“We can find the extraordinary in the most unexpected places in our lives, but most of the time we’re too busy or distracted to notice it,” says Oriana Lang.
This Asian-Italian photographer lives in a small town just outside of Bologna, but comes into the city all the time for work and photography. She can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Her photos capture the lovely, everyday life of Bologna, so we asked her about her photography and life in the heart of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region.
Your Instagram bio says, “Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.” What is it about the ordinary/extraordinary that you’re trying to capture in your photography?
I try to avoid taking the classic postcard pictures because those shots can be easily found anywhere. My focus is more on everyday life situations, people, and how they interact with their environment. I’ve always been fascinated by the little gestures and actions of our daily routines. I try to capture what may otherwise be taken for granted or considered not interesting enough.
We can find the extraordinary in the most unexpected places in our lives, but most of the time we’re too busy or distracted to notice it. Commuting, going to the grocery store or the post office, walking the dog — I like to find the beauty hidden beneath the surface and capture scenes that everyone can relate to.
What kinds of subjects are you on the lookout for?
My favorite subjects are people doing the most common things, which means I can capture the spontaneity of the moment. Things like families hanging out, couples walking together, tourists exploring the city, children jumping around, street artists or performers … Bologna’s city center always produces good shots. There’s always something interesting, or something you’ve never noticed before around every corner.
A city is made by its people; I try to capture that connection.
Do you plan your shots ahead of time or rely on spontaneity? What techniques do you use to create unique photos of Bologna?
I don’t usually plan my pictures ahead of time. Instead, I rely on spontaneity to find my shots. Patience and observation are the key — and, of course, a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt.
When I’m out shooting, I’m always looking for the best composition and try to focus on specific subjects. I like to use the rule of thirds to create a balanced image between my subjects and background.
I like to take long walks in the city center (especially on the weekends) and be inspired by the moment. Maybe it will be the light during a particular time of the day, the people walking by, the colors of a specific setting — I never know what I’ll come across, so I’m always prepared (and discreet).
Sometimes I like to browse the city calendar to see if there’s something interesting happening in town. I like to bring attention to the places and events that aren’t as popular, and share these new aspects of the city with other people. Bologna sure knows how to surprise you, even when you think you already know everything about it.
What is special about Bologna in particular?
I love living in Bologna because it’s not too big or too small. It’s a medieval city with almost 40 kilometers of porticoes and it has one of the oldest universities in the world. Bologna has a lot to offer: unique architecture, amazing food, museums, theaters, and parks. It’s a city for everyone.
Bologna is special because it has a strong history and sense of tradition, but, at the same time, it’s always open to future challenges and new projects. It’s a city that’s always improving and looking for the best. There’s always something interesting to do and plenty of opportunities. Life is good here — the city is beautiful and well-connected, the people are lovely and friendly. It’s an open and welcoming place with a vibrant atmosphere and deep soul. Its warm colors and the heart of its people make it truly one of a kind.