We are excited to share this exclusive interview with Italian landscape photographer Enrico Fossati. Inspired by romantic painters of past centuries, Enrico has created a dreamy portfolio that have made him one of the big stars among landscape photographers. He shows that the images are the result of hard work, planning and determination.
How did you get started with photography and what does it mean for you today?
I started taking pictures just for fun, and having always been fascinated by the world of graphics and special effects, I started to study photoshop in more depth. After years I can say that my approach has not changed even though my work is known for a certain style, and sometimes I feel like a prisoner of myself, but I will not change this belief that the only limits are the locations. Recently, I engaged in some educational projects although my main goal remains a strictly personal aesthetic research that goes beyond the trend.
As I understand, you work in the IT industry. Do you feel that your technical understanding has had an impact on your photography in any way?
Yes Christian, I’ve worked as an IT professional for many years and surely my work helped me a lot in the first steps of understanding photoshop and the numerous tools connected to it. I am used to be studying new products and watching video tutorials. This is for me a routine. This was just the beginning though, there is a huge difference between understanding how to use a tool in photoshop and when to use this tool.
Unlike many others these days you have a rather dark and moody portfolio, with few highly saturated sunsets. What is it about the rougher weather that attracts you?
My landscapes are deeply influenced by many factors, first of all I really love fantasy novels , and since a young age I’ve been reading genre of literature. The paintings of many great artists inspired by these books has deeply influenced my way to conceive landscapes and from those paintings came my love for dark themes with drama-like lights. A lot of my work are created in my mind a long time before I’m out in the field photographing. Another huge source of inspiration for me are the movies that strikes deeply in our minds, because unconsciously there are certain images that we are used to see in a certain way. For
example my night images are almost bluish with heavy colorcast and if you watch a movie with night scenes you will see a lot of blue tones inside the scenes. Our DSRL captures a unreal version of the night, much more unreal than my interpretations. Another source of inspiration for my photography comes from romantic painters of past centuries. My favorites are Bierstadt, Cole, Hoeme, Turner, Friederich and many others. I recommend everybody to spend some time viewing the masters of painting, they really know the meaning of “light”.
In your question you mention my work being different to the work of other photographers, due to the dark mood and mostly “bad” weather, honestly I don’t take care of what the current trends are. My landscape photography is my personal interpretation of nature, and I want to share with everyone my feelings and my dreams in that specific moment, bringing people into my dark and dreamy world.
What aspect of photography gives you the greatest pleasure and why?
This and hard question to answer. I really enjoy two aspects of my work. The first is in the field exploring new areas. Every time I go to a new place is truly exciting and when i discover a new location or simply a new subject that is suitable for the pictures I have in mind is a true joy, and the search for compositions too. Being in nature with some friends and enjoying every moment of the day from the dawn to night in enchanting remote area is priceless. The second aspect that I really love is give the “third dimension” to my captures. This is when I begin to transform my captures into my visions through photoshop. I find this very exciting and when the work is finished and every detail is fine tuned, I am always very satisfied, if I reach my goal. It is not always easy and many times I need to edit an image multiple times before publishing it.
You mention that you like adding the third dimension in Photoshop. Has using this software improved your photography?
That is a question that involves many of my interests, Surely one of my greatest sources of inspiration are the movies, I love watch movies especially fantasy and historical but only few of them are released per year so I love to watch them many times. I have forgotten how many times i have watched masterpieces like Gladiator, Braveheart or Lord of the Rings, but sometimes also less famous movies are a good source of inspiration just for a particular scene or a location. I love to visit locations that has been used in films, I remember my visit to Wales to explore the famous Fresh Water West beach or Naspoint where movies like Robin Hood from Ridley Scott, Harry Potter or Snow White and the Huntsman was filmed. It was thrilling!
Always related to the world of the cinema i love to watch the special contents on the making of is nice to see how the great directors have exploited locations, I was totally amazed by the work of Ridley Scott for the Kingdom of Heaven in Spain. Totally awesome! I collect art books of movies where I can find sketches and conceptual design of many of the locations, it’s very helpful for understand the power of composition.
Another source of inspiration are painters and artist. My “visual Bible” are the works of John Howe, his work is amazing and I grew with his paintings. Before becoming one the greatest conceptual designer of the world, thanks to his job related to Lord of the Rings, John was a freelance painter and his works has been used for many fantasy books and games, so every time i see one those paintings it’s just like an awakening of my most sweet memories of early youth. Besides John, who is particularly linked to my past, I love the paintings of many famous painters from the past like: William Turner, John Constable, Alber Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, Caspar David Friedrich, Karl Schinkel. Their works are simply astonishing, I can spend hours in watching all the details of their masterpieces. All photographers, landscape or not, should spend a little time watching the work of the masters of painting to understand the framing and how to use colors and light. It is very important and it was very helpful for me. In the end to reply to your answer i use Photoshop and various plugins to give my images a moody and cinematic look, because I am fascinated by a certain kind of imagery that filled my childhood dreams. My goal isn’t to recreate reality, but to make you dream too.
If you could go anywhere in the world to photograph and you could bring one person with you, where would it be and with who?
Another very hard question to answer. There are many, many places that I would like to explore and capture with my DSLR, but before heading out from my beloved Europe, I have to finish to exploring here. Many photographers are in love with exotic locations, but I think there are a lot of unexploited beauties not too far from our cities. A lot of places are simply forgotten and hidden from our eyes because of current trends. In the world of landscape photography there are always trending locations and a lot of people go to these places just to have in their portfolios that place regardless with the quality of the shot or the originality. I think this is sad, for me photography is a passion and not only business so for me it is very important shoot what I like and the trends come as a lower concern. Back to your original question, I would like to take a long tour along Europe from south to north with with my girlfriend and then after that New Zealand.
What is your top 3 tips to a person who has just started photography?
The first: Shot only what you like and what makes you happy . The second: Study composition deeply, it is very important in landscape photography and certain times more important than light. The third tips is to improve your editing skills, this is the key in our digital age to add to your images a personal touch. I will also add a 4th tip that is very important: Be patient, it takes a lot of time refining your skills, all of us need time for improving.
Editors note: I’ve had the opportunity to view Enrico’s processing videos and I’m blown away by the amount of information shared in it. He reveals new and unique methods to create a dramatic mood in your images. Learn how to process dark and moody images here.