Whenever you check out the community gallery, you will notice an amazing array of incredible styles from Lomographers all over the world. In this new series, we’re going to dig deeper into the styles that we often see in the Lomographic community. To begin, we're taking a look at neorealism.
Daily life shot in black and white. No romanticism — only reality. That's how you get into neorealism. This movement actually came from a cultural phenomenon in 1940s Italy, its principles started by playwright and film critic Cesare Zavattini.
Unlike fine art photography or basic street photography, there's a bit of nuance in neorealism. Lens Culture writes:
“In these severe years for Italy, Zavattini urged not to be distracted by a romantic plot and happy-ends, and to pay attention to real destinies of simple people, unemployment, contrast between poverty and riches. The main features were the documentary nature, ordinariness, denial of decoration and studio shootings. Neorealists acted as chroniclers, telling about the tragedy of their people, who endured fascism and defeat in the war.”
Of course, this is a very dated style to apply in the 21st century if we’re strictly going by its exact definition, but in essence, neorealism is documentary photography without the photographer's idealistic bias imposed on the images. It is life as is.
To emulate Italian Neorealism in contemporary photography, we recommend hanging out in cafés and observing streets and plazas. A key element in neorealism is the presence of children, as they signify innocence and purity amidst the grit of reality.
The afternoon is a good time to people-watch, as there are more subjects to focus on during this time of the day. Just make sure you photograph in a public space, otherwise you’ll need to get consent from the people you wish to photograph.
To further expand your visual literacy in Italian neorealism, make sure you browse through the photographs of masters like Fulvio Roiter, Renzo Tortelli, and Mario Giacomelli. For Lomographic inspirations, check out the LomoHomes of sirio174 and rewd.
And lastly, make sure you pack up some high quality black and white film like Lomography Lady Grey 400 for a wider tonal range paired with your best medium format camera.
Don't forget to share your fresh, neorealism shots by uploading them to your LomoHome!