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Herbert Steele was born and raised in Verona, Italy. After having got a degree in Political Sciences at University of Padua, he worked in the entertainment industry as a stage technician for a few years, and then he decided to follow his passion for photography. In 2001 he began studying and attending many workshop with major photographers as Alex Majoli, Stanley Green, Antoine d’Agata’, Sarah Moon, Davide Montelelone, Vanessa Winship and George Georgiou.
During his studies, he initially focused on the idea of working with NGOs. However, his interest soon moved to India and now the the Gulf area and the Middle East.
Now he his based in Oman in order to start projects about Yemen, the Gulf crisis and the dystopian cities of the Gulf.
He is also interested in any kind of massive human gatherings as the Kumbah Mela in India and all the most interesting and biggest festival and events all over the world.
What I would say about myself?
I'm fully a self-taught photographer. To be honest I have to say maybe that I'm just trying to be a photographer. I cannot talk. I am not very interested in talking. If I have anything to say, it may be found in my images. I am not interested in talking about things, explaining about the whys and the hows. I'm convinced that photography sometimes could be helpful to understand the world where we live in. My main purpose is to be a human being looking after stories of other human beings.
These days in photography as in our life, uncertainty about what is “true” and what is “false”, “reality” and “appearance”, extends from the realm of photography to that of existence itself. We often feel that we are confronted with such an illusory, ambiguous, unexpected “reality” as to lead us to doubt not just our perceptions, but our very capacity for interpretation. We are placed in the position of not only doubting the most blatant truths, but even their most extravagant simulacra: we feel a sense of disorientation and are no longer able to distinguish between fiction and truth. Rather, the two notions lose their consolidated meanings, both in terms of the way they are perceived and from an ethical standpoint: the term “true” thus no longer necessarily bears a positive significance, given that appearance often supplants substance, which in turn lends the former an additional connotation with respect to the notion of “surface” with which it was traditionally bound. This is what is leading me when a take photographs.
We have this immediate, wonderful gift given to us by the instrument of the camera, which enables us to mirror the world in a very direct way. We can gather evidence it’s always fabricated to a degree, but we can collect observations, almost like gathering different kind of material or visual data. Then somehow, that material is transformed through our eyes and our experiences, and I guess I could say our spirit, as individuals. We sometimes find ourselves rather mysteriously making work that is no longer just fact-based, that is no longer simply about what things are, but about how they feel. And so, that territory is where I find my inspiration and the inspiration is usually absolutely predicated on just being in the world. Rather than having a need for preordained agendas or techniques or scripts or plans, we can always turn back to the idea that we want to simply open our eyes and ears as wide as possible, and gather material without knowing exactly what it has to mean or what we intend to do with it. That material itself can then guide us very effectively and beautifully. I like a lot taking city portraits, and portraits of people. I also do a lot of work that is, in some way, politically engaged. And a lot of it could be described as personal. I don’t really prioritize one sort of inspiration or approach over another. I mean, the world is an inspiration and I can take it on in various ways, but there usually tends to be some convergence of the observational, the personal, and the political, and the results are usually hard to pin down. I try to do work that looks hard and opens up questions rather than telling people exactly what it is, or what to think.




Qurum, Muscat




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