Interview with Italian Documentary Photographer, Palermo

  • Posted: 01.03.2022
  • Italian Documentary Photographer

    1) Tell us about yourself and how did you become a photographer?

    Ciao! I am a freelance photographer born in Sicily, Italy, where I currently live and work. I fell in love with photography when I was 30 while I was traveling to Spain, The Camino de Santiago. With a small camera I walked and photographed, walked and photographed… so, after returning from the trip, I decided to leave to Rome and study Photography at the Roman School. There I specialized in reportage photography, a genre that I have continued to develop until today, along with travel and, recently, portrait photography. I photograph wherever there is a human being and a story to tell.

    2) How has photography changed the world and what does photography mean to you?

    Photography allows an immediate emotional communication, capable of being understood by anyone. Immediately overcome any geographical, linguistic or cultural barrier by broadcasting your message without censorship. For me, photography is like breathing. It makes me feel alive and sure that I am fulfilling my role as a human being.

    3) What inspires you and what is the ultimate pleasure in documentary photography?

    Humans’ stories inspire me, from the bigger one to the most common. Even a simple portrait can contain a person's entire life. I like to think that I can help preserving some memory of the human beings I met during my passage in this life.

    Italian Documentary Photographer

    Photo: © Livio Catalano

    4) What inspires you and what is the ultimate pleasure in documentary photography?

    Everything that is new and that I want to know inspires me. Being a documentary photographer means never giving up looking, knowing that there’s still a place to see and people to talk to. And that’s the meaning of life for me.

    5) What do you like most about being a photographer?

    I love the freedom that camera offers me. Freedom of movement, of knowledge. Being a photographer allows me to communicate directly with people, always with a smile. Every person wants to be remembered, someway. I try to remind them about this.

    6) What are the most common nuances of documentary photographers?

    People think that Documentary photographer has an adventurous life, full of planes and lives in different countries, never boring. In reality this is a privilege only for a few photographers. In most cases we work as independent photographers, seeking, informing ourselves and building the stories we want to tell with patience and determination. There is a lot of work to do before starting to shoot.

    Italian Documentary Photographer

    Photo: © Livio Catalano

    7) What do you want to show through your photographs?

    I only want my photographs to be able to contain a piece of life, enclosed in a balanced aesthetic beauty.

    8) What, in your opinion, makes a good portrait photograph?

    A portrait photograph should describe, even with a single shot, the intimate of the person portrayed, using only the light as a brush. For me, above all, natural light.

    Italian Documentary Photographer

    Photo: © Livio Catalano

    9) Can you tell me the story of your favorite travel photo that stands out?

    I can't choose one in particular. For me, photographing during a trip is constantly looking at what there’s around me, never stopping amazing me. A face, a place, bodies, a light, an atmosphere, a movement, everything surprises me and makes me want to be nowhere else but where I am photographing at that moment.

    Italian Documentary Photographer

    Photo: © Livio Catalano

    10) Commercial portraiture often focuses solely on visual appeal, but your portraits focus on character, how do you achieve this?

    Thanks for your observation. As I have already mentioned, I am interested in the human being and his truth, whatever it is, without filters and without fictions. I talk to the person I want to photograph, I reassure her/he, I try to put her/he at ease and I leave her/he free to tell me who she/he is.

    11) During photography you see a lot of different architecture, how do you think how much architecture influences the formation of a person, his character and life in general?

    Everything you see becomes part of your personal culture and inevitably influences your way of seeing the world. In the same way, the places where you live, or where you travel, with their organization of spaces and their architecture, silently influence your way of expressing yourself and will be visible in your creations.

    Italian Documentary Photographer

    Photo: © Livio Catalano

    12) Your TOP5 favoutire places in Palermo

    I love all the places where you can feel the real life. So, in my city, Palermo, I love the popular markets of Ballarò and Il Capo, the Old Town with its alleys and people moving continuously, La Vuccirìa, in the evening, with the young people living free their happiness and youth, the places along Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda where you can eat street food and drink excellent wine, the pubs from the Champagneria area to Piazza Magione where you can meet people and stay until late at night.

    Contact Alessandro
    • Web:
    • FB: Livio Catalano Photography
    • IG: Livio Catalano

    It was big interview and absolutely great, it’s a honor to have an opportunity interview with Livio Catalano from Palermo, thanks!!