Interview With Renzo Cicillini From Switzerland

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Renzo Cicillini

Renzo Cicillini is a Swiss photographer who discovered his passion for photography in the beauty of landscapes and seascapes. He takes a minimalist approach to his work, striving to capture the essence of tranquility in his images. Renzo Cicillini often revisits the same subjects to capture the varying interactions of natural elements.

Interview With The 2023 New York Photography Awards Winner – Renzo Cicillini

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

Hello, my name is Renzo Cicillini, and I am a passionate photographer in my spare time, living in Switzerland. My journey into the world of photography began quite organically, as I was constantly drawn to the breathtaking landscapes and tranquil scenes near my home, as well as to the various places I visited around the world.

Growing up in Switzerland, I was always surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Alps. Unfortunately, we don't have the sea in Switzerland, but we do have beautiful lakes. However, when I am abroad, I also enjoy photographing the peaceful shores of the sea. These environments sparked my initial interest in capturing the world around me. I began experimenting with photography, first as a hobby and then increasingly as a form of artistic expression.

What really fascinates me about photography is its ability to capture the essence of stillness and tranquility. I have been inspired by the way light, shadows, and colors interact to create a moment of stillness and peace. This led me to take a minimalist approach to my work. Whether I'm using analog film or digital methods, my goal is always to create images that resonate with the viewer on a deeper level.

I often revisit the same subjects multiple times, trying to capture the varying interplay of natural elements over different days and seasons. This repetitive process helps me establish a deeper connection with the environment and enhances my understanding of the scene.

2Where did you study photography?

I did it by learning and doing. I have read a lot and still do and have a lot of conversations with other photographers.

3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
Yes, it was 30 years ago with an analog 35mm camera at sea.
4What equipment do you use?
I tried a lot of equipment in recent years and I learned that equipment isn't that important. It is important to have a camera with a viewfinder. I shoot with my digital Fuji GFX medium format camera and with different analog medium format cameras.
5What do you hope to achieve?

Photography is a hobby and I love the quiet moment and bringing it to a picture.

6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?

When someone looks at my picture for 2-3 seconds.

7What inspires your unique storytelling?
I would like to capture the peace and present this photographically. If I manage to show this in a picture and the viewer sees it that way and it triggers something positive, then what I want to achieve with my photography has been achieved.
8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Minimalist Tranquil Reflective
9Congratulations! As the winner of the New York Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

Thank you for your appreciation and compliment. It is interesting to get a professional assessment of the work and it helps me to develop further. Thank you again for your appreciation!

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 New York Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

This image was taken in the early hours of the morning in Mauritius. I sought a weather condition that offered more than a crystal clear sky; I wanted a bit of contrast in the sky, reflecting in the tranquil waters. I spent a considerable amount of time searching for these beautiful fishing boats and waiting for the boat arrangement to be just as it is depicted in the photo. The ambiance was uniquely serene. The picture depicts a modest world of boats resting peacefully in calm waters, far from where I live.

The atmosphere is imbued with a sense of stillness as if the world had paused for a moment. With their inherent charm, boats symbolize the humility and courage of those who venture out to sea day after day. "Bateaux" invites us to pause and appreciate the beauty of simplicity, embarking on a journey of tranquility. This image was taken using a digital media format.

11How has winning an award developed your career?
This is a good reference for photography. It also shows where they stand and provides feedback.
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
There are many good photographers, but I have stopped trying to imitate others and instead focus on creating the images I want to make myself.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
Learn the basic technique, but then focus on the composition of the image, light, moment, weather, and other surrounding conditions. It's not the camera that makes the picture, it's the photographer.
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

I recommend that every newcomer take as many photos as possible, learn basic techniques, and then focus on the images — not just snap pictures, but compose, wait, reflect, and seek feedback.

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I think we should do what gives them joy. Initially, there needs to be an intrinsic motivation to photograph. Then, sometimes it takes a bit of discipline, and then comes great joy. It certainly makes sense to constantly exchange ideas with many other photographers and to be interested in subjects, but in the end, one should develop their style, do what they enjoy, and not just follow a trend.

16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
I think some people are open to new things and some people are less open to new things. Those who are open to new things have an increasing chance of success. I'm inquisitive and like to keep learning, you have nothing to lose.
17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to participate in this amazing award. The award is inspiring because it allows you to see what other photographers are doing. I believe that in the age of digitalization, AI, and other developments, it is important to remain open-minded. On the other hand, it's wonderful when human art continues to exist, and we celebrate that. Photography, like music and film, is something wonderful and we should continue to nurture this art form. Thank you to the New York Photography Awards for promoting this art and providing the platform. It's a great joy to be a part of it.

Winning Entry

Bateaux | 2023

In the early hours of the morning, the photo series 'Bateaux' presents a modest world of boats resting peacefully on calm waters, far away from home. ..…
(Read more at New York Photography Awards)

Renzo Cicillini

Renzo Cicillini is a Swiss photographer who discovered his passion for photography in the beauty of landscapes and seascapes. He takes a minimalist approach to his work, striving to capture the essence of tranquility in his images. Renzo Cicillini often revisits the same subjects to capture the varying interactions of natural elements.

Read more about this article from Anna Foix From Spain, the 2023 Silver Winner from the New York Photography Awards.