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ItalianBrother – ‘My Photographic Journey’

Don’t miss ItalianBrother (Dilshad Corleone’s) latest column article with us, Dilshad takes us on a wonderful trip down memory lane and reminds us all how important it is to never stop shooting. Over to you Dilshad…(foreword by Joanne Carter).


Passport – check. Air-tickets – check. Personal will (well you never know) – check. Camera – not interested. “What!? Are you going mad? You are going to one of the most panoramic and atmospheric place in the world, a trip of a lifetime and no bloody camera?” That was the reaction of one of my friend when he heard that I was not taking a camera for my journey on the trail of Marco Polo along the Silk Route. That was a while ago, almost 15 years ago, I was still a teenager, and as most teenagers are, naively arrogant, or some might also say cocky, I believed that great journeys where personal and so all the images should be too. I just wanted to capture all those images and keep it locked in my memories, no need for cameras and photos. Only now I understand how wrong I was back then. Actually, I realized that as soon as my journey had started.

I remember ending up buying a few cheap Kodak disposable cameras with preloaded film inside and started snapping away to my hearts content. When I came back from that amazing journey I developed all those films, only to find out that a few photos had survived, which ended in a shoebox and forgotten inside a chest.



© Dilshad Corleone – ‘The Miner Kids’


Only a few days back, walking down memory lane, I opened that chest and went through the photos taken in the mountains of a god-forgotten place and I realized what an incredible chance I had, but back then I was not interested.

Four years had past from that journey, now in university I was getting ready for my year abroad to Italy, but still I wasn’t that keen on photography, the only major change was that I had bought my first mobile phone with a camera, what a great invention! I, actually, looked forward using my mobile camera, and I still remember the faces of my new Italian friends when they saw me with that little technological miracle!


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘The Friends’


That year passed as quickly as it had arrived, but this time I was coming back home with thousands of low-pixelated digital memories of all the good time I had there. To be absolutely earnest these were a lot of quantity and very little quality, albeit great memories.


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘The Footballer’


With the year abroad coming to an end, my overzealous photographic year had ended too, but the seeds where planted, or so I thought. Returning back home, back to the ordinary lifestyle, however, had had quite a detrimental effect, I had stopped taking photos and I wasn’t inspired, I missed my fun days and London’s grayness wasn’t motivating me at all, time passed and things didn’t really changed.

Many mobile phones later, my heart had fallen for the iPhone and things started to change again for me, not exactly with the first one I bought, the 3gs, but with the 4s in my hands I knew that I had to start snapping again.


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘Il Brucaliffo’ – (also my first IG post)


Yes I was snapping again, not that much as during my year abroad, but it was a start. I, however, felt something was missing, I was in search to better myself, I did not want to buy a camera and I really wanted to make the most of my iPhone. One day, I still remember it, I stumbled by mistake onto the BBC’s website and on an article where they where publicizing an iPhone photography course, I couldn’t believe it and signed up straight away. My photographic journey was going to start!

It is there, at the course where I met Richard Gray, he, I am sure, thought I was crazy (and to be honest I think he still does think that), it was him that opened up a new world of fascinating adventures, some might call it homework, but for me these were incredible quests that I had to take up and win.


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘Pinching Saint Pauls’


“Go and snap five buildings”, or “it’s street candid photos that you have to take this time”, or again “it is all about portraits, go and enjoy”, he would say at the end of the class and give us our homework for the week coming. I would feel thrilled and yet worried. I was challenged, and I really looked forward to the next session.


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘Ballerina’


As everything in life, even my Iphoneography course came to an end, 5 weeks had flew by, I still miss those days, I truly miss Richard’s teaching and him giving us all that, so dared, homework. It is because of him that I managed to change so much, and so many things have happened since then!


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘A Breath Of Fresh Air’


I was truly afraid that with the end of the course I would also stop going out to snap, but my desire has never ceased, and with the summer around the corner I really looked forward to go back to Italy and snap all my friends again, but this time using the new skills in the bag.


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘The Torero’


My friends were all the same, nobody had changed, but I looked them in a different way, I could see more and now instead of just snapping and snapping I was taking my time, I would search for the right angle or for something more special, something that I felt it was right to capture.


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘The Young and the Old’


By this point I knew that I would not stop, photography was embedded in me! And I loved it! But what I really love about the whole experience is the many interactions and conversations that I have had with all the people that I have met in these months and learning from them about their experiences, so I ask you what has your photographic journey been? What is it that you truly love about photography? How do you develop, what is it that you look for? When did you start? Do you remember about your first camera or mobile device? And what was your first photo you ever took? What was your main turning point? I truly would love to hear about your experience so please do let me know … ;)”


© Dilshad Corleone – ‘The Smile’

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]


  • Kevin Kuster

    Dilshad, really enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Thank you for sharing. My first camera was purchased by my father while on vacation in the Virgin Islands. It was the first 35mm autofocus camera, the Minolta 7000. Boy did I think I was the cats pajamas!

    • Dilshad

      thank you very much! your support truly means a lot!
      Ha!! I can imagine the feeling! I remember when I was 8 or 9 and my father gave me his Polaroid!! I felt invincible!! loved that little machine!so many great memories!!!
      many thanks again!

  • Francesco Lavinia

    Hi Dilshad! Great story, wonderful experience! Your words are as engaging as your pics.Btw…I started taking photos about 40 years ago with a plastic camera I found in a drum of powder detergent…..

    • Dilshad

      that’s a great story!! i wish i could see those photos! what an incredible way to start!
      40 years of photography!!! well i could learn a lot from you!
      Many thanks!

  • Nancy Carr

    I took art classes because I asked to from the somewhere around 6 to 9 or ten. Somewhere
    Around then I lost my nerve. I became aware
    That others saw these drawings and renderings and worry that Someone would criticize them or my effort took all enjoyment away. I stopped
    Drawing. Being an only child, in middle school
    I found a friend that resembled me very much
    We both were fascinated by this, we were picture taking fools! We posed separately and together pretty much through high school. I have thousands of pictures of us! We both carried a camera in our coats or purses. Other subjects
    Besides ourselves occasionally got in our frames.
    We grew apart in college and I stopped taking
    Photos. I don’t think I have any from IU. Barely
    Any from dating my husband…not until I had children, I had a crappy camera, but I have a bunch of pics. I am the one that provided pics to
    Moms of their kids from first grade, in field trips, sleepovers when they graduated for their memory board because they only had about five. I’m the rare mom that I actually have more pics of my youngest than my first child. I just got my 4s a year ago. I had 500 photos saved on my flip phone that I had to manually send to my email
    To transfer them to the computer. 3 months with the 4s I had 2000 on my phone. I think I topped out around 4000 before I figured out how to transfer them to the cloud, I don’t know where the cloud is, but was happy my photos were there.
    I was afraid something would happen to my phone before then and I would lose my masterpieces! Funny, I rarely if ever go back and look at photos. Somehow the thought of looking
    At them makes me sad. I have never liked change so the thought of the past being over bothers me… I take probably ten photos of random things a day. I toured an historic mansion Monday, from the front door to the back I had taken 50. I think I can recall every pic I’ve ever taken. I don’t plan on stopping and maybe someday I will even look at them. Perhaps it’s the same as why I stopped drawing, if I look back at them, maybe they won’t be as beautiful as I want them to be?!

    • Dilshad

      Dear Nancy,
      First of all thank you so much for taking the time and to tell me your story! it is truly incredible and I do understand how you feel, I am overcritical on me… and it is hard and sometime one thinks that it is not worth it but always trust yourself and worry about what other think!
      on another note, I would also save your photos on your computer, just transfer it onto your computers hard drive just to be sure… 😉
      have a great day and thank you so much for letting me know, what you have said is truly inspiring and moving!

  • Glenda @butterflyblue

    Fantastic to read about your story and the stories you tell. Your images are fascinating and truly engaging. It’s great to give images context and be informed so that the character is known to us as well as visual form.

    • Dilshad

      Thank you very much!!!
      well I like to tell the story behind! to me everything has its on story and needs to be told.
      many thanks

  • Anna

    I started in college while working on a fine arts degree. I’ve always loved photography especially black and white. I do love mobile photography but I miss the darkroom. There was a certain honesty in the darkroom. I don’t know if that makes sense. And as for my journey I’m still on it. Still searching for my voice. 🙂 thanks for the beautiful trip xx

    • Dilshad

      Hello lovely!
      It actually does, but more than honesty, I always saw the dark room as a mystical place the cave of Merlin where all the magic happened… I used to go to a friends’ dark room and he would place that white paper and pour some different magical liquid and bubbles and small explosions and mist would happened… (well that’s what i remember as a kid) and those colours would start appearing… ha what an experience… loved it!
      My journey has just started… one day we could do a project together!
      Thank you so much!

  • Geri

    Wonderful trip down memory lane with you! It’s nice to see the evolution of your photography.

    My journey began with the purchase of my first 35mm SLR film camera in 1971 (yes I am way older than you!!) I purchased it using payments at J.C. Penney’s and it took me a year to pay it off (I was a teen working on the weekends and going to high school). I purchased it because I saw some of the images that were taken for our high school yearbook by a good friend and they didn’t look anything like the photos I had seen in our family album. I was passionate for several years but then lost interest due to the cumbersome nature of the size of the camera.

    Flash forward to 2012 when I got my iPhone 4s and stumbled upon the work of Karen Messick. As a portrait artist, I was drawn to her painterly style. I then looked for more information on mobile photography and joined Instagram (where I met YOU!) and also attended the L.A. Mobile Arts Festival which opened my eyes to the potential of this art form. I can’t stop snapping and have no desire to stop! It’s an obsession I welcome.

  • Ian

    Thanks Dilshad. Great article. You’re a true storyteller whether in words or images.

    My love of photography started back in the mid 90’s when treading the backpacker trail through Africa and Asia. The brand new camera I’d saved for and took with me, perished within the first week during a storm sailing to Zanzibar on a dhow. As with you I then resorted to cheap plastic cameras and disposables for the rest of my year long journey, but just could not stop snapping away at the amazing sights, scenes and people along the way. The results and quality were mixed and mainly still sit in an old box in the garage, but what was for sure was that I had become addicted to capturing images of street life and people.

    Late 90’s I ended up in San Francisco where I purchased my first SLR and signed up for a correspondence course with New York Institute of Photography. It was enlightening but I started losing interest when it became more focused on the technicalities of studio lighting and the business of photography. I just wanted to be out on the streets snapping away which I continued to do. SF is an amazing place for capturing weird and wonderful characters who don’t mind having a big SLR pointed in their direction.

    Kids then appeared and my time available for wandering the backstreets of the tenderloin and Mission became limited and my photo focus was directed towards cute pics of the little ones. I’ve got 1000’s of pics of them which I love but my photo bug slowly started fading away until 6 months ago when a friend showed me this new iPhone app called Instagram where people post their mobile phone pics. I was highly sceptical even though I’d owned an iPhone for a while, I’d never even considered using the piddly little ‘novelty’ camera that was built in for people who didn’t have or know how to use a ‘proper’ camera. How misguided I was!

    What I’ve come to realise is that mobile photography is the enabler for me to capture the type of images I’ve always wanted to and typically been unable to due to the nature of a traditional SLR camera where anonymity is not straight forward if your looking for candid street shots. It allows me to focus on what’s really important which is the image and capturing the moment, rather than the quality of the camera and lens.

    I’m now a born-again photography enthusiast thanks to my little phone and the inspiration of mobile artists such as yourself who validate this art form and show the possibilities.

    Thank you again my friend.