Madeinmedi hosts the founder of the London School of Photography

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Text Source: HariMag (translated from Italian)
Images by Antonio Leanza

Madeinmedi hosts the founder of the London School of Photography

Madeinmedi this year opened its doors to the world of photography. Students from the Department of Photography will be present at the event with some of their work inside the exhibition. Young, future talented photographers will be able to gain new stimuli from Antonio Leanza, founder of the London School of Photography, who will be present at the show. Antonio, born Sicilian, brings with him forty years of artistic and profound photographic activity. After years of teaching and living in London, he opened the London School of Photography in early 2000. Madeinmedi wants to Award Antonio’s unshakable resolve in sharing his know-how, his vision and experience with cultures other than ours.

Today, we have had the pleasure of knowing what photography is for him.

Q. Photography as a form of art or a way of expressing yourself?

A. Surely a way of expressing myself artistically, but also a tool for contemplation and connection.

Q. Photography for Antonio Leanza. What feelings does it give you?

A. It fills me up with passion and joy, it gives me new creative adventures and, above all, the opportunity to improve myself and to contribute. As the great Cartier-Bresson said: “Photography is le joie de vivre.”

Q. Remembering your first click, what kind of emotions do you feel?

A. To be honest, now, it all seems like a dream. I never thought I would be in the position I am now. I remember my first ignorant clicks, in the most beautiful sense of the expression. I did not know how much I did not know. My first camera was all a mystery. A mixture of frustration and passionate curiosity that today has translated itself into creative freedom.

Q. What do you think are the indispensable peculiarities that best define a photographer?

A. I don’t believe that we can identify the characteristics of a photographer. We are all so unique in a sense. Surely, unconditional love for the medium, lots of curiosity, the need to express themselves and to feel free, or perhaps the mere desire to love and be loved through our art.

Q. What does a picture need to be considered great? Are there guidelines, a norm as a whole?

A. Balance, harmony and clarity, even in its most abstract expression. Photography, in the essence of its definition, is a Practice, and like all practices, it has guidelines; “Foundations or Fundamental Principles” as some prefer to call them. And they are Focus, Exposure, Light and Composition. These are the four Support Pillars for any photography. Depending on photographic specialisation or genre we can add but never deduct or “break the rules” as some people like to say, because there are no rules, and if they exist, someone arbitrarily made them. Principles, unlike rules, are universal laws with enormous flexibility, and when applied with mastery, they help us express ourselves efficiently and clearly. But if they are broken or undermined we will never have a photo or image that serves its purpose.

Q. Where and how did the idea of opening a photography school started? How come you choose to open it in London, although you have Sicilian origins?

A. The school was born spontaneously, as a natural extension of what I was doing and where I was doing it. I was teaching photography at the University of Arts in London, I was living and studying in London, and at the same time, I was a freelance photographer in London. Had I lived somewhere else in the world, maybe I would have never opened a photography school.

Q. What is the main strength of the London School of Photography?

A. A direct approach to photographic practice with a team of professional photographers who love to share their experience and passion, classes with up to 8 students, and not being an institution, a lack of bureaucracy.

Q. The sharing of diverse cultures and different ways of perceiving photography. How important is such a mix in the development of a photographer?

A. I think it is essential growing personally and culturally regardless of what one does. I believe that “if you want more you need to be more.” Photography as visual communication, when studied and applied effectively, becomes an ideal tool for our personal development in a genuinely holistic way. The sharing of diverse cultures and the different ways of perceiving it, in my opinion, is a natural extension of the medium, we cannot do without it and must be an integral part of our development.

Q. On June 18th you will be a guest at Madeinmedi, an event that awards Mediterranean creativity. They say that Italians have an innate predisposition for art. With LSP, how did you manage to blend Mediterranean artistic culture with the Anglo-Saxon one, now multiethnic?

A. So many beautiful things are said about the Italians! And the predisposition to art is one of these. I believe that the environment, in the pyramid of learning and individual growth is undoubtedly the first factor affecting us all. Being surrounded by so much artistic and natural beauty can not help but affect us positively. It is said that magic happens when we believe, but it is also true that believing, if it is not supported by daily action aimed at deliberate practice and specific artistic and cultural enrichment, serves only as a display of vanity and therefore in vain.

I hope that with the London School of Photography I succeeded not only merging Mediterranean and Anglo-Saxon cultures but in spreading a language that unites us regardless of our diverse social and cultural backgrounds. A universal lingo that allows us to transcend all the imposed limits and help us grow, communicating with the beautifully diverse world we live in and all the magic we have within.


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