Francesco Frizzera is a 22-year-old Italian guy with intense inclination towards photography, travelling, and seeing things outside the box. He was born and bred in Rovereto, a teeny tiny town in the Italian Alps that many people would see as idyllic. However, being exposed to a certain surroundings on a daily basis for the majority of one's life, even the beauty of the Alps can become somewhat washed out. This also happened to Francesco – he hated the place for the majority of his adolescence. Ironically, he later found his main source of inspiration for his photography in the exact place he recently loathed – nature around his hometown. He gradually developed a talent for observing every single detail of the show that the mountains granted him. He put on an artistic name (Francis Flower) and started with a career as a photographer. His images are a true glorification of the great outdoors, freedom, youth, and pretty, sublime landscapes. He says he fears the future, but he still strives to grow and learn. He knows that he'll make it, because he's a friend of life. I know he'll make it too. Now let's dive in the amazing wilderness of Francis Flower.
Yo Francis! First of all, the most standard question in my interview book: how did you get into photography?
I felt very insecure between the age of seventeen and eighteen. I felt useless and meaningless. I felt different than the other boys and girls from my city and since the city I lived in was quite small, I have never had the opportunity to meet people with the same way of living as myself. Needless to say, I felt quite lonely. I started taking photos of various situations trying to use different colours compared with the ones represented in reality. I used photography in order to distinguish myself from the mass. The oddity of all was the fact that I didn't choose to employ photography to make people accept me. I was totally convinced that I would have never found anybody like me, so I put my soul to rest about that concern. I started to take pictures because I was astonished to see that the world will not know about my interior sorrow.
What sorts of themes do you try to explore through your photography? Are there any in particular that you try to capture more often?
I try to explore topics such as spiritual freedom and love, and I try to do that in every single moment. I always try to give relevance to the whole scene and to every single part of it, for better or for worse. It's rarely that I choose to give prominence to only nature or, for instance, to the subject.
Do all your photographs go through some kind of post-processing treatment? If so, what kind of effects do you try to produce with Photoshop or other similar tools?
Yes. The snapshot is not everything to me. Every time that I take pictures in digital form I'm used to add something to them. Photoshop always helps me when I try to shower colors, so the picture can somehow show the idea of being in an unreal world.
It's only natural that style changes over time in every field of art. How has your style evolved from your early shots?
It was about a year ago when I realized that I have actually created my own style of photography. I always had the feeling that I'm a rough copy of some well-known photography figures, like Theo Gosselin for example (who I adore!). The reason for changing my style was based on a rational intention to put some order and value in what I was doing. By saying this I refer to whatever concerns a way of art or an expression: a purpose, various reasons, imagination, patience, element, doubts, illumination, love, etc. It's like looking at yourself from the outside world and shouting "Hey, you! What are you doing?".
Do you always have a preconceived concept of what you want to shoot?
Every picture is totally improvised. I do not make plans about anything.
Who and/or what inspires you and why? I don't necessarily mean in the field of photography, just life in general.
I have never tried to be like somebody else. Deep inside I've found all the necessary "items" to develop and express myself. Great photographers have influenced my photography. To "compose" the artist concept (which is the base of my expression) I have found a lot of answers in some literary works written by people such as Montale, Pascoli, Baudelaire and Svevo. I have also found answers in Fauves, impressionists and romantics. I'm not saying that I'm a synthesis of these artists. I'm just saying that my expression has much in common with them. Only happiness and sorrow through my life so far have made me understood of what kind of energy to adopt in order to express myself.
If you could take a snap of any person (past or present), who would you choose and why?
I would choose John Lennon. He has always been pleasant to me. I would definitely asked him to smile.
If every photograph should contain one crucial element, what would it be in your opinion?
In my opinion every photographer has to give an obsessive attention to everything around them. This is the main thing.
What's the weirdest thing that has happened to you during a photo shoot?
Some months ago I was alone in the woods, I just needed to spend some time on my own. It was half past six in the evening and the sun was setting down. In an area of the woods where the sun rays seeped through the trees with a strong orange light I stumbled upon a roe deer. We spent a lot of time looking at each other in deep silence. I was so moved by this event I could not imagine that such a powerful silence could make so much noise inside my soul. It was like I was looking at the face of a celestial soul! Without blames. Without sins. A perfect entity. Pure. And you yourself had the chance to stare it in the eyes.
I would imagine many young photography talents are asking you for advice. What do you say to them?
My advice is based on trying to focus on the purpose of your photography. First of all it's important to understand the difference between the purpose of just "taking pictures" or to tell something which lays inside of you. In the first situation I would advise to have patience and go on exercising in various situations. In the second one I'd say that it's wrong to look for inspiration in someone else's pictures. Go to a field with a camera and open your heart, it's the most important and wisest thing to do.
If you currently don't have the luxury of grabbing your rucksack and camera and getting lost in the wilderness, you can indulge yourself by exploring Francesco's work on his Instagram account, Tumblr, Facebook page or Flickr photostream.