“My photography and my life, are one and the same, I see it as an endless stream of moments with no beginning and no end.” – Francesco Gioia
Francesco Gioia is a rising London-based photographer, whose absorbing, candid images poetically capture the theatre of everyday life.
Gioia first caught the attention of our Editors in September last year, when his entry to our Street Photography Award was selected as a third prize winner by juror (Magnum Photographer) Richard Kalvar. Their interest was peaked further in December after his image was chosen by Carol Körting of Leica Fotografie International Magazine (LFI) as the first prize winner of our Open Call Award, and again in June, when he was a finalist of our Color Award judged by Brandei Estes: (Head of Photographs at Sotheby’s London).
Born in Florence in 1991, Gioia’s creativity was encouraged by his parents from an early age, and he first became interested in photography aged 20 when he took a job with a friend of his father’s at a local photojournalism agency. He was placed in charge of a priceless historical archive of over 3 million images (captured between 1944 and the early 90s by the founder Giulio Torrini) including, in Gioia’s own words “some of the most amazing photographs of Florence from the 50s and 60s”.
Shortly thereafter he moved to London, and it was here, on the frenetic streets of the English capital, that he honed his photographic practice. Inspired by the likes of, Garry Winogrand, Henri Cartier Bresson, Josef Koudelka, and Joel Meyerowitz, (to name but a few) as well as a deep curiosity in the world around him, he explored his new home, his camera in tow, educating himself on the principles of photography.
With acumen and artistry, he captures the minute details of everyday life on the city streets; those fleeting moments that to most, pass unnoticed, but seen through his eyes, engender a powerful sense of intrigue.
“My photography is based on the idea of transience and that everything to me is something that you can enjoy briefly… a transitory thing. It’s this instability and fugacity of time that fascinates me… ” – FG
Rich in color; bathed in shadows, and punctuated by fragments of light, they are invariably atmospheric, permeating with a palpable sense of drama that perhaps speaks to his love of cinema; more specifically: “film noir, german expressionism, the new Hollywood era, and Asian cinema”.
“In these moments that I capture, which are fleeting in nature, I try to record the specific light, the feeling of a particular day, the clothes people wore, the words that were spoken…” – FG
He flirts with abstraction, employing a litany of techniques such as creative framing; close-ups, or long exposures, which help convey the dynamism of the scene. Occasionally he shoots through windows, their surfaces partially obscured by reflections, light, or moisture, and invariably works intuitively, his approach ‘based on immediacy and instinct’ rather than the pursuit of a particular narrative, as to leave space for the viewer to react, and “bring their own perspectives.”
Though his works undoubtedly possess his own distinct sensibility, at times, one cannot help but recall the kaleidoscopic portrayals of New York City that the great Ernst Haas (a photographer whose work Gioia deeply admires) captured during the mid to late 20th century, or the poetic, painting-like masterworks of fellow early colorist Saul Leiter. Of course, he has a long way to go to reach the lofty heights of such notorieties, but his potential is unquestionable, as is his innate ability to transcribe moments of everyday life into absorbing images that stir the imagination; provoke questions, and rouse our curiosity.
“The best photographs for me are those in which there is something invisible, which can be understood through the visible part. Today there is too much of a tendency not to go beyond the level of the visible.” -FG
All images © Francesco Gioia