Leandro Colantoni was born in Agrigento in 1991 and it is his land, Sicily, that is at the center of his artistic research. This is testified by his photographic series “Ultimo Paesaggio Siciliano“, through which he makes a careful analysis of culture and landscape. Objects linked to tradition, customs and eating habits accompany us on a journey of discovery of a place strongly linked to its past and its history, but which, despite this, is changing.
Fascinated by his work, we asked some questions to Leandro who told us how his passion was born, his style and much more.
Tell us how you approached photography. Is there a particular moment you remember?
I can’t focus on an exact moment, but I think that if today I’m obsessed with photography it’s thanks to Luigi Ghirri’s work, maybe unconsciously I decided to become a photographer after discovering his images. It was all gradual, about 5 years ago. I started studying self-taught photography from a Kodak encyclopedia of the 80s/90’s that I found myself at home, months before buying a camera. Maybe this also influenced my way of photographing, I only imagined the first photographs. With my first savings I bought my first camera, from there I started to photograph for real.
What is photography to you and what do you try to tell through your shots?
It is a complicated question, for me, photography is many things: it is language, it is research, it is intuition. I use it to express myself but also to investigate myself and everything around me. It is inevitable to attribute to my shots a documentary value compared to Sicily, the place where I was born and live, in part that is what I tell. But I like to think that everyone can find inside those images what they feel, I always want to leave to the observer the complete interpretation of the image.
Are there artists you follow or are you inspired by?
Sure, there are many artists I follow and inspire me. As I mentioned before, Ghirri, but also others like William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Guido Guidi, Jason Fulford, or more contemporary photographers like Sam Youkilis, Piero Percoco, Pat Martin, Sam Gregg and many others. Cinema is another discipline that for me is a very strong source of inspiration, I can mention the first authors that come to my mind as Wes Anderson, David Lynch, Michelangelo Antonioni, Win Wenders and many others, from a film enthusiast my list could become very long.
Your latest photographic series entitled “Ultimo Paesaggio Siciliano” is entirely made with an iPhone. What led you to prefer the phone camera to a camera?
Working, I couldn’t devote all my time to photography, to make the two things fit together I needed a photographic tool that was always with me in every situation, so I realized that the iPhone camera was perfect for what I wanted to do. It was a choice of convenience. Today I mainly use the one for photography, I like its aesthetics and I think it represents our time, but I don’t deny that I can change my mind, I started with a digital reflex camera, I also photographed with film, today I use an iPhone, tomorrow I don’t know, I’m very inclined to change. The important thing is to do photography, the instrument always takes second place.
Is there a shot you’re closer to? Can you tell us about it?
It’s difficult to choose one, in fact, many times you create a kind of detachment from individual photos, it’s not easy to explain. But I can tell you that I’m attached to the series “Ultimo Paesaggio Siciliano”, for me it’s like a visual testament on the last Sicily, which helped me to appreciate more the places where I live, with its people and its culture.
What advice would you give to those who want to approach photography?
First of all to have the passion and to believe in what you do without ever stopping, for any reason. Studying, in the academy if you have the opportunity if you can’t do it at home, but studying is important, today you can find resources everywhere. Do not be afraid to expose yourself, and even if criticism comes in, you must have the ability to turn it into teaching. Finally photographing, photographing and photographing with every means.