Leandro Colantoni, self-taught Sicilian photographer that depicts the soul of everydayness.
Leandro Colantoni is a self-taught photographer based in Agrigento. Born in 1991, his journey of discovery strongly linked to its past and its history. Following his own instinct, Leandro is constantly seeking for change. His work focuses on his intuition and situation that surrounds mainly with cultural documentation of everyday life, using an iPhone as the main photographic medium at the moment. His imagery often reflects a certain nostalgia, endeavor to show his working process of the past to give meaning to the present and future.
Hi Leandro! It is my upmost pleasure to do this interview with you. Let’s begin with a general question. How and when did you discover yourself as someone who wants to make photographs?
I started shooting actively between 2015 and 2016 while I was working in the field of image. And photography was the discipline that attracted me from the very start. One of the first things that I bought with my first savings was a camera, which I already knew how to use because I studied photographic techniques from a Kodak encyclopedia of the 90s that I found at home. So I already knew how to take a photo without still having to learn it. The first photos are only images. Then I continue to study as a self-taught until I discovered the work of Ghirri which I still consider the artist who inspired me the most.
Knowing that Luigi Ghirri’s Kodachrom motivated you to pursue your artistic practice. You observe a lot on the beauty and simplicity of everyday life in your photography. Can you talk a bit about the importance including such context in your work and what meaning it brings to your images?
I have always been drawn into the everyday life, in the ordinary, in simplicity for they are fundamental characteristics for the work that I want to develop. My purpose is to create a simple photograph with the limit of an amateur that has the ability to reach everyone. I do not want a photograph that is too hermetic, metaphysical and difficult to understand for those who are not in the sector. I want it to be pure. In some trivial aspects, it speaks a language that is understandable to everyone.
You use your iPhone as the main photographic medium. Why is that?
Yes, today I mainly use an iPhone to take photo. But I do it only for convenience and because it is compatible with this type of photography that is so spontaneous. But this is not the end point as I am very keen on changes. I started with a digital SLR, then I experimented with film. Nowadays, I shoot with an iPhone, maybe tomorrow I will shoot with an optical bench. What matters at the end is to take photography, the tool we use is just a small attribution.
Your work categorizes in various divisions. I see instances of chance as part of fundamental roles in your work. A haphazardness which encloses somehow spontaneity in which the everyday life, the sculptural and the nature become key concepts of the creative process. Obviously, there is a specific choreography in it. What inspires you to approach in this direction?
It is intuition that pushes me in certain directions. By reviewing the archive after a year, you realize that your gaze follows a particular pattern, and it is done unconsciously. The maestro Stephen Shore teaches us that every photographer has a mental plan with which one organizes one’s images, and one does it through the result of urges given by the reality that we live, by influences and intuition.
Is there a certain message that you would like to transmit from your work to the viewers?
No, I never want to convey an obvious message. I want to leave the viewers the space to interpret the image as he/she wants… a bit like it is done with music or poetry. Everyone should hear what one wants. Certainly, there are images that have a strong documentary value, which speaks of culture, the landscape and the people who live here in Sicily.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am photographing a lot in this period, the current situation we are experiencing has given me more time to devote to photography. I can’t tell you what I’m working on because I still don’t know yet. As I explained to you before, I rely fondly on my intuition. I will find out in a year as soon as I look at the archive and I will understand where I was going. Then from there, if I can find a connection with everything, if I see a pattern, in that case a project is born.