I was introduced to analogue photography as a kid by my father and with ups and downs, I've fiddled with cameras since the young age.
In 1993 I moved from Genova - where I was born in 1974 - to Milano to attend university; soon after my arrival in town I was involved in my first film production job, and at the end of my second year I quit economics to pursue a career in the film production industry.
For almost 20 years I have worked as a producer for TV shows and ADV and a director for broadcast and web documentaries and series; throughout this whole time, I regarded photography as a sort of visual sketchbook.
It was around 10 years ago that I stepped into professional photography as a sport and landscape photographer on golf courses, and on those very locations I started exploring the reign of invisible light and Infrared Photography, which is now at the heart of my work.
After a few years of experimenting on infrared landscapes, I've switched my focus to architectural photography and how IR light responds to different materials and light conditions.
From 2017 I have produced a consistent body of work mainly focused on Architecture and Minimal Landscape.
I didn't attend any photography school: my knowledge comes from my field experience as a film producer and director. Fun fact: during my first years as a photographer I really struggled with portrait mode, as I was used to seeing the world through the cinematic frame, in landscape mode.
My experience with Infrared Photography comes from years of personal research and field experimentation, supported by a basic knowledge in physics and maths: in fact, you can't totally rely on what your eyes see when you deal with infrared light. It is a trial and error process that is still ongoing.
I work with DIY modified cameras; I disassemble the camera down to the sensor, remove the filter that blocks infrared light, and put everything back together. I then use a range of different filters that cut off the visible light at different points of the spectrum, depending on the light condition I'm working with and the final effect that I want to achieve.
I've always been a Nikon guy, but recently I switched to Fuji XT mirrorless system, which is very helpful when working with IR, as you're not able to see through the viewfinder of a traditional DSLR with an infrared filter mounted on the lens.
Fame and wealth, of course.
Just kidding. I can't really think of a long-term goal: what really drives me is the continuous research and experimentation that is at the heart of Infrared Photography. Naturally, I'm always happy when I take part in an exhibition or when I'm awarded a prize. I hope I can inspire some other people and show them some aspect of the world under a never seen light...
It's an episode that happened recently, during a shoot on the golf course for some sporting event (every now and then I go back to my origins).
A guy came up to me and told me that he was sure that he had seen me before: I thought that we had met at some golfing event in the past and that I portrayed him on the course, but in fact, he recognized me for a video on YouTube where I give a talk on infrared photography. I begged him to ask me for an autograph, but even if he didn't I was touched by the fact that my talk inspired his interest for IR.
I like the idea of taking a picture of something that is not exactly what I see with my eyes; I like the fact that once you've taken the shot you only are at the beginning of a process and that each time it will be slightly different; I enjoy the experimental part of the work involved in each and every step of the workflow.
I am fascinated by the idea that what I show in my pictures is technically invisible to the naked eye.
Invisible light of NYC is part of a long-term project on the world's most iconic buildings and landmarks. I've shot this series in October 2019 during a trip to New York City; at that time I was experimenting with a filter that was quite new to my work, and during the shoot I wasn't totally sure of the final results. Back home in Italy, I started post-producing the shots and I realized that the results were pretty interesting and prone to a sort of minimalist look that has often been a focal point in my research.
I knew that my pictures could be appreciated as a series on NYC architecture but honestly, I didn't expect to receive such a response and to be awarded as the Photographer of the Year.
I am really happy that all this happened, and it's a true confidence booster.
Michale Kenna, for his minimalist style. I love his work and try to adapt his guidelines into my own work.
Lee Jeffries; though I'm not a portrait photographer, his BnW style is amazing and his portraits are so intense.
Unmesh Dinda; he's a postproduction expert rather than a photographer. Postproduction plays a fundamental role in my workflow and even though Unmesh has never done anything specific on IR, under his guide I was able to take it to another level.’
Though it may sound in contrast with what I've just said, I've followed - and I'm still following - my own passion and interest. Infrared Photography is a very small niche, but I've left everything else behind (I'm talking about event and sports photography) in order to dive deep into what really gives me the thrill of being a photographer. Do what you like, not what other people like.
Even though I'm not really a social media guy, I think that social media plays a fundamental role in keeping up-to-date. Still, this is just the starting point and not the end of the story, it's what should light the sparkle and stimulate to dig deeper into a topic.
It's not easy to navigate through such a huge amount of information, and it's hard work of researching and cutting off dead branches.
Raffaele Canepa and his extraordinary perspectives on infrared photography pushes him over his personal boundaries.