T. Kimura: Your job is making you travel a lot. Does the connection between photography and travel remain today?
A. Niccolai: Generally i think of travelling in terms of a period of stay, not moving around...in terms of a period spent sleeping at night in a room not my own.
I've never associated travelling with a journey, but rather observing from a standstill.
T.K. What interests you most in photography?
A.N. Generally in my life i'm interested in nature because it charms me and i just want to listen to every story nature can tell me. That's the reason for which i try to deep the link between nature and me.
So that is interesting in photography too, for the same reason..in order to strengthen and align my mind with the natural elements of our world. I don't think of my photos like part of the environmental debate. I am not interested in the rhetoric of the more militant.
T.K. Is there a place...a nation..that you think is the ideal place to create art and grew up?
A.N. I think that art can potentially be created anywhere. Difficulty fires the creative juices. The outpouring can be cathartic. There are certainly some places that are better than others when it comes to grewing up or raising children. Several nations are capable of supplying most of requirements like for example clean water, good food, nurturing environment, good education most of the time but the context in which they are provided often concerns me. The culture is economically driven. The bottom line is the banknote rather than human values. In the long term this is likely to be the undoing of a country.
T.K. How do you approach the work?
A.N. First of all i need isolating myself to such a point where every kind of pressure won't come into play when i am working so i can work with freedom of mind and focus.
The i can say i am very much aware that what i do come though me and not from me...what i do is giving the work a form and dress it up in my own personal experience.
Every piece of work (a music, a photographic project, a painting) has an inner life and that goes beyond the creator's understanding.
But i believe that, at the essence of the work, there is something much deeper...something in which one should desire to delve.
T.K. And how should a viewer approach your work?
A.N. Generally i think that one should come to a work and open up to it, so the work can become relevant to her/his life in some way, but that person should pay attention to the peripheral information generated in order to really grasp the meaning embedded in it...a meaning that is not an absolute meaning but is just the way i respond to an emotional content...so a work, to be true, should reflect the whole complexity of emotions that it can embrace. Sometimes it happens that the viewer and i share a common vocabulary, a common sensitivity, and that allows her/him to quickly establish a good context to express feelings or look inward.
T.K. Have you been able to discern patterns that recur in your works of photography?
A.N. After all these years i could say that i have learnt the routines that I can follow when I do something and..yes..there are patterns that I can rely upon in the meantime. It’s something I had to discover at the beginning, and now it’s something I am able to use.
T.K. What defines a photographic style? The way you light? The subject?
A.N. Honestly I don’ have any stylist concept to talk about..at all. I've never spent time to think about it. These are certain feelings or atmospheres that just seem to come periodically and guide me. But it’s not just using instinct...it’s not easy to explain...it’s an emotional approach but it's a very lucid kind of working.
I think every photographer finds his own grammar and i could call it style or certain vision. It is coming back to me all the time and I am not afraid of repeating myself anymore I must say, because I realise that this is what I do, how i do things and this is what comes to me. What I like to do, this approach that I've found, this style or personal vision or whatever it is, I want to feel it more sincere, more natural. I want to take it to another level, this is the challenge!
T.K. How conscious are you of maintaining your own distinctive approach to creating something new or different?
A.N. I am always looking for the right balance between staying simple and exploring new options..but, as i told you, it depends on the way my personal experience ends up coming into play.
I don't care that much about concepts like distinctive style or originality...i like photography where you can really search for something within the image, where there is something buried within something else completely different. I don’t like things that are too clear and too easy to find. It’s always interesting and challenging to hide...for me. How to hide and how much to hide and how much to show ... all these processes also keep me interested in the photography.