SHOOT YOUR SHOT
– A LivinCool guide by Emanuele D’Angelo
Properly known as Emanuele D’Angelo, his main hustle is photography – shooting familiar starlets from Emily Ratajowski to Rosie Huntington Whiteley, and creating imagery for Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Having self-published two documentary photo books, it’s a no brainer that this guy’s clientele is imparted to a currently relevant and well-curated vision. We spoke to him on a car ride to Choi Hung Estate, where he shared his secrets to getting the right shot.
Emanuele, how would you describe your aesthetic?
It’s raw, real with minimal retouching. You can tell I have a relationship with all my subjects: spending time with them allows you to create chemistry and capture them in intimate moments – the value of that is something you can’t imitate.
What’s your take on film versus digital?
I started with digital, but when I got a point and shoot film camera a couple years back, that’s when I started to shoot film more often. The main reason why I started shooting film was in the colors, it’s a different feeling. When I shoot digital, you have the liberty of taking too many photos, and the editing process is longer. With film, you must be more thoughtful.
What’s the most important factor to you when you shoot?
Lighting. The usage of light makes 90% of the photo. I mostly shoot in natural light, so the timing counts. Like how sunrise and sunset would be more ideal than 12pm to 1pm. I also love shooting neon lights, whatever comes from the night on the streets.
You’ve got a nice sensitivity to colour, how much colour grading and retouching do you do?
I prefer photos that don’t stray too far off from reality, so I do minimal retouching, but it depends on the project – like shooting an ad campaign requires more work. I gravitate towards documentary style photography, and I like the warmer tones that film can give off.
How do you make sure to keep subtlety? Your photos are sensual, but never raunchy.
I always keep this concern in mind, I don’t like photos that are too sexual. I think it comes down to my main goal being the images of women should be for women. I’m a straight, male, Italian photographer – so having that softer point of view, makes it empower and aspirational, rather than catering to the boys. Two years ago, my Instagram ratio was 70% male and 30% female, now it’s 60% female and 40% male.
Your equipment was held back by TSA, they’re only allowing you to keep one camera. What’s your set up?
Well in that case, I’d want my film rolls back more than the camera! I always tell people it’s not about the camera – because if you don’t have an angle, vision, or sense of light, the machinery doesn’t work. At the end of the day, it comes down to how you use your own set up.
What’s something you wish people would take away from your work?
I would like them to be timeless, photos you’ll remember 50 years from now. To be honest, even the fact that we’re sitting here, in Hong Kong, having people out here interested in shooting with me, I already appreciate that a lot.
Three people you’d be down to shoot if given the opportunity?
Bob Marley, Notorious BIG, and Nelson Mandela.
How do you keep a good partnership with your subjects and what makes you want to reshoot someone?
I meet certain people at a given time, whether it be at the beginning of their career or just through instant connection. It also depends on the environment you’re in, sometimes the atmosphere makes it difficult to shoot someone, there should be a certain level of respect for one another. I’m fortunate enough to have a good personal relationship with most of the subjects I shoot.
Images courtesy of Emanuele D’Angelo
Interview by Keefe Tiu