Today we’d like to introduce you to Federico Imperiale.
Federico, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Interestingly enough, I arrived to photography from studying cinema, and I initially pursued cinema studies to become a music composer for movies. During my bachelor’s degree the first courses in Image Aesthetic and Image Critic revealed me a personal deep understanding and fascination for the photographic image and the dynamics of its expressive potential, so I started to shoot my first video projects while getting the first commissions as a composer.
I decided to become a fine art photographer after the first photography classes by Giovanni Chiaramonte, while pursuing an M.A. in Cinema Studies at IULM University in Milan: his profound knowledge and passion and his ability to combine artistic practice with philosophical and spiritual exploration struck me deeply, and I instantly understood that photography was the essential discipline I was looking for to express myself visually.
Under Chiaramonte’s mentoring I successively refined my technical and critical skills and concretized all my studies in my M.A. graduation thesis “Narration and Sequence in the XXth Century Photography,” which later became an essay book. In the meantime, I started to photograph my home town Genoa and the other cities in Italy where I was working as a composer, and I accomplished my first works on commission as photographer.
Although my photos were getting published on magazines and newspapers and I reached the national scene with the music composed for the movie Per un Figlio, I wasn’t finding a strong context in which to pursue my career steadily. I also started to look for MFA programs in Photography to be able to teach in the future and I saw that leaving Italy was the only option.
After some weeks of research, I decided to move to Los Angeles, and I enrolled in the MFA program at the New York Film Academy, from which I graduated in 2018. After a bit over two years in L.A., I am sure that here I found the dynamic and variegated artistic environment where to grow as an artist and pursue my career.
Has it been a smooth road?
It is certainly a challenge to pursue both a career in music and in photography, sometimes it can be really overwhelming: I work on commission also as a video editor and colorist, so most of the time I end up with overlapping different projects and spend days in front of my workstation switching from one software to another.
In the end, I’m happy because having more qualifications allows me to have more work during the year and I always think that I would spend that time playing music and photographing anyway. As a photographer today the challenge is to build a name for yourself by developing a recognizable and memorable style and a strong customer portfolio and investing a lot of time in promoting your work through festivals, exhibitions, and magazines.
Moving to another country required me to start a new professional network from scratch; it was hard at first, but attending the New York Film Academy provided me a good base of contacts to start. I also have to say that finding work in the United States was more complicated than I expected.
As a non-American citizen, I saw several occasions vanish after passing the initial selection and receiving details to start, even though I am legally authorized to work in the country. I hope to have more luck in the future and to find a studio or an agency that will appreciate my work and decide to invest in me.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I think what gives me an advantage on professional competition is a wide profile as a multidisciplinary artist and strong technical skills which allow me to cover different genres and styles.
My main commission activity is Unit Still Photography: I like to collaborate with directors, producers and crews to create series of stills showing crucial scenes from the movie while narrating iconic moments of production; my experience in filmmaking gave me the right knowledge and sensibility to be in the right place at the right time while being invisible to the camera.
Most of the time, I create the poster for the movie using one or more of my photographs. I also realize portraits for other artists and actors’ and models’ portfolios. My fine art work embodies compositional characteristics and methods of approach typical of street photography and conceptual photography.
I develop my projects around phenomenal and psychological aspects of vision I desire to interrogate: the representative styles always want to reflect the ambiguity between the evoked reality of the scene and the captured reality in the photograph, questioning the boundaries between essential and apparent.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and the least?
Los Angeles is a dream place for an artist: the variety of different personalities to confront and collaborate with and the great occasions to work and promote yourself make me feel in the right place to pursue my career as never before.
The city is enormous compared to my Italian perspective: I find it so stimulating as a street photographer to be able to move in between the different areas of L.A. and see the environment change so drastically. My home town is on the sea, so I am always happy to live in a maritime city; there are many beautiful locations here on the coast around Malibu and Laguna Beach that remind me of Italy.
If I have to find something negative, I will say: some drivers should really slow down! I understand that the traffic here can be stressful, but speeding from a red light to the other won’t really get you there faster.
- Unit Still Photographer: $250/day + $20/hour x editing (Shooting under three days: $700 flat rate)
- Poster Designer: $300 basic rate
- Portrait: $200-$500/day + $2o/hour x editing; Retouching $30/hour
- Website: www.federicoimperiale.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/imperialefederico/?hl=it