Photography and Silence

Immersed as I am in a very visual world since I was a kid, I lived through many transformations of the art and media of photography.

Copyright Piero De Marchis

Lately I got obsessed with the two words: Photography … Silence.


My father has been a photographer all of his life, worked at La Stampa — Turin newspaper in Italy - for almost 40 years and he represented the specific category called photo-journalism or photoreporters (fotoreporter in Italian).

Copyright Piero De Marchis

I was surrounded by photos, cameras and lenses, I grew up admiring the works of the great photographers of the past from Robert Capa, Cartier-Bresson and everybody else at Magnum to Man Ray, Paul Strand, Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams, Robert Mapplethorpe and a lot of different ones.

I also admired the work of my father and his colleagues in Italy, especially during the 70s when they were documenting a society in a moment of drastic change.

They were going out for a mission “un servizio”, shooting multiple rolls “rullini” of 36 photos each with the goal to take that one photo that will make the newspaper edition that night.

I realised how images are the biggest tool for storytelling.

Copyright Piero De Marchis

Through the years I witnessed the shift from film photography to digital photography and recently the shift to smartphone photography while I am currently experimenting with shooting in 360 and VR.

A great book on the subject — in Italian as far as I know for now — is: “Lo sguardo rovesciato: Come la fotografia sta cambiando le nostre vite” where Roberto Cotroneo describes the impact that transitions in the technical aspects of photography have had on our lives.

In a nutshell he talks about the big difference between shooting and watching your photos days after compared to being able to review your work as you shoot (from film to digital), but also about the less obvious difference between digital photography and mobile photography: with the viewfinder and the screen of an SLR you have an idea of the photo that will be shot instead with smartphones you are previewing the photo on the screen exactly as it will appear and you can play with focus and exposure with the touch of a finger, a big difference indeed — no surprise left.

I have never been a real photographer myself, and I ended working in Sport Media where everything is based on images, being moving or still.

Because of my passion for visual images I have impacted, through the years, the work we do at deltatre in many ways, last but not least the creation of a powerful storytelling tool heavily based on images — SportTeller.

The multiplicity of ways that are bringing us more and more video on all channels at any time during the day has a first effect: we are getting more used to consume video alongside images and text.

Video on social is becoming more and more silent unless you turn the volume up intentionally.

Photography and Silence

It just struck me the other day: Photography and Silence.

A photo is an instant. And that is so powerful. 
Silence is powerful.

A photo is more powerful because of silence.

Video is a period of time.
Video is more realistic.

A photo is an abstraction, nothing exist still.

Copyright Piero De Marchis

A photo is taken in a situation where audio is present: noise, voices, music. But that is not captured in the photo. The photo has no audio.

When you watch a photo you can sometimes imagine or abstract what the audio of that moment could have been.

A photo is silent, but can make a lot of noise.

When you watch a photo you are immersed in the audio landscape of your living moment that interact with the photo, but somehow you are captured by the photo and fell isolated from your current environment.

Copyright Piero De Marchis

When you watch a photo you are always alone.

Even if you are with others, there is no time, there is no sound, you are out of sync to anybody else.

It’s you and that photo, you are private viewing experience.

A photo is more powerful because of silence.

Copyright Piero De Marchis

Help needed, comments and feedback very welcome — send at cdm [at]

(All photos are courtesy of Piero De Marchis)

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