Interview with Dario Corso

Dario Corso is Rome Photography Workshop’s tour leader in Palermo. A native of the ancient Sicilian city, he is an expert in its light and secrets. As a photographer, he is fascinated with architectural details and their shadows. In this edgy town, a native guide is truly the real deal.  Read more about him here.

Photo by Giuseppe Sinatra
How long have you lived in Palermo?

I was born in Palermo in 1976 and I’ve always lived here. Palermo is an unusual city. Even though the downtown are is large, there are surrounding neighborhoods that are like small cities within the city. In actuality, they are true suburbs.

Where are the top places you traveled and photographed in the world?

Recently I was in Madrid. I found Madrid very similar to Italy, particularly to Sicily. I think it’s a place where you can practice many photo styles, from street photography to panoramas, from architectural photos to naturalistic photos

Who was your top influence / teacher of photography?

Photographically I was born in the school of Palermo – with the Veneziano and Sinatra families, two important families of photographers amongst us Palermitani. At international level I like the works of Kudelka and Frank very much.

What is the trickiest part about doing photography in Palermo?

In Palermo, there is a limited culture for photography. Photography is taken very lightly as an art –  except for event photographers, who are seen as artists in every respect. There is not much room for reportage that does not show crime or the Mafia.

What is your favorite thing to shoot in Palermo?  

There are two places I often think of: The Church of Santa Maria dello Spasimo and the Pretoria Square. The first is a consecrated church. It does not have the roof, and in summer, it is used as a venue for concerts and theaters. It is fascinating to lift your head and see the clouds or the stars above but within the church. The second is the Pretoria, or town hall square. In recent years it’s always full of tourists; the statues of the central fountain interplay with with the figures and silhouettes of this popular destination.

Who are favourite photographers?

There are many excellent photographers in Italy. I really admire the documentary works of Sergio Ramazzotti as well as the photographs of Max De Martino. In Sicily, we have some awesome photographers, like Angelo Cirrincione. At the international level, I admire the works of Kudelka and Robert Frank.

What are your go-to cameras ?

Generally I love using reflex. I used a mirrorless camera for a while, but could not shake the feeling of the reflect. I also love to use film lomo like the LCW and the Spinner 360, in addition to the inevitable Diana.

What time of day do you prefer to shoot?

In Palermo, the light is always very intense. So for me, it is ideal to shoot in the early hours of the day or the last hours of the day. The low sun exalts the city’s profile and creates a play of lights and shadows, empty and full, that best describes the meaning of this city

Are there any places or monuments in Palermo that are harder than others to get good shots?
Maybe Historical markets are difficult to photograph because, if you are not used to it, they are very crowded, loud and energetic. It is difficult to concentrate and find photo that are not simple postcards.
What should someone visiting Sicily simply not miss?
Historical Markets, and the Unesco Arab-Norman road, which is a route that covers all the most important monuments of Palermo, like the Cathedral, the Palatina Chape, San Cataldo and the Martorana Church.
Please share your personal favorite shot of Palermo and why.
Photo by Dario Corso.
This is my favorite photo of Palermo. It is on beach of Mondello, showing the sea of Palermo; and nostalgically tells the end of summer when summer chaos ends and another business year begins
Where can one see your photography?
Most of my photos are visible on my Flicker profile or on my Facebook @ photostoryreller17 page. There is also a site
Finally, where is your favorite place for a sweet treat in Palermo?
In Palermo, it is very difficult to choose the place for the best dessert. All over town, you can find good spots! But if I had to choose,  I think Pasticceria Cappello is the best one. After that, there are many places where you can have a sweet or breakfast in a lovely context. For example, Teatro Massimo Caffé is inside the Teatro Massimo, the second biggest theatre in Europe; or Kalesa, which is near the port.