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Learn From Experience: Mirko Frignani

Learn From Experience: Mirko Frignani

Apr 29, 2021

I’ m Mirko Frignani, I’m 35 and I was born in Montecchio Emilia in the province of Reggio Emilia.

From an early age, I was attracted to stories and images. I started in 2007 working in a photographic studio in Reggio Emilia whereas a self-taught I learned to photograph. The firm collaborated with a regional daily newspaper and I was in charge of news reports in the area Reggiano. In 2010 I moved to Milan where I completely changed sector and graduated in fashion at the New Academy of Fine Arts (Naba). I worked alongside and collaborated with the photographer Agnes Weber from 2011 to 2016. Photography has always been very present in my life and in my activities has evolved since my death father in December 2017.

I gave photography another role in my life: it allowed me to tell myself and to tell what words I have never been able to say. 2019 was a defining year for my work.In April my first solo show at the Ex-macello in Montecchio Emilia entitled “Non resta che guardare il cielo” inserted in the off circuit of Fotografia Europea 2019. I have a masters in contemporary photography directed by Mustafa Sabbagh at the Spazio Labò in Bologna (September 2020). Thanks to the master Sabbagh I understood how much photography limited me so I embarked on an artistic path where images are only a part of my projects. It is a path that fascinates me, enriches me and encourages me to show myself and tell what little I have understood from life so far.

Today I live and work between Montecchio Emilia and Milan.

What are the rules of your photographic work?

The world of classic photography, from which I come, is full of rules. I escaped from all these rules that imprisoned me and did not allow me to truly unleash my creativity. Now I try not to have any, they frighten me because I live them like stakes, restrictions.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

In 2020 I attended a master in contemporary photography which was coordinated by the master Mustafa Sabbagh. This meeting not only changed my job, but also my life. Mustafa is a person able to transmit the Passion to you, to teach you freedom of thought. He was able to destroy some barriers against me that I had been carrying on my shoulders for a long time. He managed to show me the world of photography and art from an unexpected point of view. I learned to let go of ideas, without holding them back, trying and trying again until I get to the mental image my ideas have built

When you photograph with your camera do you notice the same things you notice with your eyes or do your eyes capture what the camera doesn't allow you to look at?

I never shoot looking. I photograph through emotions. If I shoot and the image is powerful for me, I forget the nuanced details or the inaccuracies. For me, images must be the result of a feeling.

If you were to create an open call, a contest, what kind of theme would you give? What would you like to look at and why?

I would like to see projects with a theme of sexuality in all its facets. I think it is a very intimate and personal theme that moves emotions. Sexuality today is an immense and ever-changing world. Telling this evolution is certainly a difficult path that leads to an inner investigation

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with what tools do you use and prefer?

Over time my equipment has been reduced to the essentials: I use a Nikon d750 with two lenses, a Sigma 105 and a Nikon 24-120.

What do you think is highly conflicting with the concept of photography?

The great conflict in photography is given by photographers. Photography like other artistic fields has evolved through experimentation and through the use of other means that create new visual languages. Today many photographers do not accept this evolution and the only part of this conflict that is lost is precisely the photography sector still bound to old rules. Photography today is present in many contemporary art galleries, a sign that something is changing, very slowly, but I believe we are only at the beginning of an evolution that will see photography still protagonist but embellished by contemporaneity and not linked only to the concept that photography is memories.Are there any books you would recommend?

Two very interesting books are Fags by Jacopo Benassi published by Nero and Photographs and drawings by Paolo Ventura published by Silvana Editoriale.

Tell us about your creative process and if there are any particular techniques you use during your work. (If you have any photos of this, please send them as an attachment).

My creative process always changes according to the project I intend to carry out. Before starting, however, I always write a few thoughts on a notebook, do research, read a lot. I think it is important to make the shots first mentally in order then to facilitate the shots and it is thanks to this that I usually photograph very little. 

What do you do with the discarded photos?

I don't photograph much so I don't have a lot of scraps. The photos that I discard almost immediately because they distract me and make my final selection process unstable and make me feel insecure so I prefer to concentrate well and very carefully on everything that precedes the moment of the shots; fundamental are the lights, the set, and the subjects I intend to portray. When these three aspects are perfectly taken care of, sometimes a few photographs are enough for me to achieve my goal

Do you follow a particular photographer or magazine?

I follow with passion Ossigeno published by Nutsforlife Edizioni, a mix of art, cuisine, fashion and contemporaneity. I follow Mustafa Sabbagh with esteem and admiration. I try to follow or in any case to know mainly emerging artists and photographers such as Veronica Barbato or Alessio Barchitta (whom I like very much).

Mirko Frignani



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