We caught up with skilled photographer and Street Dreams Magazine visual talent , Giovanni (Gio) Elao of @insighting to hear more about what photography means to him. One thing is for certain, his answers were definitely “insightful.”
Can you tell us about the circumstances which led you to photography?
There were definitely a lot of moments that may have led me to photography. I can almost pinpoint what may have been my “aha moment.” One afternoon on a lunch break, I downloaded instagram and a spark lit inside of me. I started taking pictures on my iphone and I was able to visualize a future for myself as a photographer. My appreciation for gallery work and my desire to capture nearly every moment I encountered over the years, led me to where I am today. My curiosity to completely understand the power and the process behind a final image always fascinates me.
What sort of imagery inspires you?
I’m drawn to cityscapes and symmetry of New York. When I see photos of places I’ve never visited- in New York City and around the world, it inspires me to experiment and travel as much as I can, to capture as much as I can.
“This is a very unique subway underpass in Queens, New York. I was walking and about to head back home, when I stumbled upon this alley that lead me to take this photo- which you can literally define as a concrete jungle.”
What does photography teach you as a person?
Photography has taught me a lot about myself. More importantly, it’s helped me to find my true passion. In 2014, I thought I had my life all mapped out. I Graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and I was prepared to pursue a career in law enforcement. But, the more I shot and the more friends I made through social media, the more I started visualizing an alternate career path in photography. I started thinking that my curiosity for taking photos may have been hindered over the years and maybe this is what I was supposed to be doing. Encouragement over social media made me unafraid to explore a different path. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll take pictures forever, or if photography will just turn out to be a hobby. Time will tell. Right now, every moment is one that deserves to be captured.
“This is one of my favorite look-ups from Midtown. I like the way the arch aligns perfectly with the buildings. It’s amazing what you can find when you’re just looking up.”
You work with Street Dreams Magazine. Can you tell us a little about that?
0.I do and let me tell you, it never feels like work. It feels like one big family of brothers and sisters who share the same passion, vision and goals. The opportunity to work with them happened when I struck a friendship with Steve (@stevesweatpants) over instagram, who then introduced me to his friend, Eric (@ericveloso). He shared this idea of a printed magazine that catered to all kind of mediums in photography. In an era where prints are nearly forgotten with all of the digital advances that are available today, the idea appealed to me early on. I was then invited to partake in their Pioneered Artist Feature Issue (001). It incorporated my photography and the issue was a big success. Like our work, our friendship grew organically until it felt like we were a real team. Later on, we had a conversation about my future Street Dreams Magazine and I was invited to play a role in the visual marketing along with Raheim (@blacksoap), another close friend and talented photographer.
“This is one of my favorite portrait shots I’ve taken at one of the most cliche places to shoot in NYC — a basketball court. This is a photo of a very talented basketball player and friend, Chris (@wordfromabove) whose 6 foot frame towers above most. I decided to shoot it differently and in turn, got one especially symbolic portrait.”
In your mind, what is one of your stand-out moments while shooting?
One of my standout moments arrived when I was in Washington Square Park with my friend, Nick (@nickgirlando). We were walking around shooting some portraits of him and his rare pair of Nike SB staple pigeon sneakers. Everything was very regular until we met a guy named Larry, a local at the park and resident “pigeon whisperer.” I decided to snap some photos of the sneakers with the pigeons as the backdrop, while they flew toward Larry for food. But one lone pigeon with a mind of its own, landed directly on Nick’s sneaker. The pigeon kept readjusting itself and getting ready to take off. I snapped quickly and changed my camera setting to continuous shooting to try to capture the moment. I thought to myself, maybe I’ll get one great picture. Little did I know I was able to capture a perfect shot of one very epic pigeon with an equally epic — matching pigeon sneaker.
“This image is a very rare portrait of me taken by my friend Nick (7thkind) in an abandoned establishment in Indiana. There are not many images of me out there, since I have remained incognito for a while now. I prefer to allow my work be a full representation of myself and my vision.
Giovanni (Gio) Elao, grew up in the Bronx and has a degree in Criminal Justice. He is also a skilled photographer, a talent he has been exploring since 2013. He has been featured in Street Dreams Magazine and currently serves on the Visual Marketing Team for the agency. In 2 short years, Gio’s talent quickly progressed and has earned him over 200K on instagram.
To learn more about Gio, check out his instagram https://instagram.com/insighting and visit http://www.sugarlift.com/collections/giovanni-elao for more.
For all other inquiries and for information about being featured on our homepage, please email Mimi@ArtToFrames.com.