Black and white is where this story begins


Welcome to my personal website! It was initially intended to show only my photographic works. Still, in recent times, it has assumed a dual functionality of container for my academic activity and a gallery of my photographic work across years. Concerning this second aspect, most of my pictures are in black and white. This was my way of capturing reality from the first beginning of shooting on analogue cameras and films. That modus operandi profoundly affected my way to see things. Even today. In the academic field, most of the areas of inquiry are grey. Hence, it is fundamental to be curious and open-minded if significant black or white results are to be achieved. Nonetheless, in day-to-day reality, not everything is crystal clear, and most pictures are blurred. It is, therefore, my duty to be steady and get good portraits done, both in photographic and research terms.

– – –

To access the photographic galleries, click on the links below.




To find out more about my academic life and grasp what I do, click here.

To know something more about my photographic roots, read below.



My story goes back to when I was 13 years old. I used to shot with a Zenit-ES, on Fuji films. It was love at first sight. My first pictures were overexposed, crooked and sometimes slightly out of focus, but I was the happiest kid with that camera! Summers passed, and I have never left my passion for argentic photography and for chemicals and cameras. At some point, when I was more into professional photography, I switched to a digital camera for photojournalism, keeping the  pleasure of slow photo processing and no rush photography for portraits and personal projects.

My photographic mantra may be resumed in three different bases: composition, patience, and research. Concerning the first one, it should be stressed that I like to think a lot about the ideal shot, asking myself already in this conceptual phase how it will result printed on paper. I always wonder what could be the best use of light and which contrast to set on. Sometimes I would like to be like Gregory Crewdson and make an entire set for one single picture, putting everything at the right place, at the right time for the shot. Nevertheless, in reality, all these mental efforts remain just in my mind, taking just a momentary lapse of reason and they get solved in a matter of a second. Despite some recent digital rush, analog photography has taught me a kind of patience and eye that is only for slow processors lovers: sometimes you feel that the spot or the light or the frame could be right, but then you realize that is not how you imagined that right moment in our head. And then you wonder: why should I start taking some random shootings, when I want something else? And then you realize you need some time and to wait for some seconds or minutes, and even hours. Light will change, the weather conditions will also change the right timing will come. It’s a sensation that only with analogue cameras I have. Like the one you have when you turn your vinyl on a phonograph. You don’t feel the same emotion asking Siri to go to the next song. I use to note on my agenda places I’d like to capture, waiting for the worth moment for it. Surprisingly, this results in travels with my camera and not for my camera. Sometimes, I prefer to stimulate my perceptions and visual sensations instead of taking pictures and waiting for the right moment. I remember when I spent 6 hours in the Polar Circle, just to take a picture worth the waiting. Or the day I have spent from midnight to midnight in the underground of NY. Super worth, but also super exhausting.
Hence, what about my photographic agenda? Since I am a black and white photographer, my eternal guide is light. As Vittorio Storaro taught me, we can always write something with light. Light stimulates us to look for shadows, contrasts, and collisions to conventional perceptions, research the best composition and frame to impress in our memories an image of time in a single click. And that’s a hell of a true story.

Processed with MOLDIV

Umberto Nizza is currently post doctoral fellow in political economy. Before devoting his life to academic research, he was an attorney and international consultant for ILO and UNESCO. He holds a PhD in comparative analysis of institutions, economics and law from Collegio Carlo Alberto. Before becoming a lawyer, he graduated in law in Italy and, simultaneously, in international law and political science in France. He loves the city of Romeo and Juliet, where he works as a post-doc in economics, but his heart is still in Paris. A selection of academic contributions and working papers can be found here. Strictly speaking about photography, Umberto has in his c.v. some collaborations and appearances in locals Italian newspapers. He participated in a seminar in the International Center of Photography and presented his works in France, Italy and Germany. He prints his pictures with fine art techniques. He primarily uses a Canon EOS 1VHS, a Zenza Bronica Sq-A and a digital EOS 1Ds MkIII/ EOS 5DR. His precious loves are ILFORD Delta films for black and white, PORTRA, VELVIA, EKTAR and PROVIA for color. He still uses his Zenit-ES sometimes.

– – – 

If you wish to contact me use the form below.

* D I S C L A I M E R *

The author claims the credit for all the images featured on my website unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted in respect of the image owner, and it is intended for educational purposes only. The author is in no way responsible for, or have control of, the content of any external website links posted in the comments. Information on this website may contain errors or inaccuracies. No warranty is given as to the correctness or reliability of the website’s content. If you own the rights to any of the images featured on this website or do not wish to appear here, contact me with the special form “contact me,” and your content will be promptly removed.

One thought on “Black and white is where this story begins

Comments are closed.