Coppola received his earliest education in photography in the mid-1920s under the tutelage of his older brother Armando, an amateur photographer. In 1928, Coppola obtained a classic bellows camera and began his independent path as a photographer. He experimented with glass bottles and a prism his father had brought home from his construction workshop. By placing the objects between the camera and a lamp, Coppola captured the light refracted by and reflected off the glass, turning still-life compositions into experiments in abstraction.