The romantic eye of Stefano Broli

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Can't help it. Every time our editor comes across a fellow Italian on the platform, it's all "Ciao, bello!" and more stereotypical loud noises.

But we know why. There's always a great story behind someone who was bold enough to move abroad and pursue a dream. There is always a lesson to be learned, and purpose to be found. And that is precisely the story of freelance photographer Stefano Broli.

For this Member Spotlight, we are learning about the resilience of an ambitious creative with an incredible eye for beauty.


How did you get into the industry?

Photography has always been my passion. My father passed it onto me, and even if he has never been a professional I remember him encouraging me to approach photography in general. I have photos of a me as a kid using any kind of toy camera pretending to take photos all around. I completed my studies in 2013 with a Master’s Degree in Photography at the Centro Romano di Fotografia e Cinema in Rome, Italy (where I am from), after a BA in Visual Arts at the Sapienza University of Rome.

During the same year I moved to London with the intention of giving my career an international boost and I started working as an assistant for several photographers. As soon as I felt ready I started taking my steps as a freelancer and shortly after I founded my Limited Company, Phocus Collective, now five-years old. Joining Exterion Media as a Photography Manager in 2016 pushed my commercial photography to the corporate sector and its recent acquisition by Global has given to my career a new creative boost. On the side, I always try to feed my creative production, either with personal projects or challenging myself with street photography.

A pivotal moment in my career has been year 2011, when I won the Annual National Geographic Italian Prize and I’ve been recognised as one of the Italian Leica Talents by Leica Camera. That gave me the courage to say I wanted to be a photographer, no matter what would have been easier to do.


Where are you based now and who do you work for?

I’m based in London and I currently work for Global Outdoor as a Photography Manager.

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

I graduated in Visual Arts so it would be too easy to say I’d be in the film industry. But I’d probably would have chosen a career in journalism.


Can you explain your creative process?

It depends by the kind of media or the assignment. A creative project requires time to be built but most of the inputs are like sparkles, ideas.

I like my ideas to be simple, even if they have a strong supportive argument behind them. But I’m open to change the project with the execution.

When it comes to the corporate industry the ideas are collective and the execution reflects a much more methodical process.


How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?

Relatively. Technology has given me more opportunities to play with new media and formats. I love to experiment, using old print techniques for film positives or full-spectrum digital cameras for colour infrared photos, passing through 360 action cameras or AI-powered softwares. I’m not a tech geek but I get very enthusiastic in trying something new if they are helping me with my production, either personal or professional.

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

Challenging myself, periodically asking questions about my production and studying the industry. In general, motivation helps generating more motivation.


How do you recharge away from the office?

My family has the power to transform the last bits of energy I have in new creative boost at the end of the day. Having found a balance gives me the strength to survive even the worst days.

What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Question yourself all the time. Don’t be afraid of a crisis and fight procrastination. You can do better.


What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?

Obviously my main hope is for the industry to bounce back after the Covid-19 pandemic. I have many friends working as freelancers and fear of recession is the darkest shadow on their career. I just hope clouds will go away as soon as possible.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

Not easy to say but probably, especially after lockdown, I’d reconsider remote working as a contractual option as long as it doesn’t affect the workflow.


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