MANITOULIN—Photographer/videographer Giovanni Capriotti’s gaze is intense as he sets up the lighting and pose for a portrait photograph of this writer, adjusting the angles by slight millimetres. A few moments later, the shutter snaps and the resulting photograph is generally agreed to be the finest in recent memory.
Mr. Capriotti has joined The Expositor staff for a three-week placement. Although he has a fine arts bachelor’s degree from London Communication College and has garnered over a decade of practical experience in field photography before coming to settle in Toronto as an immigrant six years ago, Mr. Capriotti decided to add North American credentials to his curriculum vitae. He has completed the Loyalist College photojournalism program and chose The Expositor and Manitoulin Island to do his program placement.
“I have been here a number of times before,” he said, noting that the Island has grown on him more with every visit. He is currently working on a photo documentary project entitled Bidwell Road, which can be found, along with his other projects and samples of his video projects on his website giovannicapriotti.com.
We were naturally ecstatic at the opportunity to up our photojournalism game with pointers from a consummate professional of Mr. Capriotti’s calibre. For the past week the photographer has been bombarded with questions and requests for pointers as he combed through our photo archives.
Mr. Capriotti describes himself as a storyteller first and foremost, utilizing the view through his lenses to document and express stories garnered from across the world. He believes intensely in the importance of maintaining integrity and truth in his photography. “We put so much attention to photoshop, it is unethical to change the pixels,” he said. “Cloning is unacceptable, cropping is okay.” Mr. Capriotti noted that even in cropping a photograph, rather than adding or removing subjects, the artist can manipulate the story, often unconsciously, to their own viewpoint. “You must remain vigilant.”
Although he stresses the importance of integrity and honesty and seeks to find compelling stories to tell, Mr. Capriotti nonetheless remains pragmatic in the impact his stories will have on the world.
“I understand that my photographs are not going to change the world,” he tells a class of Wikwemikong High School students. “The old photographers, they thought they could change the course of history with the images they captured through their lenses.” Mr. Capriotti said that he simply wants to capture, document and communicate the essence of the issues, lives and individuals he has chosen as his subjects.
He said he prefers taking a longitudinal approach to his subject matter, following the story from the broad brush images to getting inside the intricate details of the people his lenses capture and he will be working on a number of local feature products for The Expositor over the next few days.