London-based photographer Tommaso Carrara has a talent for extracting wonder and intrigue from the doldrums of everyday living. He is able to capture real candid moments that are a true and sometimes homourous reflection on everday life. His body of work shows a sympathetic eye which gives his photos a real sense of playfulness and candour. We sent Tammaso some LomoChrome Metropolis 35 mm film and asked him to put his skills to the test on the streets of London. In this article, he talked to us about what street photography means to him and where he gets his inspiration from.
Hi Tommaso, please tell us a bit about yourself?
I am an Italian Information Security expat who moved to the United Kingdom 12 years ago mainly driven by career progression. I have always liked beautiful photographs, but I had never been interested in 'making' photographs. Until December 2018 when, following the end of a relationship, I felt the need to investigate my inner thoughts and try to somehow explain what was going on. This is when I bought myself a proper camera and began self-learning about how to actually operate it.
What made you decide to focus on street photography?
Street photography is the most accessible and yet one of the most fascinating genres in my opinion. A good street photo, to me, conveys emotions and makes me wonder. As such, this is why I spend most of my free time, as an amateur photographer, on the streets. Street photography can be many things, and it is oftentimes difficult (and probably not a good idea) to define. This is also one of the reasons why it is, to me, so attractive.
How did you discover shooting with film and what is the appeal?
I generally shoot with my digital Leica M10-R , although shortly after the beginning of the pandemic, I went deeper into film photography and processing and found myself enjoying it for its signature look and image quality. Standard film boasts impressive image quality, with greater variation between light and dark.
This is particularly pronounced in B&W photography. When working with film, you’ve to make decisions that have a considerable impact on the end result. This starts with the choice of camera - format, features and technical possibilities and limitations, ending with the film grain. As this is a passion of mine only born recently, I do not possess an academic background related to visual arts, instead I am a self-taught photographer. My main source of inspiration is not limited to photographers but also includes painters and film directors: Brassaï, Saul Leiter, Joel Meyerovitz, Edward Hopper, Alfred Hitchcock.
How did you get on shooting with the Metropolis film and what did you choose to shoot?
I found Metropolis to be very forgiving when it comes to recovering shadows, something fairly unique. Its filmic and grunge-like style is also something that got me interested, not to mention the flexibility of being able to shoot at multiple ISO based on needs. For the two rolls of 35 mm Metropolis I decided to hit the streets with my Nikon F2 + 24 mm f2.8 during a sunny weekend in London.
What's the best advise you would give to someone wanting to shoot good social documentary photos?
To give themselves time to understand what their voice looks like and what they really want to say with their photography. This is something I struggle with too all the times, I am still working on finding my "voice”. Storytelling with a single frame is also very difficult, but working on a project can help tell stories we care about. It is indeed critical to embark into topics that really matter to us.
What's coming up next for you?
I am just back from holidays, away from the busy streets, on the Faroe Islands, but I am currently working on a project which is still in early stages. Rest assured it will be shot on film, of course.
To see more of Tommaso's work visit his Instagram page.