Gessato Interviews Photographer Fran Parente

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Recently Gessato had the privilege of speaking with renowned Brazilian architectural and interior design photographer, Fran Parente. Based in New York, he produces commissions for an impressive range of clients, from Bottega Veneta and Kate Spade Brasil to Refinery29. His work has also been featured in a number of magazines, including ARCHITECT, Casa Vogue, and PIN-UP. The reason for Parente’s incredibly wide appeal is evident in his work; what he presents goes above and beyond mere technical skill (although that is certainly one of his strengths). He does not simply capture images, but creates them. From architectural spaces to portraits and drool-worthy food, Parente’s photographs convey the character of scene and subject through his artistic perspective and keen eye for composition. Listen to what he has to say about his process and his thoughts on photography today:

I try to create a beautiful image that shows the reality and also enhances the project, creating a narrative for the viewer to understanding the space.

It seems like contemporary photography is moving more and more towards the goal of creating a beautiful image over informing the viewer about the subject. Do you feel that you place a priority on contextualizing your work – that is, creating a clearly defined scene?
I try to create a beautiful image that shows the reality and also enhances the project, creating a narrative for the viewer to understanding the space.

What is more important: the subject or the technique? Is it necessary to photograph beautiful things in order to have a pleasing image? Should photography reflect reality, or alter it?
Both are important, but in my opinion technique overcomes the subject in creating a pleasing image. It’s more difficult to create a strong image without technique even if you have an amazing subject. There’s no point on having a nice subject and not knowing how to explore it thru images. Photography should always enhance the subject but not alter it.

Describe your process: what do you look for in a subject? For what reasons are you drawn to structured, architectural spaces and forms?
I look for the lines, imaginary or visual, the forms and geometry they create. That’s part of my background, having studied architecture helped to train my “eyes” for the space.

What kind of camera, lenses, and other equipment do you typically use? To what extent has this changed as your career continues to advance?
I photograph with Canon Mark 2 and 3, usually bring a tilt shift lens, fixed lens for portraits and a zoom lens for detail and tighter shots. When I decided to do photography full-time, the digital was taking over film, so I can say that at that time, it didn’t affect my work. I feel that technology is pushing the consumption of images in a more quantitative than qualitative way, although at the end the positive side is that the quality will stand out.

How do you feel about the advent of cell-phone cameras and the instant accessibility of photography to anyone with two hands? Does this promote interest in the art form or subtract from its status as a form of art?
Most of people carrying smartphones have good cameras and are photographing all the time, that’s a positive side for the image consumption I mentioned before. It promotes the interest of people in photography and also the will in creating a beautiful image.

What has been your favorite project to work on so far? Is there anything in the works that you are particularly excited about?
The most emotional project or let’s say house that I photographed was my grandmother’s in São Paulo, where she has been living for over 40 years. There’s no favorite project, I’m always excited about the next shoot and what I’ll see, feel and learn from it.

Now for what the people really want to hear: can we follow you instagram?
Definitely!! That’s the whole point of it. (@franparente)

Lizzie Wright

Lizzie

​Lizzie Wright is an aspiring artist and designer with a passion for the written word. While she works on her BFA in Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), she spends her (rare) spare time riding around Providence on her trusty Cannondale and drinking lots of coffee. She is especially fascinated by the dichotomy between aesthetic form and function, which has an immense influence on her work. As a lover of the natural world, Lizzie plans to focus on Nature, Culture, and Sustainability Studies to pursue a more efficient future for design. Read more by visiting her website

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