Franco Guidi, the acclaimed portrait and documentary photographer is next up in our Photographer Spotlight series. Born in Gorizia– Northern Italy, in 1980, Franco grew up in Florence and is now based in London. He works to show the living and social condition of people. His work is focused on a social-political analysis and its environmental influences. We had a lovely time chatting with Franco and hope you enjoy our interview.

How did you start in Photography and decide it was the career for you?

I always have had a camera with me since my grandma decided to buy me one for my first communion. It was only after I finished my degree at university that I really started to study photography seriously.  I especially found inspiration when I lived in India for few months. Since then I would say I started to build my portfolio and consequently my career as photographer. Lets say that I tried a desk job in an office but it didn’t work very well…

What kind of photographer would you describe yourself as?
Curious. I always find it hard putting myself under one label. If I have to choose one I would definitely say social documentary photographer.
What cameras and equipment do you usually use?

They used to say to me that the best equipment for a photographer is a new pair of comfortable shoes… Anyway I use more and more often digital 35mm SLR. They are improving a lot these days even if I still prefer for my personal projects the film medium format cameras. I still love the reproduction of the colours and the roundness of the images on film.

Which subject is your favourite to shoot?

I’m constantly looking for good characters to photograph for my portraits. What interests me most is building stories through them and their living environment. And I love capturing tourists and documenting their funny behaviours.

Which photographers have inspired you most?

There are lots of really inspiring photographers, especially in the past. I would say Luigi Ghirri and William Eggleston thinking about colours. Daido Moriyama, Mario Giacomelli and obviously August Sander for the subjects and the style of their body of work.

Is there a shoot or personal project you’ve been working on recently?

I am working on a series of portraits on a council estate in East London. I am really interested in the sense of community that an international and multicultural city like London can still produce.

Has your shoot or project been Studio based or out on location?

This project is mainly based on different locations.

Can you tell us some of the locations you have shot across the world, what was your favourite and why?

China was absolutely stunning! I had the privilege to cross the entire country and one of the most impressive locations was the desert crossing the Xinjiang region in far West China. I was amazed by the landscapes and by the variety of people and cultures that sweep across the area.

What’s been your most memorable moment on a shoot or during your career?
Some special moments spent in the Chinese Tibetan regions stands out in my mind. The region is quite poor but despite that you can find really welcoming and enthusiastic people ready to invite you into their houses, offering you a good cup of tea. Sharing these moments and photographing the intimacy of the situation was priceless
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work or process?

I like to find inspiration not only from photography itself but also from other medium such as literature, cinema and  paintings. It is really important to me to respect the subjects of your stories, it makes the difference between a meaningful picture and a nice image.