The making of a street photograph

No one wants to share his contact sheets. It's the private diary of the photographer with all the unsuccessful steps on the way to the final product. But a photographer learns to shoot studying the mistakes in the contact sheets. And I think the learning process would be easier if you could access the greatest photographers' contact sheets. Actually there is just one an amazing book: Magnum Contact Sheets. If you love photography, buy it.

Back to us, if we would share our contact sheets, the learning process would be easier. That's why I decided to share a digital contact sheet of a photo I did on the 18th December 2009. Here is the final edited shot.

This photo won the Canon Winter Photo Competition and was featured on the Canon ‘Come and See’ campaign. It was one of my first photos and it still holds a certain power for me.

At that time, I just started working on a visual anthropology project about migrants at the University of Cagliari. I made a list of places I had to shoot. The harbor was included.

This contact sheets show me how inexperienced I was. I can't understand why I do not have more pictures of the lucky puddle. But that's what you learn using contact sheets. I was lucky because a man walked on the puddle little before the good shot creating the 'snow' effect of the photo. Here is the raw, unedited series of photos.

In 2009, I was in love with Satellites, a magnificent book by Magnum Photographer Jonas Bendiksen. I still think it is one of the best photography books ever produced. As I told you in a previous post, when I truly love a book, I always own a double copy. That's the case of Satellites. While looking again at my photo after years, I realize how huge was the influence of that book.

The cover photograph is an unbelievable image featuring a crashed satellite and two men surrounded by a storm of white butterflies. One of the most iconic and beautiful photos of all the time.


The two images are clearly on very different levels, the Bendisken's one is iconic while mine is just a good shot. But I am pretty sure his image left a lot in my imagination when I pressed the shutter during that winter morning.

Have a great day and keep shooting,