Interview With Street Photographer Alessio Trerotoli

I recently came across the work of Alessio Trerotoli and was really impressed with his unique project Urban Melodies.  If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet I’d implore you to head over to his website and check it out.  Trerotoli’s Urban Melodies series has been getting national attention for good reason.  By combining multiple exposures of a cityscape and people he creates impressionistic looking photographs that remind me of something Claude Monet would have come up with.

Beyond the Urban Landscape series, Trerotoli is an impressive Street Photographer who took the time to share with us some insight.  Alessio is one of only a very few photographers whose work I’d hang on my own wall (if my Fiancée would allow it!).

[John] What is Street Photography to you?

[Alessio] Street Photography means a lot of things to me.  It’s a way to tell stories.  It’s a way to express myself, to create a connection with other people.  It’s a way to find something new, that allows me to keep my eyes always wide.  It’s a way to discover the real soul of a place.  And especially it’s a way to try to stop time in the daily life:  I know, this isn’t a very original point, but I think that every photographer is obsessed with time.

[John] Why do you enjoy Street Photography?

[Alessio] What I love about Street Photography is that, unlike studio, architecture or landscape photography, if in that moment you hadn’t been there, that picture would never have existed.  If you had chosen another street or if you had stopped to look at your smart phone, such picture would never have existed.  The fact to be there, to have taken this picture, somehow makes you feel a little like a special human being.

[John] What advice would you give someone starting out in Street Photography?

[Alessio] At the beginning it’s enough to just go out, walk a lot and take pictures.  Starting a 365 project [a photo a day for a year] can be a good way to keep your eyes always ready to find something to shoot.

[John] When you photograph strangers do you approach them first or do you prefer a more candid shot?

[Alessio] In Street Photography I think that it’s always better to say “sorry” after a photo instead of “can I?” before to shoot.  I absolutely prefer a candid shot, maybe it’s because I’m a little bit shy, so I don’t have enough courage to approach strangers!  Candid shots can tell more about people, because if they don’t know that you’re taking a photograph they can be natural and real.




[John] What inspired you to create the Urban Melodies series?

[Alessio] I was in Istanbul when I saw some interesting works of a turkish photographer, Jak Baruh.  He works with multi-layered pictures, and his work really inspired me to create my series.  I tried to put my style and my sensibility in this project, that I see like melodic images: similar to the musical notes in a melody, each picture can stand by itself, but layered with the other pictures, the new image expresses a richer meaning.  All of them, if linked to one another and concatenated in a bigger context, can create something different and, most importantly, something unique.  They can reach a different meaning and become part of the melody: this is why my project is named “Urban Melodies”.

[John] When did you first realize you had a passion for photography?

[Alessio] I always had a passion for photography. There is a moment I can’t forget: when I was 10 years old I was showing to my grandmother photos of a little excursion I made with school in a place not far from Rome. My album was full of pictures of my schoolmates and my grandma told me: “But where are you?”. In that moment I realized that there wasn’t a picture of me in the entire album because I always was behind the camera. It was the first time I saw myself like a photographer.

[John] What was your first camera?

[Alessio] When I was a child it was a Canon Prima Junior, can’t forget it, it was always with me.  When I was a boy most of my friends used to spend money on beers or expensive clothes: I spent every cent on music, movies and developing films (well, on some beers too!).  Lately I bought my first digital camera, a Canon 400D.

[John] What’s in your camera bag now?

[Alessio] I’m not obsessed with lens or gears.  When I go out for Street Photography I have with me just my Canon 60D and my 50mm.  I have a 17-85 in my room, but I use it only when I really need it.  I walk a lot (in travel or in my hometown) so I prefer to have a lightweight bag.  Once I read something that sounds perfect to me: “In Street Photography the best gear is a good pair of shoes”.

[John] Where is your favorite place to photograph and why?

[Alessio] In travel.  When I am in a place that I don’t know I’m really inspired.  Through my camera I can really try to understand a place and its little secrets.  In my hometown (Rome) I need to work on myself to find inspiration, and it’s not easy.  Josef Koudelka once said: “When you live in a place for a long time, you start becoming blind because you don’t observe anything more. I travel to don’t become blind”.  This is also the first line of my book “Fuori dalla caverna”…

There Is Light That Never Goes Out

There Is Light That Never Goes Out

[John] Of all the various photography projects you’ve worked on which one has been your favorite and why?

[Alessio] Well, I love “Urban Melodies” because I can put all of my creativity into it and try different solutions for every image. This is very important to me.  I’m also really involved in my last project “Heroes”, dedicated to Rome and the (anti)heroes of its daily life: through photography I’m trying to feel the soul of their frantic living (it’s also a homage to a David Bowie’s song that tells: “We can be heroes, just for one day”).

[John] Who inspires you?

[Alessio] I’ve always admired photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau, I also love Margaret Bourke-White and Vivian Maier.  But not only photographers.  I find inspiration in music, books, movies, people around me. My personal heroes are Bruce Springsteen and Antoine Doinel (the protagonist of lot of François Truffaut’s movies).

Top Image – Times Square

Alessio’s Website:

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If you like Alessio’s work you can head over to his website and support him by purchasing prints of your own.  If you’d like to be featured on or contact me (contact) with links to your portfolio or website.