Since the very start of my interest in photography, roughly three years ago, I was immediately attracted to street photography; it is a genre that allows me to do what I love most; that is, to capture specific moments in the lives of perfect strangers with one click of the shutter. In order to be able to move around freely and take photographs more discreetly, I use my smartphone. These days, there are smartphones with 8, 13 megapixel; more than enough to take clear, non-grainy photos that print out well – I print them 20×20 or 25×25. The latest Nokia, which I plan to try out soon, has more than 30 megapixel. When I go out, I usually leave the camera open on my phone, ready to use, to avoid having to waste time in preparation. I normally use the phone’s original camera, which has good image brightness, but sometimes I use ProCamera (faster and more precise) or Hipstamatic (for black and white images, or special effects), which are both available from the iTunes Store.
Once I’ve identified the subject for my shot (it could be something that is happening or someone in particular), I move closer (I NEVER use the zoom), switch the ring tone to silent and, pretending to look at my phone, I take the picture. I try to keep the phone in a horizontal position and as straight as possible, to avoid weird perspective effects (elongated faces and buildings with unrealistic proportions); I use the grid screen to help me by lining it up with points of reference. If I want to take a picture from below the subject, I pretend to tie my laces: I kneel down, touch my shoe and then look at my phone as if in surprise and take the picture. Then I get up and I’m ready for the next shot.
You find the best facial expressions on public transport: people still half asleep and kids on the way to school in the morning, and the tired faces of those going home after work in the evening. For these pictures, I use a different technique. I take pictures using my headphones… iPhone lets you take photos using the volume button, so, in the pretence of adjusting the music, no one notices that I’m taking a picture. I manage to get incredible close-ups because people have no idea you’re taking their photograph.
I try to keep my photographs as natural as possible, without too many post production-special effects; for some shots, I prefer to use black and white because it gives greater effect and, for me, it increases the pathos of the photo.
I always use apps to do any post-production of these pictures. My favourite is Snapseed, which is free on both iTunes and Android, the most used systems. Therefore, I never upload to a computer, but instead I work directly on my smartphone; from taking the picture to the finished image takes me around five minutes. Snapseed has a really simple and easy-to-use interface and, as well as the classic editing tools, it also allows you to add special effects, so it’s ideal for both those who like clean photos and those who like lots of added effects.
Raffaele Cavicchi; Instagram: @ralfmalf; 38 year-old photographer from Trieste; founder of GoodFellas IMP; works as an events reporter for both cinema and fashion; Imagelogger for Samsung.