187 grams
1 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
187 grams

About two years ago I bought a Fujinon X-E2 camera together with the 35 mm 1.4 lens. Until then I had been used to carry around a much heavier DSLR camera with equally heavy lenses. So when I first started to use this combination – Fuji camera and 35 mm lens – I was really surprised about the quality of the photos that came out. The lens is famous for its very smooth bokeh and when you see the photos it produces, you’ll immediately understand why.

The lens only weighs 187 gram – the title of this project - so it’s very easy to carry it with you for an everyday use, for example when you walk. And I walk. A lot. Mainly through the streets of Rome from my home to the place where I work. And as I walk I like to spot strangers with interesting faces and ask them if I can make a portrait of them. It’s a great photographic exercise. I only use natural light. You really learn a lot about lightning. You learn how to interpret the available light. You slowly find out how the light “behaves” in a variety of different situations.

But that’s not the only thing. Because photography – especially the kind of photography where you decide to approach strangers – is also about psychology. In fact, doing street portraits of strangers that you have never met before is a psychological challenge. The first 5-8 seconds of your approach are the most important. This is the time range in which you have to convince the subject that he or she should accept to have his/hers portrait taken. You have to be polite, have a good and natural eye contact, shortly explain why you would like to photograph the person, perhaps even compliment on the persons aspect (for example hair color), but always in a natural and sincere way.

Being a 35 mm lens I have done 35 portraits in the project. Well, actually I did a bit more than 35. So I have to throw some of them away. But I didn’t know which one to throw away, so I kept them all.

Most of the photos are of unknown persons I have met on the streets of Italian cities like Rome, Bosa, Genova, Altamura and Marrakech in Morocco.

Under each photo in the gallery you’ll find a short description of the subject and the photographic situation.
Nazzareno, Italy
2 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Nazzareno, Italy
I met Nazzareno during a stay in the Umbria hill town Castello di Postignano. I went there to do an article about this miniature town that due to an incredible restoration project has experienced a rebirth after that it had been completely abandoned due an earthquake. Nazzareno used to live in Castello di Postignano as a boy and has now returned as a sort of handyman within the new project. He told me about how he had lived there as a boy, and the feelings it gave him to see his childhood town in “new clothes”.
Sara, Italy/Denmark
3 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Sara, Italy/Denmark
During last winter I had a walk with my daughter Sara. I wanted to make a portrait of her in front of building with high windows in order to create a mirror effect. She insisted on bringing her favourite sleeping dog so we ended up doing a double portrait.
Alvaro, Spain
4 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Alvaro, Spain
On weekends there are usually a lot of young skaters around Rome’s Ponte della Musica (The Music Bridge). I recently went there to do some shots. One of the skaters was Alvaro from Spain.
Andrea, Italy
5 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Andrea, Italy
Andrea Camilleri is one of Italy’s most famous writers and “father” to the Montalbano detective. I did this shot in his home in Rome after an interview. He has almost completely lost his sight, so he kept sitting in his chair. All I had to do was to ask him to turn his head slightly towards me.
Matt, UK
6 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Matt, UK
I spotted Matt while he was having a cup of coffee in Rome's Borgo neighbourhood. He had a camera in front of him, and when I asked if I could shoot a portrait of him he invited me to sit down. He told me about his business back in the UK - building boats - and we spoke about photography for about half an hour, before I did the portrait.
Unknown, Lebanon
7 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Unknown, Lebanon
I don’t remember his name but I spotted him in Genova, on the harbour where he was sitting with his girlfriend. I photographed both of them, but he was the most expressive.
Kevin, Peru
8 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Kevin, Peru
Kevin was a lifeguard in the swimming pool that my children are usually attending during July. One day he showed up with quite a trendy and courageous haircut – Mohawk style. And naturally I needed to make a portrait.
Amir, Morocco
9 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Amir, Morocco
I saw Amir walk into a café in the centre of Marrakech, Morocco, when I was having a cup of coffee. And I couldn’t help thinking: “Hey, that’s really a haircut that wants to conquer the world”! At first I did a few candid shots, but he was really too cool, so I asked him for a portrait. And I think that he is perfect!
Victor, Chile
10 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Victor, Chile
I came across Victor in the center of Rome while he was doing photos. It was a day where I wanted – and needed – to move ahead in this project. And usually photographers are willing to take part in photographic projects. Victor was no exception.
Samir, Bangladesh
11 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Samir, Bangladesh
I saw Samir in my neighborhood during a lazy Sunday walk. I was attracted to the blue color of his petrol uniform. And he was very willing to pose.
Alessia, Italy
12 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Alessia, Italy
I saw Alessia in Rome’s center. She had quite a special look as she was awaiting customers outside her shop. And she started to laugh when I asked her if I could make a portrait of her.
Alberto, Italy
13 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Alberto, Italy
Alberto is a nice shop owner in the Roman neighborhood where I live. When I have a new lens – it doesn’t happens often enough! – I usually pop by Alberto to make some shots. This is taken through one of his shop’s windows. I love this kind of shot and I would actually like to start a project like … “728 portraits taken through a window”.
Emil, Italy/Denmark
14 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Emil, Italy/Denmark
My son Emil is not an easy subject. You have to catch him in the right moment and in the right mood too, to obtain something useful. I usually I try to avoid the mix of light and shadows in the subject’s face, but in this case I actually think that they work well together.
Ingrid, Italy
15 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Ingrid, Italy
After a couple of days in the South Italian town of Altamura, where I had done interviews and photos for an article about the town’s famous bread, I met Ingrid at the train station. She was with a friend who was quite suspicious when I asked for the opportunity to make a couple of portraits. “Were will these photos end?”, “Will you put them of Facebook?”, and so on. But Ingrid did not bother and just sat down. We only did two-three shots.
Daniele, Italy
16 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Daniele, Italy
The day I met Daniele was perhaps the sixth or seventh time I walked by Rome’s famous Ara Pacis Museum. It has great windows towards the Tiber river, and I wanted to make a portrait using the window reflections. Daniele was very collaborative and we only did a few shots.
Silvano, Italy
17 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Silvano, Italy
I saw Silvano in the crowd around Rome’s Trevin-fountain. He was standing calmly smoking a cigarette. He was just perfect, and all I had to do was to ask him to keep smoking.
Kia, Finland
18 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Kia, Finland
When you see the photo of Kia I’m sure you understand why I wanted to photograph her. I saw her near Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo and followed her for one minute. When I approached her I think she was quite amused by my photo proposal. But she was also a very natural model and I like the outcome very much.
Danilo, Italy
19 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Danilo, Italy
Danilo is one of my friends and a much better photographer than I am. I did this portrait one evening before we went to the cinema.
Memo, Germany
20 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Memo, Germany
The day I met Memo was quite a productive day, where I managed to do 3-4 different portraits. While speaking to Memo I wanted him to express a suspicious attitude, in the attempt to do something different. And I think he did that quite well.
Lami, Lebanon
21 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Lami, Lebanon
I started to chat with Lami and his girlfriend at Trastevere’s well-known café San Calisto. His face had a lot of character and all I had to do was to ask him to be himself to make this portrait.
Elisabetta, Italy/Germany
22 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Elisabetta, Italy/Germany
Elisabetta was slowly biking along in the center of Rome, on a strange bike. When I asked her if I could make a photo of her, she looked at me with a curious expression and said “yes”. After having taken 4-5 shots I showed her the result and asked her if the liked the photos. She said “yes” and hoped on her bike again. Two words and she was gone!
Gil, India
23 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Gil, India
When I spotted Gil in a crowd of people in Rome’s center I thought: “Yesssss, I want him”! And I did not have to fight a lot. He was very willing. “How do you want me to stand? Where should I put my hands? Should I take of my glasses? Is this a good place”? In the end I choose a very simple attitude.
Ximeng, China
24 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Ximeng, China
When I first started to talk to Ximeng I very much liked the idea of having a representative from the People’s Republic of China. We spoke about half an hour, about China, Germany, where he lives, about Italy, about photography.
Emiliano, Italy
25 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Emiliano, Italy
In every true photo project that respects itself you absolutely need to include a Michael Jackson look-a-like. So, I immediately understood that Emiliano was the road that lead to photographic respectfulness, when I saw him doing the moon walk as “Billy Jean” was blasting out of the speakers in the center of Rome. The right Michael-attitude, a few frames and there you go!

Simone, Italy
26 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Simone, Italy
I spoke to Simone in a café in Trastevere. There was a great light, he had these classic glasses and we did a very simple shot, that I think came out quite well.
Matteo, Italy
27 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Matteo, Italy
Matteo is a friend of mine. Our sons have been playing foodball together and right now they have playing in the same band. This shot was quite spontaneous. “Hey Matteo, I need to take you photo. Right here in front of this wall”. A philosophic look towards the future and a steady wind was all we needed.
Valentina, Italy
28 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Valentina, Italy
Some days before I did the portrait of Valentina I had discovered a really beautiful wall painting near Rome’s central station, Stazione Termini. It’s made by the Italian painter Mario Sgarbi and represents Dante with his very characteristic nose. So I was looking for a nose-to-nose shot, but when I saw Valentina standing there with her nose pressed against Dante’s, I found out that the photo worked better if she slightly turned her head towards me.
Marco, Italy
29 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Marco, Italy
I was strolling around Bosa, Sardenia, a day during my summer holidays. I wanted to do a portrait of a person from Bosa for this collection. When I saw Marco sitting on a stair in the shadow on a hot day, I told him that I was looking to take a portrait of a person from Bosa. “Well, you can make a portrait of me if you want. But I from Rome”. We chatted for about half an hour and I did my Roman portrait.
Claudio, Italy
30 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Claudio, Italy
I spotted Claudio not far from the Vatican. And of course I absolutely need to make both him and his cigar part of this project. So I ask his if he was from Rome, just to make a contact, where after he said to me in Italian “Aoo, ho cinque figli tutti battezzati a San Pietro (all my five children have been baptized in Saint Peter’s Cathedral)”, as a confirmation to my question. I managed to capture both man and cigar.
Anna, Italy
31 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Anna, Italy
One of the most difficult categories to get a permission from – to do street portraits - is definitely middle-aged, good-looking and elegant women. So it was really a challenge that appeared in front of me, when I saw Anna not far from Rome’s Spanish Steps. She was smoking a cigarette with a really elegant attitude, a bit like Faye Dunaway in China Town (well, I must admit that I don’t remember if Faye Dunaway actually smoked a cigarette in China Town!), and I was quite sure that she would have said “no way Jose”. But luckily she didn’t.
Gaetano, Italy
32 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Gaetano, Italy
I did this photo of Gaetano the same day I photographed Valentina, close to the Termini Station. He was selling bags and frippery and he told me that he had once acted in a film together with the well-known deceased Italian movie star Alberto Sordi. He even showed me a couple of old photos from the film. Of course I had to include him in this project.
Paola, Italy
33 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Paola, Italy
I saw Paola one morning close to Piazza Risorgimento, in Rome’s centre. She was checking her smart phone before going to work. The light was soft and behind her there was a row of bars which made a great frame.
Vincenzo, Italy
34 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Vincenzo, Italy
One morning, going to work, I spotted Vincenzo. I immediately saw the photographic potential. He was smoking a cigar with a well-who-damn-attitude, and when I asked him if I could do a portrait, he just said “year, go ahead”.
Krizia, Italy
35 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Krizia, Italy
Marco Pannella was a very flamboyant Italian politician who fought many important political battles. Shortly after his decease in May 2016 some posters started to appear around Rome in which he was photographed with a hand in front of his mouth, as though he was censoring himself. It was a strong image and I wanted to do something alike with a person in front of Pannella, who had the same attitude. So I waited for someone appropriate to appear. “Hi, I’m Danish pho … ok, ciao”. “Hi, I’m a Danish photographer, I’m doing a pr…. Ok, buona sera”. No one accepted the first time, even though I addressed quite a number of persons. I had to come back. “Hi, I’m a Da … ok”. No one accepted the second time. Only the third time I managed, when Krizia accepted. The most difficult challenge of them all. Thanks Krizia!
Andreina, Italy
36 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Andreina, Italy
I met Andreina in a project that I’m currently working on, about the third age’ living conditions in today’s Italy. I just walked into her house and she started in a very frank manner to tell me about herself and her life. It was a very informative experience. In the end of our talk I had to make some portraits, so I told her just to act naturally.
Camilla, Italy
37 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Camilla, Italy
Camilla was distributing brochures close to one of Rome’s many court buildings. It was, if I remember correctly, something about law books. I said no thank you and asked her instead if I could make a photo of her and her very special hair color.
Fausto, Italy
38 / 38 prev / next pause play enlarge slideshow
Fausto, Italy
Fausto is the “house artist” of Rome’s Ara Pacis museum. Behind the building he is selling his own creations. When I met him we started to speak about film and the Italian cinema in general. I used a wall of the Ara Pacis as the background in the attempt to add a bit of history to this portrait.

187 grams

loading