Photo by Larry Racioppo
John Rossi, a retired school teacher from the New York City school system, has a deep passion for capturing moments through his lens. Although he currently lives on Staten Island, his heart remains in his native Brooklyn.
Larry Racioppio, a fellow photographer, friend of John’s and contributor to Street Photography Magazine, introduced me to John’s timeless photographs of Little Italy. And after seeing his photographs, I understood why and immediately invited him to share his personal story with you on the podcast.
Street Photography Magazine subscribers can see his work in his article Memories of Little Italy.
John’s journey in photography began when he got his hands on an old camera with his girlfriend. They experimented with different settings and discovered the joy of capturing images. From that point on, John always had a camera by his side, documenting any event that caught his eye.
John stressed the significance of photography books in his development. He mentioned influential photographers like Walker Evans and Robert Frank, whose work shaped his understanding of photography. With the advent of smartphones, everyone can now take pictures anytime, but John emphasized the importance of slowing down to capture meaningful moments, rather than just snapping away without purpose.
We also discussed John’s deep connection to his Italian roots and his passion for photographing the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. He explained how his family had a store in the neighborhood, and how he was influenced by the atmosphere of the feast. His photographs from those times capture not only the events but also the culture and spirit of the people of the neighborhood.
As you will hear in our conversation, John is a funny and entertaining storyteller. He shared stories of encounters with fellow photographers and even brushes with famous actors like Robert De Niro.
It was a pleasure to have John Rossi on the podcast, and I encourage you to explore his body of work.