CNN Photos

Extraordinary moments in everyday life

Brooklyn native Giacomo Fortunato takes photographs of ordinary people in ordinary situations, but there is nothing conventional about the moments he captures.

“I show not only how people inform their surroundings but also how the surroundings define them,” he said.

His interest in photography came early in his childhood, when his father gave him his first camera and encouraged him to take pictures everywhere he went. He later pursued a photography degree at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.

Fortunato said his photographs don’t represent a distinct style because he enjoys covering a wide range of subjects and settings. But if he had to categorize his work, it would lean toward lifestyle portraiture.

“The places themselves are not the focus of the work,” he said, “but rather are settings for my analysis on how people interact and the underlying tension between themselves and these places.”

He was first inspired to take this approach while working at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, in the summer of 2006. Over time he found himself becoming more attracted to the crowds and chaos within the small city rather than at the tourism sites.

Inspiration also comes from photographers like Emiliano Granado, Thomas Prior and Jake Stangel, he said, who are in the editorial world and photograph subjects in everyday life.

His most recent project is his favorite to date. It was completed during a spontaneous road trip he took with some friends after purchasing an old muscle car. Their only goal was to travel cross-country from New York to Los Angeles.

Although he has been to various European cities, Fortunato said he hasn’t explored his home country enough. He is in the early stages of his photography career and hopes to focus more on editorial work throughout the United States in the future.

In the meantime, he uses his blog to show his works in progress, feature outtakes from previous shoots and resurface forgotten images.

“I don't really use Facebook or any of the social media sites, so this grants me the freedom to be social through my work exclusively,” he said.

- Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN