2013 Photographer of the Year

Cristiano Ostinelli, Italy

The WPJA is proud to honor Cristiano Ostinelli of Italy as its 2013 Photographer of the Year. Along with this title, Cristiano received a $1,000 grand prize. His name will be permanently engraved on the WPJA Traveling Trophy.

Simply put: Passion is the driving force behind Cristiano Ostinelli’s photography. In fact, it has always defined his relationship with the camera. Upon buying an old Canon at a market in Italy twenty years ago, this 2013 WPJA Photographer of the Year was immediately smitten with the instrument.

It is no surprise that a man of such passion did not receive formal education in photography. Ostinelli consumed books and taught himself. Now he teaches photography—the techniques and skills. Though as far as he is concerned, “Photography is not a job that can be done without passion.” And passion cannot be taught.

Ostinelli’s intense emotional connection to the art form translates into each image he creates. With characteristic enthusiasm, he says, “I put everything into my photographs.” This is evident to all who view Ostinelli’s photographs. But what exactly is everything? He says, “It’s my creativity, commitment, personality, vision of things, and that dose of craziness and joy that is present in everyone's life.”

Just as passion is a feeling that does not know age nor time, Ostinelli’s images highlight that which is timeless and universal. He says, “I want those who view my work to recognize an original style, one that is personal and is not dictated by the fashions of the moment.”

At play in his photographs is also a strong sense of composition and aesthetics, combined with the story. He weaves artistic elements and a narrative together harmoniously. As a result, each image graciously invites the viewer into the world before them. In this way, as a viewer, you feel privy to the story, the day, the event.

The stories Ostinelli captures are not short and sweet. Individual photographs bespeak of a much larger picture. The moment, while highlighted, never feels completely isolated or out of context. It is a part of a narrative that is unfolding from one moment to the next throughout the day. There is an intuitive understanding of how a particular scene, or moment, fits into the wedding day story.

Ostinelli sees his work as having a touch of craziness that is not traditionally found in wedding photography. Of course, there is the sentimental bride, the ebullient groom and heartfelt embrace by the mother. There is also the close-up of the mildly bored ring bearer juxtaposed with the grinning groom in the distance. There is the cake vendor struggling to transport the massive, three-tiered wedding cake; the bride with her entire face thrust into the cake. Ostinelli’s portfolio captures the entire wedding story, not just the one of storybooks, but the one of real life in all its serendipity.