“I transform an image into an hourglass, where reality is mixed with emotions” stated Italian landscape photographer Francesco Gola in an interview with Hahnemühle about his long-term exposure photography. The emotions in the viewer triggers an excellent print on his favourite Hahnemühle paper Francesco Gola is convinced. Read here what paper he favoured and why.
Since I was young I had a great interest in photography, but it’s only from ten years now that I can consider me a really passionate, that is when I bought my first DSLR camera with my first paycheck! It was like if someone gave to me the keys to the whole world!
How did you come to the world of landscape photography?
When you buy your first camera you start taking pictures of everything, because it’s like being a child who sees the world for the first time. The more time passed, however, more I realised to be incredibly fascinated by the wonderful landscapes in which I loved to wander in my leisure time. In the nature I found the peace I was looking for, and photography allowed me to transform my emotions into images.
Which of your projects/motifs opened the door to the art market/professional market?
Among landscapes, I’m sure that seascapes allowed to express myself at best. I was lucky too, because for three years I had the chance to live in the wonderful Gulf of Poets, near the town of La Spezia, in Italy. Here I had the possibility to train constantly improving my skills. After some time I got the first contact with some big companies, and they literally opened to me the doors of of professional market.
Who inspires you most?
At the beginning of my photographic activity I was inspired by those that are considered the sacred monsters of photography, like Steve McCurry or Sebastiao Salgado, but to be honest I found the true inspiration attending the online photographic communities.
So I fell in love with the travel photography of Elia Locardi, the perfect light control of Dimitry Ageev, the incredible black and white world of Nathan Wirth, the maniacal study of the geometry of Joel Tjintjelaar…and I could go on for hours.
I found my world in seascapes, and in long exposures my style. I love this technique, because working with long exposures I realised that you don’t freeze just a moment, but an entire period of time. You can transform your picture in an hourglass, where the reality is mixed with emotions.
What is most challenging about shooting landscape photography?
I believe that the most challenging aspect of landscape photography is that you have to live together the idea that you cannot control everything. You can have the perfect gears, you can plan every detail of your trip, you can find the perfect composition, but you’ll never be able to control weather condition or, in other words, the light. For a great shoot, everything has to be perfect. Unfortunately photo shoots don’t always turn out fine all the time. Indeed, they are definitely more times that it goes wrong, but it’s the nature of the beast, and it’s ok. At the end the most important thing is to enjoy the moment and the nature that surrounds us.
How important is the printed presentation of your works of art?
As I’m a “digital native”, when I started with photography I have not even considered the possibility to print a picture. After I had the possibility to look at some high end printed pictures, I reconsidered my position as I understood the incredible potential of prints: a new world’s door was opened to me! Today I’m no more able to think about an image if not in the printed version, because prints in my opinion are literally the third dimension of photography. For the images up to A3+, I print them by myself. For bigger sizes I rely exclusively on Hahnemühle certified laboratories.
It was not so easy to find what now I consider the perfect paper, but thanks to the incredibly useful sample books and some tests, I fell in love with the amazing Photo Rag® Ultra Smooth. I believe that’s the perfect choice for long exposure images: the matt effect, the absence of textures and the deep of blacks are perfectly balanced to create that three dimensionality I told you before. As soon as you try this paper you can’t live without it!
Do you have a dream project you would like to realise sometime?
I have a lot of projects, and even more dreams! Among them one day or another I would really love to be able to set up a personal exhibition in an renowned location, maybe signing for the visitors my pictures on my favourite paper… Yes, fortunately dreaming is still free!
In this moment I’m planning some new photographic trips that will bring me across the north of Europe in the next few months, I really hope to capture new lovely seascapes there! But between booking an airline ticket and another, why not to print some other image?