You looking, yet?
Just when one might think that seeing is a key visual component of a photographer, Robert d’Amore – a native of Italy – invites you to think again. But first, we talked coffee, then art. And, oh, was it perfect.
smdlr: You’re from Italy but are currently living in San Diego. How did you find Coffee and Art?
Roberta: It was a lucky combination. I had one before in September in Pacific Beach. And, I was looking for a place to have another one. I was doing research and found them and felt like, oh, this is perfect.
I was looking for another place and found them while I was doing some research. I thought it was perfect and perfect timing, their artist had just left and the space was empty. I went in the next day and met them and we had a great connection. They are so sweet.
smdlr: I felt the same when I met them in San Diego, a couple of years ago. So, when you have coffee what do you have?
roberta: I really love coffee. For me coffee is alive. I’m from Italy, so we drink a lot of espresso. It’s a way to like, have a friend come to your place, and escape from your work, it’s a little moment to be with other people.
smdlr: Those are the best moments.
roberta: But, I miss espresso; espresso isa quick easy moment. In the U.S. espresso is expensive, in Italy its 80 cents, here its $2.
smdlr: I laugh. Do you see a difference because of that?
roberta: Well, most people here don’t have coffee in the middle of the day, its not into their culture and they don’t have espresso here.
smdlr: when do you usually have coffee?
roberta: Usually, I have espresso after lunch, sometimes in the afternoon if after like 5 or 5:30 and I need a pick me up. I have dinner very late around 9 p.m. I have my Moka which I brought from Italy to make the coffee. I don’t drink long coffee but I do like cappuccino.
smdlr: Can you explain what long coffee is for you?
roberta: Long coffee its American coffee, a traditional cup of coffee, just black.
smdlr: Photography is almost as you describe coffee: moments.
roberta: I don’t think too much. I like to walk. I like to look outside and photograph what I see. Sometimes, I don’t speak with the people. There are just little things that I see, and say, “wow this is amazing.” It’s a natural way to approach the photograph and more like a journalistic way.
smdlr: Your photography feels like its journaling the world. You’ve traveled to a lot of places.
roberta: I won’t take a trip without a camera. For me, traveling is photographs. The two things go together When you see something with your eyes, you miss the picture – don’t have that moment. But, when you are looking and photographing you say I need this and then you have it.
smdlr: Talk to me about the places you’ve been that helped you “have it.”
roberta: My trip to Cuba has been really important to me. It’s a very interesting place for photography, its like paradise. Cuba is so romantic; full of colors, people and so friendly. It’s been important for me to photography that, also, I had a chance to go to New York. I was in love with New York, I didn’t want to leave, I felt “please, leave me here.“
smdlr: With so many images and so many moments attached to your pictures how do you decide what gets to go into a show.
roberta: I go for what impresses me at the first look. When I look at the photograph, in that first moment I see something. When I go back, if I ask, why not this or that, I’ll change my idea. Before I upload, I already know which one I want in the exhibition. Because, when you photograph, in that moment you know that, that shot is a good shot.
smdlr: What kind of camera do you work with? And, does the camera you use, depend upon where you go?
roberta: I have a Canon 70. For the longest time I used the 50m, it’s a good length and very real – with that lens, what I see is what I get. Last year I bought a telephoto zoom: I can totally see the difference.
smdlr: I can only imagine how your photography must look with that in your exhibition. Speaking of, you seem to like exhibiting in coffee shops. Can you share what you feel is the importance of art to a coffee space?
roberta: When I came to U.S. the first time, I was alone. I use to go to the coffee shop to sit and have a cappuccino and look at the people. I would think about what they were doing and imagining my new life here; I was safe inside. When I was sad I’d go there to feel the people and the energy.
One day I saw a coffee shop with art and said well, maybe I can do it. I was insecure and afraid because of my English. People inside that coffee shop were so sweet with me. I couldn’t’ expect that people liked my picture. But, people were looking at my photography. The best things were going on inside the coffee shop. The people bought coffee, but they were actually paying for something that was my idea of beautiful.
Now, I’m like a stalker, I go and I wait for something to happen, because I know something will and that’s just what I want to see.
For more of Ms. d’Amore’s work visit here.