“Excuse me, can I take your picture?”
“A simple 'no thanks' is not the end of the world.”
Millions of followers around the world have seen Dino Serrao's unique portraits of everyday people on social media. Scroll below to see his beautiful portraits of typical Norwegians in Northern Norway!
A world-famous influencer
It all started in Australia in March 2020, when the Italian photographer decided he didn’t want to live a 9 to 5 life. He took a leap of faith and quit his job. While he was unemployed for a couple of months, he developed a project that was set to inspire millions of people and become his lifeline: snapping photos of random yet interesting people in their everyday surroundings.
"Some would say I’m a street portrait photographer, and some would define me as an influencer because of the millions of people following me on SoMe. Others would say I’m an inspiration to anything regarding people and life, and an inspiration to be passionate about what we want to achieve in life. Maybe I am all those three things together," says Dino.
Today, he's based in Oslo, and spends his time photographing Norwegians he meets on his adventurous path.
"I’m a normal person, born and raised in Italy, with a dream to have an impact on the world through photography, but with a main message that says: no matter what, we are all beautiful, valuable and powerful," he says.
Dino has a strong desire to take his project all over the world. He believes he's on an adventure that has barely started, and Norway has become a significant part of his journey.
"I initially chose Norway because it was the first thing on my bucket list of places to visit when I decided to leave Australia. I always wanted to experience a proper white Christmas, and to see the spectacular northern lights, which is why I arrived here in December 2020," he says.
Do Norwegians really just let you take their photos?
"Many people told me about this stereotype that says that Scandinavians can be cold, or that they don’t like to socialise much. Someone also told me that it was going to be very challenging to ask them to do a random photo shoot on the spot," he begins.
"But this didn’t bring me down — it motivated me even more to go through with this challenge. And what I actually found out is that Norwegians are fantastic people and are always ready to help you out with anything. They're very polite as well, although some might be a bit intimidated by strangers. But as soon as you approach them with a smile, they may even want to join in on something new, like a photo session in the middle of the street!"
Dino goes to Northern Norway
Visit Norway invited Dino to Northern Norway to capture the unique people and culture of the north.
"So far, Northern Norway has been incredibly beautiful in many aspects, from the panoramic views to the sky, the water, and the people that live there. What I really loved was their friendliness wherever we went," he says.
"Hammerfest was so beautiful, it reminded me of my own town but in a better shape and with more innovation," he explains.
"People were so nice and our friend and tour guide, Katrine, was simply the best to spend some quality time with. We got to see the beauty of the place, but we also learned how the town managed to re-build slowly, with strength and pride, after World War II."
Among his many experiences, he mentions the Arctic camel safari at Sørøya island, and his meeting with a Sami family and their herd of reindeer. He also recommends visiting the Svinøya resort in the Lofoten Islands.
He felt he didn't have enough time in the north — he wanted to experience so much more.
"I felt so good that I really need to go back as soon as possible," he explains.
20-year-old Sondre went viral
Dino's mission is to always find the beautiful moments in people's lives. But when he was travelling through the villages of the Lofoten Islands, he had a hard time finding the right moments to capture. At first, he was looking for an older man. Then, he spotted a young-looking guy at a construction site.
"This turned out to be the most interesting meeting I had in Northern Norway," says Dino, who was very impressed with Sondre, a hard-working 20-year-old from Lofoten.
"I thought: this guy could be a great inspiration to the rest of the world," he explains.
And he was right. Before Dino posted his video, he told Sondre to create a TikTok account so that he could check out the post.
"He was very new to the platform. I tagged him, and in less than 24 hours, the video had gone viral with over two million views. He now has over 40,000 followers," he says, noting what an inspiration a person can be.
Dino's own street art project just keeps growing, too.
"This project, this mission, this adventure is an infinite game. It will expand more and more in places, formats, cultures, ages, jobs, lifestyle, religions, tribes, and more ideas. I think that the best is yet to come," he says.