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Andrea Fanelli

When lab life gets tough for Andrea Fanelli, the 30-year-old Milan native, now a Cambridge researcher, turns his microscope on the city. Fanelli’s life-saving research at MIT won’t be found anywhere near his Instagram account (@andreafanelliphotography), however, because he prefers to keep his work and art separate.

Q. Would you say you have a distinct style when you take photos?

A. I like to create pictures that can make a feeling. Every day I try to do something different. It’s a learning process. I want my photos to pop out from the other ones [on Instagram] and attract attention. I want to create something that’s never been seen before.

Q. What do you do outside of photography?

A. I’m an MIT researcher so I spend most of my time in a lab. For me, my job is very logical and rational, and photography is a way to create something. Photography is a way to leave my everyday life as a biomedical engineer. My research area is in relieving pressure inside the skull so I spend a lot of time in an ICU at Boston Children’s Hospital. It’s not easy, but now I’m used to it.

Q. Does your work at MIT influence your photos?

A. I think it’s really separate, at least I try to keep the two things separate. My image as a photographer can’t influence my image as a scientist so it’s not something I try to advertise too much at work. Sometimes my school wants me to take photos at events, but I say no.

Q. What does photography mean to you?

A. Taking photos is a way to be by myself. I know that the [Instagram] community likes to go out and take pictures together, but I use it as an excuse to meditate. I go out maybe 2 or 3 times a week. I really like the sunset. I’ll wait for hours and follow the sunset until it gets dark. It’s a nice feeling to just create something, it’s such an immediate happiness versus research, you just take the photo, edit it, and it’s done.


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