn’t have a clue about film photography but decided to give it a try and it was love at first sight; a great camera that I still use! I shoot pictures because it’s part of who I am. I always carry a camera in my backpack and I just have fun!
What is it you love about film photography?
I love the unpredictable results. I love being creative with films; I recently started destroying my films and treating them with all sort of products from cleaning products to gasoline. I love the grain of the films and the depth. There is something unique and timeless about film photography that cannot be replicated with digital.
What are you passionate about – interests, hobbies outside of photography – and how does this inform the images you take?
I am very passionate about travelling and this works perfectly with film photography. In the past couple of years I have been travelling all over the world with my toy cameras, capturing different cultures and amazing landscapes. I managed to shoot around 100 films on my latest two month trip to Africa. A year later I’m still processing them, but it is so nice to see all these memories appearing again on the negatives months later.
I also love graphic design and typography. In the past couple of weeks I started a technique where I apply typography directly by hand on negatives before scanning. It is very tricky as each letter is 3mm wide! I also love abandoned places, I visited old mental hospitals and factories in the past year, very interesting places!
Who or what inspires your work? Any other photographers?
I usually get inspired by the places I visit. When I am not travelling I hardly take any pictures, but if I do travel then I get inspired to start shoot again. I love the work of many photographers, but my favourite has to be Terry Richardson.
What do you do for a living and how does photography fit into your life?
For a living I work in the creative industry, photography is just a hobby. It’s my own project where I am not limited by a client’s budget or restrictions. I can do what I want, I can experiment and do it at my own pace.
How do you share your work? Zines, books, exhibitions, blog etc? And what’s the editing process like for you? Are you trying to tell stories with your images? What are those stories?
I mostly share my pictures on my Facebook and on my Flickr page. I also started publishing a collection of books called Around the World with a Toy Camera and each edition is compromised of analogue photography from a specific place. The first one is about London street art and the second is based around my trip to Chernobyl. I am also working on a separate book that is purely about my experiments in destroying films with chemicals. Most of my pictures are linked by the stories of my travels and the people I met during my long journeys.
Are your photos staged/posed or documentary? Can you describe why you choose to shoot in this way?
Most of my pictures are not staged, unless I am working on a photo shoot. It is really difficult to say why I decide to take a picture of a specific thing. I usually don’t think; if I like the subject I will take a picture, it is a very natural approach. If I have to think too much about taking a picture I will probably lose that moment. The only negative side to this approach is ending up with 100s of negatives to process at the end of each trip!
If you had to take one photo that summed up your view on life, what would it capture?
It would capture an abandoned amusement park; with all the rides rusty and half broken and nature taking over the whole place. Probably a very dark view…. but I love abandoned places, they are abandoned but still full of life!
Check out more of Giorgio’s work.