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Gianni Berengo Gardin – “What do you think constitutes a beautiful photo?”

Reading an interview with the Italian photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin, celebrating the Leica Hall of Fame Award, I find this part very interesting an inspirational. and I wanted to share it with you:

What do you think constitutes a beautiful photo?

I don’t like ‘beautiful’ photos. I think they’re totally useless. That’s something I’ve learned. I used to think “what a beautiful photo”, but one time, when I was still very young, Ugo Mulas was showing me his photos and I kept saying “what a beautiful photo” or “that’s a beautiful shot”.

The more I said those things, the more annoyed he got. Eventually, he said to me: “If you say that one of my photos is beautiful one more time, I’m kicking you out.”

Feeling a little embarrassed, I asked him: “But sir, how else should I show my appreciation?” He replied: “You should say they’re good. Beautiful photos might be aesthetically perfect and well constructed, but they don’t say anything. A good photo tells you things, stories…it communicates something. Beautiful photos communicate too, but what they communicate is useless.”

So from that moment on, I’ve always said “good photo” rather than “beautiful photo”.

Gianni Berengo Gardin

The whole interview is great and full of interesting concepts, but I find this extract to be particularly true and actual.  I will keep in mind every time I shoot a new picture!