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Between 2013 and 2019, Nicholas Pinto focussed his feelings on the concept of homeland. The outcome is his American Reflections series. The photographer was looking for motifs that capture the spirit of America; the images show his homeland as reflected in his own eyes.

LFI: What is the biggest challenge you face when taking photos?
Nicholas Pinto:For me it’s always just about being in a state of readiness for when an image reveals itself. Fortune favors the prepared, and the images you didn’t manage to capture always remind you to remain ready. My motto in life is to stay open to change by allowing a space for change to take place. My motto in photography is the same. After serving in the military, I needed something greater than just myself. From the moment I picked up a camera a natural connection was made. Later on, I learned that capturing subjects and the movement of time was called street photography. I was hooked. This new world became therapeutic for me. Photographing people on the streets connected me in so many ways with others, and I’ve been fortunate to meet a wide variety of people. From the genuine stories that get shared, to the perfect alignment of moments, I love the process of it all as as much as I enjoy taking photos.

What was the idea behind American Reflections?
The idea for American Reflections is just to share an interpretation of how America feels to me. I love being an American and I always had a voyeuristic view of my home. The rhythm and vibration of it all. As much as it is a street series, it is also an abstract self portrait of my American experience. I used a Leica M-P240 with a 35mm Summicron for most of the work, though some shots were taken with the Leica Q and the Monochrome. This series was all shot here in the US, in various places around the country where I traveled over several years.

Please describe your visual approach to the topics photographed. What would you like viewers to draw from your work?
My visual approach has always been to use a camera to best express what I am feeling inside. It is all heart energy. The street, your subjects, the world – it has a life of its own. My job as a photographer is to share that feeling and experience in the most honest and vulnerable way possible. To merge outside and inside worlds. I would like viewers to feel something of their own with each scene. I try to leave enough room in the images for that process to take shape. That is what I teach as well. (CSE)

All images on this page: © Nicholas Pinto
Equipment: Leica M-P240 and Leica M Monochrom with Summicron-M 35 f/2, Leica Q (Summilux 28 f/1.7)
© Nicholas Pinto

Nicholas Pinto

The Italian-American photographer was born in 1979 and is based in Chicago, IL. In his work he explores topics of cultural and social awareness, poverty, and mental health issues. As a visual storyteller, Pinto shines a light on the challenges of life. He served three years in the United States Army and completed his BA in Photography at Columbia College in Chicago. He currently teaches Street Photography workshops for the Leica Akademie North America, and has exhibited his photos around the United States, at the Leica Gallery in Bellevue Seattle, the History of Miami Museum, The Rangefinder Gallery in Chicago, and the Leica Gallery in Washington D.C. He is a member of the NPPA, Leica Historical Society, and recently gave a keynote speech about his work at the 50th anniversary of the LHSA.

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