Intrepid reportage photography from Giacomo Cosua

We chat with the Italian photographer about what makes a good photo in 2016.

[G]iacomo Cosua is a photographer you need to know. His audacious reportage photography sits with celebrity portraiture and backstage fashion shots – each captures the temporality of the moment. We caught up with Giacomo, also the founder of Positive magazine, to ask about how to take a good photo in a world saturated with them.

Follow him @GiacomoCosua and visit his website here cosua.it/giacomo/

What do you think makes a successful portrait?

I think it’s important to be able to spend some time with the subject you have to photograph. The problem is usually, at least when I work, I don’t really have much time for doing that, I remember a shot for the Financial Times with a Russian director, they gave me four minutes. What I try to do then is to turn the subject as comfortable as possible and explain what I want to do and what I’m trying to achieve. Usually it works!

What is your favourite subject to shoot?

I really like when I get assignments to document an event or to do a reportage. In 2014 I was in Japan shooting for Rolling Stone during the Red Bull Music Academy. It was a great chance to see the Japanese nightlife, with so many different people, it was very challenging to catch the vibe!

What photographic cliches are you tired of seeing?

I’m bored of seeong portraits taken in India or Africa. There are so many people going there, taking always the same photos, which technically are perfect, but they don’t communicate much.

Is there one image that you’ve seen that influenced or changed the way you think about photography?

As one of the things is to document youth in many different countries and community, I probably got inspired by the photos of Larry Clark, starting from “Tulsa”. I remember the first time I saw his book and it was a great experience. I can’t say if there is just one image then, but probably some in Larry’s book are still my favourite.

Tell us about the most challenging assignment you’ve had ?

In 2012 I got the craziest assignment ever. I got this phone call from Cyrill Gutsch from Parley for the Ocean, and he told me to pack everything, catch an airplane and go to Antartica. It’s not something that happens everyday, probably once in lifetime. I spent four months on board the Sea Shepherds ship documenting the NGO activity to stop illegal whaling in Antartica. It was a long journey, but who else is able to fly in a helicopter over an iceberg in the middle of nowhere?

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