Samuele Piccoli, a glimpse of the world through a pinhole

StenopeiKa-810s-IROKO-04Italians are known as poets, musician and saints.  But we often forget that Italians have talent for a lot of other things. We dream big and we always add a little bit of magic to the world. Samuele Piccoli is a very special photographer and e gave us a glimpse of the world through a pinhole.

Where does your passion for photography come from? 

My story is a very classic one stories. My uncle sprung the dream by  giving me an old manual Russian camera  more than 20 years ago:  we are talking about actual film impression where you need to try over and over again before to get what you really want.  I’ve been lucky because I am naturally curious so I’ve been totally fascinated by the manual process. I became so fond of it that I started digging the history behind this kind of technique  and that’s when I had the chance to learn about  new techniques like pinhole, my first love and afterwards I’ve been exposed  to “modern” techniques like  the wet collodion very much used  from 1850 to 1890. I loved both of them because everything comes from literally nothing: you have choose the film, the chemicals, find your own modus operandi before to get what you want.  It’s a very personal relationship, it’s bringing to life something.

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A collodion plate featuring Alessandro Parrello – By Samuele Piccoli

In the digital era, pinhole photography is an hazard . Why this choice? 

It’s obviously completely the opposite to digital. It’s not a fast paced technique like the digital one, and I don’t mean that I am against digitalized images. I believe that modern photography owes its birth to pinhole and the fact that it’s very easy nowadays to have access to digital cameras, digitalized photos are missing, on my opinion, human touch. We are surrounded by filters and manipulations that put a wide distance between the real world and the photographer. It’s not that my technique is better, it’s more about the fact that I won’t trade the way a feel the light, the wind and the ground for something different.

Between a photograph using pinhole technique and  one using collodion, which one gives do you love most?

Given the choice, I prefer the wet collodion technique, but only because and it’s much more difficult to achieve since the procedure and is slower and requires a great foresight in setting up sessions that can take up to an hour. The processing a is very subject to external factors such as humidity and temperature. Collodion is the ancestor of the film, while the pinhole photography is a tool that gives you the exact same result. In both cases, the photos are really beautiful.

From the business point of view, why did you decide to focus on a very niche product ? 

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A collodion plate By Samuele Piccoli

I chose these areas because asides  from taking pictures and print with traditional methods, I produce pinhole cameras, optical benches, accessories for  analog photography . And also because I like them. At the end of the day, I get home happy and satisfied with what I did even when something went wrong.

Do you consider yourself as an entrepreneur or a creative? 

A creative! I could invent a camera a day but for reasons of entrepreneurship I can’t afford to endlessly expand the fleet.

Tell us about an adventure or a curious story related to your business? 

During an output for a workshop of pinhole photography  I went into a wetland with a very imoresive view near to my town, Pistoia.  During a break, I put the easel holding my camera (basically a rectangular box with two knobs at the ends ) to the side of a road. A car passed and it suddenly slowed down in front of the camera. The driver then told me that he reduced his speed because he thought it was a traffic control machine!

What is the first thing that you would photograph of New York with your pinhole? 

Not buildings nor monuments. I love the hidden corners and I believe New York is plenty of them.

What is the X – Factor that someone should have to be successful as you are?

Well, first of all I do not own a TV so you find me off guard about the X-factor thing, but I think that when someone comes to me to see my things or the pinholes I produce , they find something unique.  I believe that they don’t see me as a simple seller but someone who has love for his ideas, without any business plan behind.  I don’t offer presentations, pamphlets or graphics, but just a lot of love for what I do.


di Maggie A. Romano

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