Interview with Professional Fine Art Photographer and Retoucher Giovanna Griffo

Interview with Professional Fine Art Photographer and Retoucher Giovanna Griffo
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Could you share with us an image that you’ve taken recently and talk us through the idea, the meaning behind it and how you shot it?

I have always thought that taking a good picture when you are travelling far from home it is extremely difficult. You know almost nothing about places you are going to discover, and often you cannot come back another day if weather conditions are not good enough, so you have to be very lucky and try to do your best to get a good picture. I was travelling around the United States by car and one of my milestones was to visit Mammoth Lakes area in California. I got in Mammoth Lakes very late in the afternoon after a 400 km roadtrip and I was really longing to get a night shot due to the very clear mountain air (2400 m above sea level) hoping to find the best place to have a beautiful scenario for the Milky Way. That evening only 20 minutes of darkness would have been available to shot the Milky Way since moon would have risen just later (you can hardly see the stars with a full moon), so I had to do my best in this short time. However, taking pictures of the Milky Way it is not that easy: - You have to scout a nice location having the south side of the sky free (Milky Way rises on the South) - The location has to be interesting, hopefully with a good foreground, not just the sky as a background. - You have to pray for clear sky! It is very difficult finding such a place if you are in a foreign country in a place you have never been before... and you have to find it before it gets dark! I was so lucky finding this little lake with a nice south side where the Milky Way standed clear just in between the mountains you can see in the background! To realize this shot I shot two different exposures: one very long exposure low ISO during the blue hour, where you can see some light before is completely dark, and one long exposure at very high ISO in complete darkness where you can see clearly the stars and the Milky Way. I used the first shot for the foreground, and the second shot for the background, I merged the two shots in Photoshop.
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Most of your photographs showcase positive atmosphere due to its colors. So, I'd like to ask if you are self-taught in post production or was learning Photoshop a part of your formal education?

It is not part of my formal education, I am almost self-taught since I have been using Photoshop for about 23 years and I still love to use it just the as I have loved to develop my films in the dark room a very long time ago!
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One of the challenges that most people hear about photographers is not being able to earn enough money. Is it easy to be a photographer in Italy? What are the obstacles you've encountered and how did you cope with them?

Sure it is difficult being a photographer for a living, but it is not impossible. Here in Italy wedding photography is the most profitable photography business, but it is not the one I think suits for me. I love travelling and taking pictures following my aims and visions and I do really love teaching! So I chose to teach photography and postproduction in workshops and I can have a profit also in selling my pictures for international agencies.

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