All images by Michele Palazzo. Used with permission.
Photographer Michele Palazzo aka “StreetFauna” is an Italian and currently living in NYC. During the day, he is an UX Design Director for a Tech Startup, but has a huge passion for street photography. “I’m afraid this passion will drive me insane someday!” he says.
I discovered his work through EyeEm, and fell in love with his perspective of the streets, the interactions between people, and his eye for catching those little moments that slip by the rest of us.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Michele: I started taking pictures when I was in high school, many years ago in Italy. My first camera was a Nikon FM that I borrowed from my father. Back in the days I used to develop and print photos at home in my improvised dark room, and I can still recall that feeling of anticipation from every image I was about to develop. Ever since then photography became an inseparable part of my life, and along the way my focus and style have also changed and evolved.
At the beginning my main interest was about travel, geometry and some portraits. During my years at University of Architecture in Venice, Italy, my main focus naturally shifted to architecture and buildings. After graduation, I started my own web agency in Bologna and I began to specialize in User Interface and User Experience Design. As a result, the switch to digital photography was an easy step and with that I started explore the editing process of digital photography.
Phoblographer: What made you want to get into street photography?
Michele: New York City did! It’s such an unique city with so many stories to be told, and those stories triggered a new stimulus for my passion when I moved here 5 years ago. I’m not a writer but I’d like to consider myself a visual storyteller. I like to watch people and travel with my imaginations in their lives. My photos are tied to people and their movements and emotions, I’m interested on those little quirks that connect us as humans. It’s that sort of mundane daily things I want to document, and slowly it became a daily routine for me. It makes the world a little closer, especially in NYC.
Phoblographer: When you’re shooting images, what often motivates you to actually shoot? Is it lighting? Is it the people? Geometry?
Michele: It is first the people then the light. My pictures are not necessarily about beauty, but more about hunting people in this ‘concrete jungle’. I like strong contrasts, comic situations, and interesting faces, and this is often reflected in my style: the high-contrast look and the intimacy of the subject. I always have a little camera with me and I’m ready to use it.
Phoblographer: You used to do lots of black and white work and these days you do more color work. Why the switch?
Michele: Black and White is my background and is very good for street photography, while color could often distract the viewers from the subject. Having said that, I don’t like to restrict myself from either B&W or color. Rather, it entirely depends on the subject. Sometime there’s a nice color popping out and I’d like to enhance that, but when the composition is more important then I would switch to black and white – whichever can let the personality shine through the picture.
Phoblographer: How many photos do you usually shoot before you actually pick one you want to edit and upload to EyeEm or Instagram? What determines whether or not an image makes it to your final cut?
Michele: I’m getting more and more critical of myself, so I actually try to choose only the photos that are unique. But it’s always difficult for me to choose from my own work; in a ideal world it would be nice if someone can choose for me. In terms of ratio we are talking about 20 something pictures taken vs 1 or 2 edited and published on EyeEm and Instagram. Still too kind to myself 🙂
Phoblographer: How do you plan on improving yourself, your craft and your following over the next year?
Michele: Well I think I’m still behind the famous 10,000 photos that Henri Cartier-Bresson was talking about, so I’m still in the worst part of my job. Shooting shooting shooting 🙂
My photographs are like a puzzle of life fragments. Until I’ll feel this urge and necessity for shooting I will keep going and I will push myself closer to the subjects and I will try to be more and more critic with my results so I will publish only what is really worth it. Until then bear with me!