Q&A with Student Awards Best in Show Winner - Gianluca Urdiroz Agati
12 December 2019
We sat down with Gianluca, winner of Best in Show at the Student Awards 2019, to find out more about his image and photographic practice.
© Gianluca Urdiroz Agati
Can you tell us more about how this image came about?
The image is part of a larger project on modern masculinity looked through father and son relationships. While working on this project I started noticing and observing how fathers and sons interact with each other in public.
One day I was doing my grocery shopping in Lidl, and I saw Adrian walking around the busy supermarket guided by his son’s hand. It struck me what seemed to me as a role reversal, the father trusting his son to help him around. Although I was nervous to approach them, I went and asked if I could meet them at some other point to explain the project.
I wanted to photograph them at a daily moment in which they spent time together, and so we agreed to meet at the time he picks Luca from school. As with every other family I photographed for the project, I started by taking full body shots, and then I would start getting progressively closer to them as I would ask them to get closer to each other. I chose the park as background because I thought it hinted towards a traditional notion of masculinity. Although I asked them to get closer, I try not to interfere excessively. I want it to be collaborative, I suggest actions but let everyone perform in a way they are comfortable with.
What does it mean for you to be a winner of the AOP Student Awards?
I’m very grateful to have been chosen as Best in Show. For me it’s an external recognition of the work, a confirmation that the project is of interest and a motivation to keep making work.
What inspired you to study Photography?
My grandfather has been a big influence in photography, it has always been a passion of his. He took me to exhibitions, showed me books and gave me his Pentax which became my first DSLR. This combined with a passion for visual arts I had since I was little, and a growing interest over social issues, I think it created a natural interest for photography.
What would your advice be for someone considering studying photography?
I’m not sure if I’m in the position to give advice to others, but I would say try it if you can. I think nowadays photography is very accessible, which makes trying easier. I did short courses, summer art camps, and a foundation year until I was sure I wanted to go abroad to study photography for 3 years. As an example, during my foundation year I started studying film, to later find I preferred to focus on still images, although I still make films on the side.
Look at different photographers and see if their work resonates with what you want to do. Give it a shot and see how you feel about it. It’s also important to remind that contemporary photographers also deal with different media. Meaning that even within photography there are many branches to explore and that there’s not a single way of making photography, and it’s important to find the form of expression you are most comfortable with.
What plans do you have once you graduate?
I currently started a Masters Degree in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism in Westminster University, while trying to work in my free time.
The AOP Student Awards 2020 are now open for entries - find out more