Grand Prize & Sports Winner Daniele Colucciello shares the beautiful story behind his winning image


London and Paris-based Daniele Colucciello has taken the sports photography world by storm lately with his winning image from the Spotlight Awards. We want to thank him for taking the time to discuss how his shot came to life, how he’d rather define his style and much more.

The Grand Prize and Sports Photography Category winning image of the Spotlight Photo Awards 2019. Photographer: Daniele Colucciello


Production Paradise: Tell us about the winning image – the idea behind it, how was it shot?

Daniele Colucciello: Il Sabbione Siena – a Rugby pitch well known for having the worst ground conditions in the whole of Europe. A rugby tournament for under 12s was taking place that day. It was raining heavily. Participating kids were having fun in the mud by scrambling and tackling each other. There was genuine energy there. Nobody cared about the rain or mud. They were purely enjoying the fight on the pitch.

I got carried away with the game and released the shutter. Suddenly a 10-year-old boy caught my attention. His ocean-blue eyes were standing out in the mud. The transparency and pureness in there were endless. Right after the game, I called him aside and asked if it was ok for me to snap a picture. He was a little bit embarrassed, but gently smiled and accepted my offer. This photo delivers the mixture of this 10-year-old boy’s shyness and a certain strength as a real warrior.

Production Paradise: How do you feel about winning the Category Prize of Spotlight Awards 2019?

Daniele Colucciello: I definitely never expected to win this prize. I really feel blessed by the people who supported me.

As this is just a starting point, I will keep on working to go forward.

Production Paradise: How would you describe your style?

Daniele Colucciello: Frankly speaking, it is hard to explain my “style” as I would prefer people to define this for me. The only thing that I can say is that my goal is to have a clean and clear picture that delivers the message straight forward.

Production Paradise: Name three photographers that have inspired you.

Daniele Colucciello: I had the pleasure to work with Dan Winters, Florian Bison, who always inspired me, and of course, Richard Avedon.

Production Paradise: How did you end up behind the lens? Tell us about your career path.

Daniele Colucciello: After I finished my study in Fashion Marketing, I moved to Oslo in 2011. Photography was my passion but I never admitted to myself that I wanted to be a photographer. I made a living by working in pizza restaurants at that time, but I was not 100% happy with my life.

One day in a shopping mall, I heard some people talking about a photoshoot, so I jumped into the conversation asking if they needed any help.

They got me involved quite smoothly as they needed somebody on set. I started working as a production runner immediately, then I moved on to be the lighting assistant, etc. I was lucky enough to work with an Italian photographer at a certain point, who taught me how to move on set – which made me learn so many different things.

Production Paradise: What do you think is necessary to become a successful commercial photographer?

Daniele Colucciello: If I knew it, I would be super famous by now! Haha, joking!

I do not think there is a specific journey to follow, I heard so many different stories from photographers that I know.

I think you should know how to market yourself by providing solutions to the clients when any issues occur. It is more about human relationships.

You cannot really shoot the pictures and finish them on set and say goodbye, I always take care of the people who work with me, and I believe this will drive me forward.

Production Paradise: If you weren’t a photographer, what would be your alternate career path?

Daniele Colucciello: Dog trainer for blind people because I LOVE dogs.

Production Paradise: We believe you are not resting on your laurels – what are you working on now?

Daniele Colucciello: At the moment I am in Japan to develop some personal projects. My motto is always to move around the world to meet people, be in touch with different cultures, and talk to people who speak completely different languages from mine. Every time I travel abroad, I am mesmerised by those cultures, habits, landscapes – everything.

Sometimes those things can inspire me strongly in photography and life. Life is short. Therefore, I would like to expand my perspective not only for my photography career but also for my personal life – which will lead for sure to enrich my photographic vision.

Production Paradise: The Spotlight awards had a judge’s panel composed of potential clients for commercial photographers – did that influence your choice of image(s) selected for your entry?

Daniele Colucciello: I simply believed that my image would be strong enough to go far. I did not think of anything else.

Production Paradise: What made you want to participate in these Awards?

Daniele Colucciello: I have never been interested in participating in competitions or contests for photography in general. However, I had lots of positive feedback about this picture, so I said to myself, let’s give it a try.

We would like to thank Daniele for taking the time to share his experience with us! If you want to see more of his work, visit his member page or his website.

Production Paradise has published a special edition of the Spotlight Magazine featuring all the winners and their images. Make sure you subscribe to our blog and Spotlight Magazine so you won’t miss out!


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