Interview with Alberto Pizzoli

Alberto Pizzoli
Alberto Pizzoli

How do you form the photographers of the great news agencies, interview with Alberto Pizzoli


Vanda Biffani


The images of Alberto Pizzoli documenting 30 years the most salient international headlines. A constant and discrete presence that he delivered to news agencies leading historical snapshots. His photos of the explosion of Heaven live in the Gulf of Genoa, the clashes of the G8 in 2001, the Mafia massacres of Falcone and Borsellino. Three Popes assets in various war zones, the services to Lady D, the POY award in 2013 for the 2012 London Olympics and many personal satisfaction, as the posters of Nicole Kidman who paved the streets of Cannes during the recent Festival Cinema. Then the culmination of a career with taking as a staff photographer for the leader AFP, Agence France-Presse, by challenging the Rome office.



The American actress Sharon Stone sends kisses May 21, 2013, just arrived for the screening of the film “Behind the Candelabra” presented in competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. A billboard with Nicole Kidman photographed by Pizzoli, this pictured in Cannes. .

When did you start?

In 21 years as a freelance, I have not done that the photographer in life. I started with the local news in Bologna, was a school, spaziavo than road traffic to the sport. I cultivated personal projects also trying to sell through an agent, so I spent a year in Latin America, the media interest and the point of the news was in that geographical area. I worked with the Sygma, which now no longer exists, as well as other major leading agencies Gamma, Sipa, Black Star. The AFP, AP and Reuters at the time worked with the different rhythms, a great event sent off daily at most 3/4 pictures in B / N, required seven minutes each, for a color time tripled. Among developing, printing and caption to send telephoto needed over an hour. Turned a few photos and the value of each was very high. Today, the amount outstanding is so vast that the value has fallen. In a field of Serie A soccer there are on average 40 photographers, all connected to transmit. A newspaper has provided thousands of photos of the same event and can decide the price, competition is huge. We scattavamo in negative or slide and spedivamo the rollers. The newspapers were waiting, there was no internet or online newsrooms, no mobile phones, all the product was on the paper that had different times.

Spedivi place from the material?

Again, using the means strangest. From Europe the easiest method were trains or planes that went to Paris. There were no safety concerns, now no one would take even candy. We went with packs of rollers, asked to passengers departing to take them, in Paris awaited them a motorcyclist who withdrew the package. Or we used the cuccettisti train, which we handed the rollers and a portion of the fee, on arrival they received more money. They were happy, well earned. Then there was the Concorde, the rollers from Paris were boarded and departed for New York. Leveraging the speed and time zone earned one day, I talk about needle etched. There, in the offices of the various agencies were developed, selected the best photos and made several duplicates then distributed between the Americas and Europe, where he always returned with the Concorde. Once in Paris reached the big European newsrooms, in 24 hours had already been processed and redistributed. Behind each photo there were dozens of people, each with a percentage, you can not imagine how many earn more.


Paul Pogba centrocapista Juventus during a check ball in a Serie A Juventus-Bologna

That was the end not used?

The real waste thrown, the part of sufficient quality was archived for future use. The archive is still important, especially for freelancers. Must provide fast individual photos or services easily traceable, being online, searchable by anyone, anytime. The more automated the better, the customer looking for a photo to be an advantage that uses very little time.

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Pope Francis greets the arrival at the Church of the Gesu in Rome. July 31, 2013. The Pope celebrated Mass for St. Ignatius of Loyola founder of the Jesuits. Pope Benedict XVI passes the gate alone for a prayer before the wall of death in the courtyard of the block 11, during a visit to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, May 28, 2006 in Oswiecim, This is his last day of a four day trip to Poland.

It is important to know the technology? 

In wildlife and sports photography of the technical and technological research is essential, several amazing photos that are seen lately are made with machines and robotic remoted. Produce unique images of great beauty, from critical angles, like the bottom of a swimming pool or the ceiling of a building, and running at points where the photographer could not work or stay. Are now appearing even drones.

What do you think of the trend of post produce the images in photo journalism?

AFP in a photo retouched equivalent to a news manipulated. Only “crop” and light “levels”, because at stake is the credibility. Certainly a good post production enhances an image and makes it different, but unlike the other of us is never granted.

What to suggest to whoever is proposed as a photographer for an agency like the AFP?

Not only do great services, but mostly little things every day. You are not always on the first page, it also works for news minor and sometimes do not like it to be given. One must be able to produce increasingly high level, very quickly and in any condition. We are not specialists, you must be very good at all.

The Haven tanker disaster in the Gulf of Liguria

If I had remained free lance of which sector you would have taken?

I love all sports and reportage broader that I can interpret more. Mainly we are journalists and we have to give a reading, photography is a tool, it must contain elements that tell the news. Now I see that it works well the portrait, Italian newspapers is what known more. I would look for the corporate, personal projects alongside broad. Freelance, I’d be far from current where there is no longer space, times have changed. By now, the distance between when one thing happens when images are available to the public is only time technical transfer. The newspapers have no money and illustrate (wrong) with what it costs less and is available immediately drawing from smartphone owners.

One of your last service was carried on a warship, as you work?  

At the invitation of the US Navy, I was two days aboard the American aircraft carrier Nimitz centerpiece of a device reinforced around Syria. It is a terrible weapon, deadly, but always as wonderful as technology weapon. I was embarked on several aircraft carrier. It lands on the bridge with moving ship by hooking a cable. Six thousand people work so that about 60 aircraft are able to take off in all weather conditions 24 hours a day, anywhere in the planet. On the flight deck is impossible to communicate talking and is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world to work. It tells codes, colors and signs, to take pictures of that type of ship you have to have experience, you have a helmet, goggles, the view is obscured by smoke, you have to move in sync with the other, you do not have to drop anything because could be sucked into an engine, causing massive damage and if you end up in the wake of a jet engine passing a few steps come thrown tens of meters away. If you’re lucky.


F / A-18E Super Hornet ready for take-off from the US navy’s supercarrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in the Mediterranean October 24, 2013. The ship was ready for a possible mission in Syria

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