“First I’ve to tell you why I shoot pictures. When I was 17 I had a motorcycle accident where I lost my memory. At last there was a three months void, but I understand the uniqueness of life and the fleetingness of memory. I wanted a camera to secure my memory. For me photography is narrative. Ok, I studied art so I care about aesthetics, but it is just a game.” is how Sebastiano Pavia introduced himself to us. The Sicilian photographer is not attracted by agressive eroticism, but prefers the sublte and creative 70´s seduction, that still leaves room for your own phantasy and scores with more elegance. We spoke to him about this book ” Love Sicily”, how the place influences the perception of the lovers, and about finding authenticity.
What is unique about you that cannot be read about in your biography?
My best quality is superficiality. I’m ashamed by a big hairy mole close to my belly. My best quality is superficiality and it helped me working as a photographer.
You define your work as 70´s; what do you like about that time and would you have loved to live in this period?
I was born on 72, I think it’s reassuring to recall the childhood… I’m not attracted in aggressive eroticism. I prefer the creativity of seduction to the satisfaction of the sex act. 70’s eroticism was unpredictable, creative and elegant and was also supported by the imagination of readers. My idea of elegance is quite vintage, I believe in manners. I think today´s fashion is the farthest thing to elegance and without decency eroticism is gone.
“I prefer the creativity of seduction to the satisfaction of sex act. 70’s eroticism was unpredictable, creative and elegant, was also supported by the imagination of readers. My idea of elegance is quite vintage, I believe in manners.”
In an interview you said that with your images you want to transmit authenticity. A touch of coincidence on the basis of emotionality that we usually don’t see in magazines elsewhere. Do you think that in a time where we are surrounded by so many by technical devices, the human is longing for more emotions and “real things” again and as an artist you are expressing this as well?
In the digital age analog is trendy. Authenticity was a wish that I wanted to create as a tribute to the amateur porn, that I consider the real modern photography. Looking at my book I see pro pictures, made by pro photographer and pro models… but it’s still fresh and honestly happy, with some real emotions. We really had fun around!
You also mentioned your dad who loved art, books and erotic and French poetry…
My father collected art and music during his life, he was enchanted by French poetry and female beauty. He was subscribed to Playboy, Luì and Playmen, sexy magazines for not perverted men. I have grown up secretly browsing his magazine. He died when I was 11. He left me 6500 LP and to listen his music is my way to relate to him.
What makes a woman erotic in your eyes?
In the movie “Adaption” there is a scene at an orchid exposition where Charlie Kaufman compares the female beauty to the flowers. Every single one has something specific to love, to desire. Later, the movie reveals about a psychoactive drug from orchids that makes you feel part of the universe happily. Eroticism is imagination melt in senses and when you push it with drugs you’re in heaven.
Show me one of your favorite images that you ever did and tell me why it is so special for you.
Today’s winner, for “my favorite picture” is:
“I think Sicily is a perfect place for love. The time turns slower, the criticism is suspended, the light is lazy and you smell a kind of freedom of doing whatever you want.”
I took it in July 1990, when the girl in the white dress had her 18th birthday. The girl on the right, was introduced to me that evening, after that flash. She is my wife Mariolina. We have two boys and an 18 year old daughter. We have been having an analogic relationship for 23 years.
Is your book „Love Sicily” a love declaration to your home, to woman and to love?
Sure! I read that a love relationship is always related to the scene. The place influence the perception of the lovers. I mean, you love your partner in your city, but on vacation in Africa you maybe start to like no more his smell, his voice… I think Sicily is a perfect place for love. The time turns slower, the criticism is suspended, the light is lazy and you smell a kind of freedom of doing whatever you want.
In a further project you travelled to Sardinia and Kenia, but instead of working with many different models you chose to travel with just one girl for each place. I guess it was a more intense experience to spend more time with just one person. Was it also more difficult at times?
In Love Sicily I found some “authenticity” with the models staying more than just a week. The confidence was deeper. Problems starts when there is no feeling; after three day it’s hard to shot any picture. But I’m lucky and very polite. I prefer the “just one girl kind” experience, it’s like a framed story.
“In the movie “Adaption” there is a scene at an orchid exposition where Charlie Kaufman compares the female beauty to the flowers. Every single one has something specific to love, to desire.”
Do you have a next destination planned already?
Sure! I’m shooting in Portogruaro (very close to Venice) for a lawyer´s artist book collector. The book it’s halfway to be ready. I’m planning to go to Eolian Islands with a sailing boat (with my Brother Skipper), Andalucia and California (I love the Burning-Man, SF) My project is to create an anthology of sexy travelling books, involving many photographers. If the taxes pressure in Italy turns to normality the next year I’ll produce a book with Marco Pietracupa and Lady Tarin, I do love their pictures.
To see the beauty in everything (banal but true)
The most important thing in life?
After health,… love and honesty?
all images by www.sebastianopavia.com