I think what impresses me most about Chiara Fulgoni Photography is how she manages to make shots from conventions look like they’ve been taken in completely different places. As a photographer myself, I find this a pretty tricky task! Chiara has a talent for showing movement in images, and I’m not talking about applying a motion blur filter here – the shots take you places.
Favourite food: melanzane alla parmigiana
How long have you been doing photography for? What first inspired you to start?
I’d done a lot of photography when I was younger, around 2007. I started because my dad is really into cameras and collected a bunch of film cameras since he was young. Hardly any of them work but he displays them pretty proudly in the house. I used to hang out with my best friend and we’d take pictures of the nature and horses in our local park but honestly I was just a loser emo kid with my dad’s old camera who thought she knew about ‘photography’ because she had a DeviantArt. I’d say I didn’t make it ‘serious’ until I started meeting cosplayers and getting into that world though.
What was your first camera, how does it compare to what you have now? Do you have a dream camera or lens you’d like to save up for?
I started off with the Canon EOS 350D and just worked with the standard lens it came with. My dad bought me a macro lens for it and I thought I died and went to heaven. At the moment I’m working with the Canon EOS 70D and just a bunch of various lenses. The 50mm is my favourite though. When it comes to dream cameras, there are loads. I’ll always want the latest Canon that comes out since it’s the camera that I know well and have used for years. Maybe it’s a loyalty thing! I’m currently in film school now so I’ve been blessed with being able to use the Arri Alexa on a regular basis but buying that would be a bit much, they price around £40,000 so that’s most certainly not something I’d expect to ever have. I’ve been looking at the Panasonic Lumix or the Sony Alpha a7sII with some interest lately though.
What has been your most complex or rewarding shoot to date? How did you achieve it?
Well, I’ve done some shoots that have challenged me with weather. Doing a small Michonne shoot with Kizuki Cosplay was a challenge mainly for how freezing it was in the snow but it was worth it. We rushed back to my house because I thought our hands were going to fall off. I’d say though my biggest challenge was shooting my first paid concert gig. I had never actually shot a concert before and I was so nervous. The group were a Kpop group called 24k and I had liked them beforehand. A friend knew a friend who was running the Europe tour they were doing (being in the UK Kpop scene since 2010 really helped me build up those connections!) and she recommended me as they couldn’t find a photographer in London and I knew I couldn’t refuse. I went really early and actually ended up helping the team out with other jobs before the show and got to snap the rehearsal too. It was a bizarre feeling meeting the group and being in their waiting room with them for so long. Lucky enough one of the members, Cory, is an English speaker and he introduced himself and made me feel at ease straight away. Photographing concerts is hard on their own but photographing a Kpop group who are just all over the stage with their energetic dancing was…something. I had the camera on burst mode so though I had to sort through HUNDREDS of photos, there were a bunch in there that I liked and that they and/or their management would approve to release. The thing about Kpop stars is they gotta look good all the time and while they where disgustingly photogenic 90% of the time, even the most beautiful people can look strange in mid dance. I was very happy with the results and seeing them post my photos on their social media after and have their fansites post them after was a little surreal for me.
Do you have a dream concept you’d like to shoot?
When it comes to cosplay I just really love to shoot cosplays from things I genuinely love. I’ll always always be up for doing Dragon Age stuff since its very close to my heart and I have a lot of good friends who are just incredible Dragon Age cosplayers. Also I’ve recently been into Detroit: Become Human so shooting something with DBH cosplayers would be great. Oh! And any chance to shoot K/DA cosplayers. POP/STARS was my jam of last year and I like to think after 9 years, I have the KPop aesthetic down. Locations are always so tough, especially being in London. I know it’s virtually impossible but I’ve always adored Highgate Cemetery and shooting in there would be a dream if some miracle came along. I also think I’d like to start shooting more ‘fashion’ type shoots and more conceptual stuff. I’m really into witchy things so doing a general wicca style shoot with hard light and some smoke around would be a dream. The emo kid in me never left really.
Do you have any advice for new photographers?
I’d say just do it and keep a healthy mindset about your own work. There’s always going to be someone doing it ‘better’ than you but the reality is they’ve probably been doing it for very long or just practice constantly. It can be frightening to put your work out there but as long as you try hard and keep a good attitude not only towards yourself, but also towards others, not much can go ‘wrong’. It’s keeping that healthy balance so you’re criticising your work enough that you improve next time but not enough to discourage yourself from carrying on. I still struggle with this a lot but I try to tell myself this as much as possible. Also look up the technical parts of what you need. Things like camera settings and lighting can be daunting but it lays the foundation for you to get better. My cinematography tutor (who is a complete legend) told my class that we absolutely need to know the fundamentals and then later if you want to throw all those rules away, do it, just know why. On top of that, it’s really a personal thing but I truly believe it’s just as important to be kind and respectful of those around you as it is to be good technically. Whether it be being kind to or about other photographers or constantly making sure that cosplayers or models are comfortable as you shoot, we’re all here to support each other and a tiny bit of encouragement or kindness can go a long way.