Visual Memories; an interview with Paolo Raeli

Through the wide world of tumblr I discovered the work of Rome based photographer Paolo Raeli and each one of his photos puts the viewer in a world of cinematic proportions. I just had to interview him to find out more about the process of creating his “visual memories” of youth.



Introduce yourself and where you’ re based.

Hey! My name is Paolo and I was born one crazy hot day of august 21 years ago in Palermo, a big city in the south of Italy. I am based in Rome at the moment, but I move around a lot.

What are three words that describe you.
That’s one hard question! I’d say one would definitely be “daydreamer”, as I spend most of my days fantasizing about the future, people, and making up stories inside of my mind. Also “curious” defines me pretty well. I tend to question everything. And “sensitive” maybe. A little too much sometimes. There are days when even the smallest thing brings me to the verge of tears.



When did you begin taking photographs?
I used to run around the house making videos with one old camera my dad gave me when I was 8, making movies with my friends and sister.
I was very fascinated by the idea of keeping a visual memory forever, and it was just a matter of time before I started getting interested in photography too, also because of the great influence a friend had over me with his own passion over photography. I placed photography on an even more serious level in my life when my parents bought me my first digital (and expensive!) camera the day I turned 18, though.


Your work really amplifies youth culture. Why do you think so many artists are inspired by youth?
I think it’s pretty normal. The teenage years are considered and celebrated as the best years of life. Maybe that’s not true. But we can’t deny it definitely is a crucial part of the life of every human. You create a lot of different memories and get to experience thousand  of “first times” in different context and having some “visual memories” of what our youth looked like definitely is a nice thing. Things change so fast and our brains aren’t always the best memory keepers.

Many of your photos feel like film stills. Is film-making or cinematography of interest to you?
That’s a huge compliment to me! Thank you. And as I’ve said above, yes. One of my dreams is to create music videos or even working for the cinema industry.


If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Probably the Hawaii islands. The weather, the sea, the landscapes, and just the vibe of it makes my head spin! And it would be an amazing place to visit and of course take some nice pictures.



What is the best & worst part about your city?
Art! Art everywhere. It’s absolutely beautiful. Everytime I go out for a walk I notice something new I haven’t noticed ever before.

The  worst part is that it’s definitely not treated as it should be by its citizens and tourists. Some monuments look like they are abandoned, and a lot of people live in poverty. It’s sad to see such an amazing city with great potential being mistreated.


Who are you listening to at the moment?

Obsessing over Disclosure again!

What are 5 films that really inspired you?
Little birds (Elgin James), Gummo (Harmony Korine) Wild tigers I have known (CamArcher), Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson) Welcome to the Dollhouse (Todd Solondz)


Lastly, do you have a question for me?
Are you happy with the person you’ve become?

FG: I think I still have much to learn about this world and the people in it but so far I’m beginning to like the person that I am. It does sound very cliche but I do believe things happen for a reason. There are people in your life that become so close that they are almost an extension of yourself, then months later they disappear from your life. In retrospect you carry these relationships with you and they shape the person you are throughout your life. I have a lot more living to do, and every corner is certain surprise. 


More of Paolo’s Work: 



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