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Introducing Giancarlo Gallinoro, nature and wildlife photographer

Giancarlo is a nature and wildlife photographer and videographer with a focus on conservation with a deep passion for the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Alongside photography, he has worked for several years in the film industry as a visual FX artist on different projects. Including a National Geographic’s docuseries, a few Marvel movies, and some smaller productions.

However, he has been recently focusing more on nature conservation. He is currently working towards his master’s degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation.

Portrait of Giancarlo Gallinoro, nature and wildlife photographer
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Wildlife Photographer

Can you tell us where your passion for photography comes from? What made you decide to go deeper into the practice of photography and what drives you to continue?

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in nature, looking for wildlife in lush forests, climbing mountains, or simply enjoying being surrounded by the incredible diversity of the natural world. Picking up a camera felt like a very natural thing to do, as it allowed me to freeze those moments and places I loved in time.

When I was about 8 years old, I remember watching a documentary about Greenland and being completely mind-blown by those otherworldly environments. That sparked my enchantment for cold regions, which has only grown stronger over time.

“The hope that my work can have such an impact on others is what keeps me going…”

Photography of the Lighthouse Keeper in Svalbard, Norway
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Otherworldly environments

Where do you find your inspiration? Who are your reference photographers?

Getting out of my comfort zone never fails to ramp up my creativity and drive. Which is one of the reasons why I feel particularly inspired in cold and harsh environments. Being out there in the elements adds a component of struggle that is always very exciting and motivating. It forces you to be present and focused on the now, it “removes the clock” and all the background noise. 

It is quite hard for me to name just a few photographers whose work inspires me. Along my journey, I’ve discovered many talented artists who have had some sort on influence on my photography. Some of them are still a constant inspiration to this day, some others I don’t necessarily follow anymore. But some elements of their work played a big part in the development of my style.

Paul Nicklen is a big inspiration when it comes to using photography to tell conservation stories. I really love Benjamin Hardman’s and Stian Klo’s colour palette and styles.

Konsta Punkka’s dynamic wildlife portraits never fail to amaze me.

Glacial environnement during the Foxfonna hike in Svalbard, Norway
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Svalbard Foxfonna
Esmark Glacier in Svalbard, Norway
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Svalbard esmark glacier

Have subjects related to ecology and sustainable development been driving or inspiring subjects in your photographic production?

My whole production revolves around that, and how much we all need nature to be healthy, whether we live in a big city or a small village in a remote area. While it’s easy to surrender to “doom and gloom” when facing these matters, I try as much as possible to focus on the beauty and the diversity of the nature we still have, and its intrinsic worth and uplifting effect.

“My main goal with photography is trying to inspire people to take action to preserve the natural world.”

Photography of an eagle spreading its wings
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Abruzzo Buzzard

Giancarlo, what do you want to convey through the photos you share?

I want to convey the same sense of awe that inspires me to take a photo in the first place. I want people to fall in love with the subjects I photograph, whether that’s a boundless landscape or an arctic fox or a dramatic sky.

With a big chunk of the population living in big cities with little to no access to nature. It is more and more frequent for humans to be completely disconnected from it.

“A compelling and impactful photograph can go a long way towards instilling wonder for the natural world.”

Sunset's light on a mountain in Svalbard, Norway
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Dramatic sky

In your life as a nature and wildlife photographer, do you have a story to tell or an anecdote you would like to share with us?

Earlier this year, I worked as a videographer on a nature documentary in Central Italy. One of the goals was filming wolves on the snow, which is really easier said than done! In fact, after weeks researching and searching, and enduring endless waits in the most remote areas of the central Apennines, nothing to be seen.

One day, as I was driving back home after another fruitless wait, I thought it was probably time to give up. And at that very moment, a wolf decided to cross the road right in front of my car. “You’ve got to be kidding me..!”. I literally jumped out of the car, camera in hand, and luckily managed to get a few seconds of footage before the wolf disappeared in the forest. I still find myself shaking my head every time I think about it.

Fox in the middle of a glacier
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Red fox on a frozen lake
Aerial photography of the Arctic Fortress mountains in Svalbard, Norway
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Arctic Fortress

If you had to choose your most significant captured instant, which one would it be and why?

I am still very fond of a photograph I took in Svalbard two years ago: an arctic fox curled up on a dark scree, against a misty background. This was a truly unforgettable moment as it was my first encounter with these beautiful animals.

And it has a special meaning, since it represents the coronation of a dream: visiting and exploring the Arctic. But what really makes this image special for me is that, out of all my photos…

“…it is probably the one that best succeeded at instilling that sense of awe that I aim to convey.”

Photography of a sleeping white fox in Svalbard, Norway
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Svalbard arctic fox

What advice would you give to a young photographer?

Then look at the work of other photographers, find the ones that you feel the closest to, and then “steal” from them. Study their way of composing and framing, the way they use colour and light, and their way of editing.

Try to understand how they get a certain result and then apply that to your pictures. Because you are a different person, the result is going to be different and, over time, you’ll develop your own style.

“First of all: practice, practice, practice.”

Tern flying in the sky
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Arctic tern in flight
Photography of a mountain representing the edge of the Earth in Svalbard, Norway, taken by Giancarlo Gallinoro, nature and wildlife photographer
Giancarlo Gallinoro - Abstract nature Photography

Extend this moment with Giancarlo Gallinoro by following him on his website, on LinkedIn or on Instagram.

All images: ©Giancarlo Gallinoro

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