Earlier this year at WPPI, Australian master photographer and printer Rocco Ancora sat down with Tamara Lackey for The reDefine Show on Adorama TV to talk about how he became a master printer (he’s got his own business, called Capture To Print), how some prints entered in WPPI’s The Annual print competition can be doomed to “death by Photoshop,” and how he found his dramatic, storytelling style.
Ancora has been entering print competitions for decades now, having earned himself a Triple Master title at WPPI as well as Grand Master at AIPP. He began entering competitions to gauge where he was in the industry, he says, as a way to learn and see where his work landed comparatively. When he began shooting weddings back in the pre-digital ages, and only had 120 frames for the day, Ancora developed an intensely disciplined state of mind when shooting; each frame had to count, and he’s never abandoned that approach today.
One helpful tip to shooting with this level of discipline: learn the basics first—how to light and expose images, interact and connect with clients, etc.—before trying anything more avant-garde, Ancora says. Laying the groundwork helped him tremendously, and while his style of photography is marked by drama and storytelling impact, Ancora isn’t closed off to creative evolution.
“I kind of look at style as a journey, not a destination,” Ancora tells Lackey. “A lot of photographers go, ‘This is my style, this is all I’ll ever shoot,’ but that’s being very narrow-minded because if you allow yourself to be inspired by what life throws at you, then your images will be reflective of a particular point in time.”
Hear more from Ancora and Lackey in the video below.