Andrea Corsi gushes about Tuscany. It’s the first thing he mentioned during our rather long, but engaging conversation about how he got around to wedding photography. “Have you ever been to Tuscany?” he asks me, and goes on to provide incredible detail of the region’s picturesque landscapes. Home to some of the most acclaimed and illustrious artists the world has known (Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci), Tuscany’s richness and vibrancy is also a result of its ability to still hold on to its rustic roots. So it is not surprising that over the years, the area has become one of the most popular wedding destinations, with people flocking from all over the world to get a slice of its beauty in their wedding photographs.
From Motorcycle Racing To Wedding Photography
Andrea came upon wedding photography in a rather unconventional way. It began with his love for car and motorcycle racing, which led him to purchase his first camera. But after a horrible motorcycle accident, which left him bedridden for five months, he spent that time introspecting and reassessing his life. He realized that he needed stability, but not at the cost of giving up photography. After he recovered, he opened a studio with a fellow photographer, where they took up assignments revolving around still life photography. Soon enough, Andrea realized that something was terribly wrong. The work was unfulfilling. For him, the objects that he shot were sterile and indifferent. They didn’t, or rather, couldn’t emote. And that was when he decided to take the wedding photography route.
But if it was the emotion and drama that he was after, it made me wonder why he chose to be involved in weddings and not any other genre of photography. After all, these qualities can be found in street and conflict photography as well. His response to this was unapologetic and practical. He began by saying, “You can’t live,” and after quickly gauging the confusion on my face, added, “Today, the photography scene is tough, even for the most brilliant and talented photographers. There are bills to pay. If I was going to switch my line of work, it had to be something that was sustainable. And wedding photography in Tuscany is a big business.”
However, the big business had its pitfalls. “When I switched over to doing weddings full time, I was worried about my prospects and whether this life as a freelance photographer would work out.” In the process, he found himself trying to control every aspect of his life. “I am a perfectionist,” he said, and soon enough, his anxiety took over. “It was a rough time. I am in a much better place now. In fact, I have learned to let go of certain situations or aspects of my life that are out of my control.” “Don’t try to control your life is an advice that I’d like to give to anyone starting out in the business. Because sooner or later, this control will eventually show in your photographs. You’ve got to be flexible and open to whatever life or your work throws at you,” he said.
Humility is another quality that Andrea considers important to have. “In photography, especially, you can’t enter the field proclaiming to be Batman,” he said with a laugh. “There’s always so much to learn, and unless you are forthcoming to ideas and criticisms, and humble enough to accept your mistakes, success will always evade you. Let’s just say, the minute you realize that you are perfect, quit immediately.”
The Spectrum Of Emotions
Andrea’s style of photography revolves around capturing the spectrum of emotions that one sees at weddings. For him it’s all about making memories, not just of the couple but also of the people celebrating them. “I want my clients to look back at their photographs and not just reminisce about themselves. I want them to also look at the people who added to their joy on their special day… People who thirty or forty years later may cease to exist,” he said. For Andrea, this takes precedence over everything else. “You’ll not find me spending hours photographing the bride and the groom at one particular location. I’d rather spend that time shooting them interacting with the guests or when they find a moment’s peace in the hustle and bustle. You will also not find me photographing details like the bride’s dress or the rings. Those things bore me, and is the reason why I left my studio work,” he said.
When asked whether he had any formal education in photography, Andrea responded by saying, “I studied from the masters… Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and Helmut Newton.” “But my style is largely influenced by movies,” he said. Almost every day, when he is not shooting, Andrea spends time watching a movie. His favorite directors include Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Federico Fellini and Woody Allen. “Movies give me a lot of ideas of how I can compose and photograph a scene. I want my pictures to be spontaneous and contain the unexpected,” he said.
The Importance Of Slowing Down
When asked how he would describe his style of photography, Andrea fell silent. “I don’t know,” he said. “It’s constantly changing.” For him, the photographs and the style must be in a constant state of flux. “If I am shooting the same kind of pictures that I made five years ago, then there’s a problem. Unless you push yourself to learn new techniques or ways of seeing, you run the possibility of becoming stagnant.” He also spoke of the importance of slowing down, to assess and process. “I know of photographers who cannot remain separated from their cameras and have to be shooting constantly. That’s great, but it’s not for me. Every now and then, I prefer to pause and look at the work I’ve produced. This exercise has given me a lot of perspective on how I should proceed next,” he said.
Having grown up in a little town in Tuscany, where choices and possibilities were scarce… Andrea did not let them hold him back. “I used to always dream of one day waking up to a life made up entirely of my choices… to wake up and be able to do something that I absolutely love. That’s where I am today, and I cannot be more grateful.”
Andrea Corsi is one of the panelists of SILK INSPIRE 2017 festival, and will be in India on October 6th-10th to give a seminar, as well as a master class. He will be available to meet photographers. Get your ticket for India’s first Wedding Photography festival, and come meet him in Goa this October.