This is a wonderful series by Julia Morozova featuring the upcoming designer Daizy Shely.There is a girl through a city. There is an “incredible” girl aware of her beauty and she’s moving determined and secure down some unknown streets.
Diego Ricci is a young Italian photographer and he’s trying to define his style catching some ideas around, still getting inspiration from the big masters. Enjoy model Consuelo De Santis, who time to time delights us with her presence on C-Heads, on her mood.
Overlapping frames of black and white films give way to cinematographic pictures of timeless situations.
Sensual women are moving through a little bit desaturated spaces, telling stories which are changing any time that a mysterious observer passes behind our back. It seems that Elisabetta Porcinai is not afraid at all to try something different, to celebrate the female beauty making experiments with light and colours! But let’s talk to her personally to understand what’s going on inside an amazing photographic brain.
To begin with, why don’t you tell us about your creative process. Are you inspired by a location or a model, or you just start from the idea and then you look for the right team and place?
Well, I must say my creative process has varied overtime: in the beginnings, my inspiration normally sprung from a very strong and defined visual idea, I had a very precise mood, type of location, model and lightning on my mind, and I’d try to manipulate the environment in order to achieve the type of image I was after.
Lately I’ve begun to detach slightly from strictly fashion photography which is starting to feel too choreographed and “structured” for me. I moved instead, towards a more instinctive and spontaneous approach to photography, trying to capture the environment and the people I portrait as they are, instead of using them as just characters in a picture, and I think this results in rawer and much more powerful image. That’s also why sometimes I really enjoy working with girls and boys who aren’t professional models (especially in the beginning, I’d very often ask people that somehow intrigued me in the streets or in clubs to model for me), they’re vulnerable and more likely to be caught off guard by the camera lens, to communicate without faking.
Anyhow, I still like to shoot fashion stories, always being in control of the whole art direction though, from the model to the stylist and location. I wouldn’t say fashion is my main concern in a photo, although it surely gives you a lot to play with visually and I like to integrate that in my images, yet without making it the protagonist.
Why, in your opinion, your photos seem to be extrapolated from a movie? Is this something you usually look for?
I can see what you say, and yes, I agree, some of my pictures do look a bit like movie-stills. As a matter of fact, especially in my earliest work, I’d very often try to achieve a cinematic kind of image, partly because cinema itself has influenced me greatly, particularly the haunting, morbid and nightmarish settings of David Lynch’s movies, often resulting in my images having a slightly voyeuristic cut. I’m particularly inspired by his settings and lightning, that always aim at making the viewer not to feel completely at ease with what he’s looking at. Many people tell me my photos have an overall sickish and dark vibe, probably due to the stark shadows, the dramatic lightning and desolated interiors, but I can’t really tell where does this fascination comes from in me, maybe it’s something acting on a subconscious level.
I try to create that kind of detachment from the subject that makes you almost feel like a hidden observer spying from a window; that’s why many times my subjects look away from the camera: I like the idea of them behaving as they didn’t know they were being portrayed.
Another feature sharing common ground with cinema is that I like the idea of images having a narrative. I find it challenging to try and to tell a story or just a concept by composing an image, this is why sometimes I’d rather use the word “image-making” instead of photography, maybe to the point that I do not really consider myself as a “pure” photographer.
I would say the same about you. So light and colours play for you a great role in creating cinematic cuts. Why don’t you talk about your technical choices?
I tend to desaturate colours a little and this is either achieved in post production when I shoot digital (I hardly ever shoot digital lately), or with particular kinds of films and film processing. I think that tones are a crucial feature… my pictures rarely have bright colourful contrasts, but tones rather appear as blended together, almost giving a more pictorial texture to the image. Texture is another reason why I’m not a big fan of digital photography: I like the image to almost have a tangible body, like brush strokes or the grain of the film surface.
Light is certainly another feature I like to play with. It is mostly used as a very dramatic element, to create shadows and moods which sometimes can even result as unnatural, purposely exaggerated or again, cinematic.
I experiment and play with all sort of lights, especially in on-location sets. I guess it’s quite fun to see me at work sometimes with my completely unprofessional set of equipment, such as lamps and lights I find at home; other photographers would probably be horrified, but it seems to be working quite well for me!
I find your collages really interesting. How did you start with this technique? How does it work?
Some collage works in my portfolio are joint projects I did with graphic designer and friend Margot Pandone. We found a good way of working together, I think. We trust one another’s work, so we just come out with a vague idea about the final work’s outcome and then I take the pictures without Margot even being on set, and later she re-elaborates them by printing, cutting and recombining the pieces together.
I’ve sometimes used this technique for some of my graphic works also, like an LP cover I made not long ago. The whole process is made manually, the image gets “rougher” with every single passage and the result is almost “tactile”. In other works I’ve also played with overlays of different images in digital post production but I enjoy hands-on work way more, it gives me a completely different kind of satisfaction! I do not actually think about the re-elaboration before taking the photograph, sometimes I just use something from my archive that I think would work well, and then I get on with scalpel and glue and try to experiment; sometimes I also use geometrical schemes to decompose and slice the image.
collages by Margot Pandone
Let’s back to your “models”! The women you take the pictures of appear strong and unreachable, but their movements transmit fragility and sensitivity too. I guess it’s a kind of dualism! Does it come from you or from the people you’re photographing?
I leave models to move freely most of the times. There are some though, I purposely choose because I know how well they can perform in a role I ask them to interpret, but I think ultimately they just come across as the women they are. It’s incredible how one’s personality manages to come through in a picture: as most things in life I think, if you have something to say it will definitely come out in an image and in everything you do.
So far I’ve had the luck to work with wonderful people, who always gave that “something” of themselves that left a mark both in my photographs and in my own personal experience. I believe that working with people is one of the things that fascinates me the most about this job: it’s almost like having a piece of clay in you hands and it’s always both exciting and challenging to see what you manage to get out of someone, some girls you’d never suspect of completely transform when they’re in front of the camera, it’s always a surprise!
And what about guys? What’s your favourite way to represent a male model?
I like photographing guys, especially for portraits, as they tend to be kind of less aware, or simply to care less about the way their image comes across, and therefore they’re more authentic. Here again, I’ve often and more likely shot guys who are not really models.
There’s something about that linearity and edginess in a male body that makes them an interesting subject to photograph. A woman’s body has that innate sensuousness, delicacy and complexity, that performs beautifully when moving before a camera lens, they give you a lot to work with, while I feel that with boys you have to play on different elements in order to capture their essence. I tend to have a much more playful and relaxed approach, I let them move freely, trying to see all those little details that might characterise them, such as facial expressions, ways they laugh, posture. They’re interesting especially when they feel a little awkward in front of the camera.
To conclude tell me, will we see something beautifully strange soon? Are you seeking new ways to express yourself?
Well, I’ve done some new work lately, all on film, which will hopefully be published soon, but I’ve been mostly busy working on a magazine project I’m contributing to curate. New ways to express myself? Well, yes I hope so! I really do not think I’ve reached the point where my work has got to a stage of “maturity” yet, so I feel like it’s constantly changing and I’m always more eager to experiment. Lately I’ve got back to an old passion: painting, and I’d love to complement it with photography and collage. We’ll see how that’s going to turn out!
Photo Credits Elisabetta Porcinai
Collages by Margot Pandone
I will never forget that one photo shoot. I was standing in front of him, I knew I had to pose, to lie with my body like we use to in the fashion industry, but this time it was something different I exposed. Suddenly I started to cry with no apparent reason but, how strange it was, I couldn’t stop. I was sincere, direct, real and relieving. Never before and again I felt so strong and fragile at same time. Never again I felt so true. I’m back to Karol after two years to ask him what happened that day, it’s time to make a serious interaction again!
Let’s start with this specific subject. Watching your photos it seems that you have a very clear idea about the concept you want to evolve, but I’m pretty sure you let the model express herself the best. Why don’t you tell me about the way it happens, the process? How do you interact with your models before and during the shoot to create what comes into you mind?
I’m happy to hear a concept can be seen behind my work. I’d say I try to achieve a certain atmosphere to be seen or felt especially in my recent works (2011-2012). My concept now is wrapped in the veil of subtle insinuations. I used to make things too complicated for both me and the person I was photographing to be able to express ourselves freely. Now I want things as simple as possible. I don’t work with anyone else except for the person I am photographing. I don’t want any make-up artists, stylists or designers around to distort the result. I want to witness something unique meant to be seen and captured only by me. I got selfish because of the awareness of what I want to achieve. I am very defined if it comes to my personal work and no longer interested in fashion and beauty like clichés. I still do commercial photography from time to time but it is of little importance to me in the end of a day. I am now fully concentrated on one person, a real person, one who is not influenced by colorful magazines, industry or market expectations. A connection between me and the person (I will avoid term ‘model’ as much as I only can here) is a crucial part of every photo shoot I do and to achieve the most desirable result few factors have to be met. A spark of mutual attraction. Not personal attraction but that of creative value. We both have to be aware of what and how things are to be achieved. A person has to understand my approach and I have to understand her position. I used to be concentrated on a path (directing) and destination (how the final image will look like), not knowing where the beginning of the journey was. And that point is always a person, her psyche, sexuality and emotions. I do not want to plan things anymore. I want to witness. Through my images I try to understand the beauty of dissimilarity of a woman psyche and by applying my personal touch in the editing process I try to tell a story of what was witnessed. I use colours to underline emotions or black and white (recently) to accent my neutrality. I came up with few ideas I use while shooting. I explain things. I want to be understood and agreed. I use a simple stage limited to a naked wall to produce a credible atmosphere where viewer can focus on main subject – a person. Nudity is used as a tool of expression, naked bodies are more exposed and naturally they speak lauder, they confess what is hidden. A free hand is given to a person to stage herself, ideas are discussed and the whole process of transformation of the ideas into the final image begins. The trick is how to get close enough so that story can actually be re-told not simply arranged. If all goes well the reward is exceptional – a world of desires, fears, dreams to be explored. There is no big statement that follows. I just want to discover. I do not think about the concept anymore, the act of exploration is what thrills me. There is no destination also as I have given up on looking for one. This is all about the moment, tension and the act of creation. I am there; the person is there, things are happening.
You are talking about “nudity” as a tool of expression. Can you tell me more about this concept?
I used to work for one famous theatrical institute and was very close to actors and stage on rehearsals and it’s there that I’ve learnt about human body as a great tool of expression. Nudity in theater is often used to underline drama or emotive aspects of a character. It is also a sort of a barrier that actors often have to cross to release themselves from cultural, psychological and sociological influences. I find this act purifying for both the actor and the audience. This symbiosis amazed me. It had nothing to do with the need of physical acceptance nor will of admiration. I witnessed and understood a brave act of aware purification in front of a crowd. Nudity on the scene does not shock, nor it surprises anyone anymore. Why would it shock in photography if used in a directed and sincere way? I was stunned by this obvious discovery but wanted to push it a step further. What if there was no director at all? What if a director was the audience, a spectator, a witness to capture what is decided to be shown? I needed a stage and I decided to use a cracked wall as background, being limited to only this I can fully focus on a person and “performance”. I called this act the essence’s extraction. The less I interrupt the more of a pure essence is to be extracted. To me nudity is more of a confession to be heard, contemplated and retold in indirect way, in a sincere way. I’ve learnt to accept nudity as a form itself and I am still learning how to distance my personal approach to nudity and body from commercial trends. We are exposed to nudity in everyday life, commercials, movies, art and entertainment industry, but I feel like that landscape depends mainly on current trends and there is simply no room left for personal reflection. I am desperately trying to fill that gap in with my explorations and this is my main field of expertise. I am interested what really influence our behavior in front of a camera.
Your subjects are so different to one another. In your portfolio the viewer can discover any type of model! So it’s really difficult to figure out your photographic taste in beauty. Is there a specific one?
I choose people by both intention and coincidence. I invite people to the place, but am always more thrilled when a person discovers my work and asks to be photographed. This means there is already a tension, that little first step taken, between her and my work and this token of affection can result in unpredictable output. I realised that my preferences are of another value now then just physical appearance and depend heavily on person’s approach to being photographed. I prefer to photograph woman with no experience in fashion or modeling industry. I prefer natural beauty. Has she ever been in front of a camera naked? Is she shy? What inspires her? Why does she like to be photographed? I like to have those little questions answered before we’re off creating. My personal taste does not really matter. Women from my photographs are as different as they are in real life and they all have different ‘stories’ to tell. I am always amazed with them and grateful to ‘listen’. If I’m pushed to answer what my personal definition of beauty was I’d go for all those nuances and small things that make us beautiful: a skin texture, freckles, asymmetry, little marks, scars, differentia and naturalness. I only have one strict rule now to follow: no make ups, no hairstyle. I hate make up.
Even your fashion shots are quite particular. Is it difficult to work in the fashion industry with a different point of view? I often find obstacles because I prefer something experimental to always the same. I’m sure people who try other ways like we do, are really curious about your opinion.
Hard to tell, as I don’t really work in fashion industry… I committed few commercial assignments, calendar shots, contests works, and was published in commercial press, but willingly declined to follow that path. I never really got into it. On the other hand, I think it’s easier for most young photographers to start and experiment with fashion-beauty photography in the beginning, mainly because it is easier to stage and maybe easier to find people to participate. I still do commercial shots from time to time, but not considering myself a commercial photographer anymore. To be extremely honest, I am tired with all those fashion clichés, poses and photographs that repeat the same themes over and over again. “Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy” to quote the unnamed narrator of ‘Fight Club’. Don’t get me wrong – fashion photography can still be very creative and inspirational and there are some great names out there to contemplate and compete, but it’s also heavily overpopulated by fashion wannabes and hobbyists I sometimes feel like there is no room left for uniqueness.. and that just doesn’t go well with the path I’ve taken.
You once told me that captions are really important to you! I feel the same way about my photos. Would you define to me why is that for you? When is the moment you find the title for your pictures? During, before or after the photo session?
Titles are to my photographs what a title to a poem would be. I don’t like to explain my images, instead I like to give a viewer a subtle hint on the subject or play with words and conventions. They are often in close relation to the emotional state I am in when editing, this is the part where I can add a little mark from myself. I usually come up with titles during or after the editing. Sometimes I come back to an image after a while to add a title. There are no clear rules in here and some images remain untitled.
If you had to take a self-portrait, how would it be?
I don’t know, really, I tried to do self-portraits but ended up not liking them at all.. I’d rather let others do it. But that wouldn’t be a self-portrait anymore (smiling).
Before leaving tell me, would you pose for Karol Liver if you were a woman? How do you think you would feel?
Of course I would! (laughing) But seriously, I guess this question should be asked to your audience. I’d really like to hear what they think about my approach and if anyone here would actually be tempted to pose for me. Thanks for a chat!
Karol Liver (b. 1981) is a Dublin-based studio photographer.
Having worked as theatrical photographer for The Grotowski Institute, the most famous polish theatrical institute, he had an unique opportunity to be a part of numerous international festivals (including the acclaimed Premio Europa Per il Teatro), spectacles and grand premiers from World’s top directors. Liver’s theatrical photographs have been widely published in various magazines and journals including the New York based “The Drama Review” and other theatre-themed journals in France, Italy, Poland and Slovakia. His personal work has also been awarded prizes and commendations in both commercial press (Playboy’s Fotoerotica 2011) and independent contests (AGFA Geavert Throphy 2010). In 2011 he has established prism Contemporary Photography Magazine.
His personal studio work explores the nature of human body, its sexuality and identity throughout conceptual portraiture and fine art nude. His main field of interest is body language and how it is used as a tool of expression and emotional release.
Liver works in Dublin, Ireland, where he organises various photographic exhibitions and photography workshops. He is currently represented by The Copper House Gallery Dublin alongside established names from Irish contemporary visual art scene.
Interview and Text by Nina Sever
Propagande Noire prefers simple lines to create a minimal, elegant style, easy to wear because of these peculiarities, but at the same time quite futuristic for the most sophisticated occasions.
What captures about PN’s last collection is the mood, reminding of the quietness before the storm. The impression is of something moving slowly and imperceptibly in the air, so nobody knows when the threatening clouds will cover a lazy blue sky.
Polaroids have been a particular choice for this campaign, it’s an interesting mode to mix a strong character and a romantic sensation.
Maybe that strange quietness I felt watching the photos for the first time, came from the magic effect that only the analogical camera can give.
Article by Nina Sever
I’ve always been captured by his self-portraits, because it was incredible for me to believe that a person could represent an inner world with ideas like those I was watching. But I’ve never even noticed, enraptured by his figure, that there is a young woman floating frame by frame leading us to a windy, magic place without time and space. And I’ve been surprised discovering that the girl who was looking at me softly through the warm lens, was the same dancing princess in the fog, dressed with somber clothes.
I really have no more words to describe my sensations about these photos. I just think they tell stories, but to hear what they are talking about, we need to put our glance to the images.
Massimiliano Rossetto on flickr
Text by Nina Sever
Sophie Hepp for Massimiliano Rossetto, the man who shoots himself.
The first thing that has captured my attention regarding this woman, is the silence which reigns in her photos. Every detail has a name, every ray of light has its place, even if the story is flowing without fixing any action.
What I’d like to ask you to start our chat, it’s how did your first self-portrait take place! Why did you decide to shoot youself? What were you looking for?
People use to say that “it’s all happened accidentally”, but this is really what has happened to me. I started with self-portraits about one year ago, trying to stop an optical distortion that my brain was sending to me, which was not permitting me to have a real perception of my body. Let’s say that it all started like my flesh scansion, but going ahead it became a way which does not record a physical fact only, but an inner universe.
At the beginning, did you start posing for others or this all started from your self-portraits?
Others asked me to pose for them after seeing my self-portraits (at least in my last two years). I already posed in past by the way, when I was studying at IED (a.n. European Institute of Design) in Turin.
And how do you feel standing in front of the lens? What is, in your opinion, the biggest difference between posing on your own and posing for a photographer? Erasing, of course, the fact that when you’re alone you can act as you want.
I do not seek beauty. It’s all begun as a pragmatic intent, but it has evolved in a blink of an eye. In my imagery, I try to bring to life the demons that live in my stomach (but after a while I understood that I’m not the only one who they live inside), I try to release that little me, sharp and poisonous, because if she remains unexpressed, she would scrape my inner temple until devasting it.
What do you expect from a photographer contacting you for a photoset? Which professional features should he have convincing you to say yes? What human atmosphere of the team you’re working with are you looking for?
I do not expect anything, in general! I don’t approve the concept of “an end in itself”, so I always try to give a depth to my projects, something different from a coated view. The human and the professional areas are twisted, in my opinion. The people that have contacted me until now, have become my friends also, all of them; in a case even my rommate!
However, what was the thing that lead you to accept my proposal to get interviewed?
It’s been a big surprise for me! I don’t see myself as a source of interest, but it seems that I am. And this thing is the most powerful propulsion, when you realise that you tell stories which interest the people around you and not you only.
What’s your favourite photographic genre?
There is no genre… I love pretty everything in photography (maybe I’m not crazy about the still life, but it’s probably because I know less about this ambit, so it’s my ignorance to talk). I don’t think I’m a great photographer, I don’t even talk about myself as such, but I know I’m a good “printer”. My heart is painted black and white and immersed in dark room’s acids.
Let’s go back behind the lens. How do you feel photographing people? What are you looking for in your models? It feels like they are your projections, am I wrong?
I can only take pictures of people I already know, it’s a limit of mine. I don’t look for something in particular, but after a while I’ve noticed that I can pull out the “turbid” side of the people, the shadows inside the hearts, the fog of the glances… and perhaps this is my reflection that you can see in them.
Thank you for your time, but before I let you go I’d like to ask you if there’s something that you’d like to say to the photographers and to the models who are reading this interview right now.
Interview by Nina Sever
You never know what you can find watching Janine Mizéra´s photos. It’s like finding yourself in a painting which changes day by day, glance by glance. Sensual bodies, delicate skin, melancholic situations through a veil of light. All those faces become something strong and magical, blend together by an unreproducible style.
I remember the first time I saw your gallery and I found there was a girl, appearing really often in different periods of your creative proccess. I understood lately, meeting you personally, that she was you! So, would you like to talk about your self-portraits? How do you do them? How do they make you feel?
Creating a self portrait to me is reflecting yourself through photography. A way of processing thoughts and feelings, of finding your own true character. Sometimes I prefer to transport myself in another world made just for this moment in time, almost always it is very personal. In a way I create my own little universe. A hiding place I can escape to even when reality might seem endlessly grey. When I look at them I see myself in different periods of my life, different moods, the way I change and grow…as a person as well as a photographer and I think that’s very interesting.
On the contrary, how do you feel taking pictures of other people? What do you think watching a model posing and how do you find a situation you think is the perfect one?
Once somebody said “every portrait is a self portrait”. True, all my portraits reflect something about who I am in a subliminal way. But on the other side it’s very important to me to show the true nature and that certain something about a model. A sensibility just this one person owns. Dreams so light it gives you the feeling they break if you touch them. I like to think even the biggest barricades of not knowing each other are conquerable with continuous conversation during the shoot and understanding. The perfect moment would be the one where models and photographers minds align. A symmetry created in a sense of feeling the other one. A moment when there’s no need of words. A feeling I experienced during our shooting for example.:)
Which kind of light do you prefer to shoot with? All your photos are really intense and melancholic, with that strange grey mood that makes your photography unique and recognizable. What’s your secret?
I always prefer natural light and natural surroundings over a studio or fancy technical utensils. To me the essence of photography is distorted through thoughts about where to position this light or that strand of hair. My priority definetly lays on what a picture expresses, what it makes you feel. People keep telling me about a dark and melancholic mood they feel watching my photos. To me it is just the way I see the world in a way. It happens naturally. Maybe some kind of fascination for mystical spheres, the beauty of a misty field at 5 AM in the morning or stories of faded memories. Maybe my attraction for historical movies. You can find such strong inspirational sources in cinematography and music.
Things like sad expressions, far away feelings, small details like a hand on a perfect skin or a frame created by leaves and flowers! How do you create all these peculiarities? Do you prepare a set, searching locations or the perfect corner of the room, or you just capture things you are surrounded by?
Actually I create a lot of situations very spontaneously and in the heat of the moment. It’s just me and the model getting to know each other and interacting on simple base. I generally work with things surrounding me. During the past weeks I’ve been researching interesting locations such as empty factory buildings or mysterious parks. Generally places transporting a feeling of long past times or rough industrial coldness. I’ve always been fascinated by eroded structures and houses left to die. A combination involving the soft silhouette of a woman’s body is just pure beauty. But generally on a walk through the city there are so many from inattentive passengers unseen places.
Going through your art it’s clear that things like the facial expressions and the body language make your photos. How do you find your models? How do you direct them during the photoshoot?
Some models are friends of mine. Sometimes I ask interesting people I meet in the streets. Sometimes over the web. People with a special spark in the eyes, a special aura. Most of the girls I shoot have none or few experiences as a model so I like to give just small directions or suggestions for poses I have in mind. I prefer not to direct too much and let the model grow during the shooting.
And what about your future projects? It’s not so easy to find you around the web, so that makes me think you take pictures for yourself; but at the same time you’re really excited about showing your creations. So I’m confused, why do you shoot?
I started shooting out of a curiosity for details I guess. Beside my passion for art and graphic shapes since I am a child I realised that I am now surrounding myself with photography and thoughts about new projects at any time. After a long shooting day I feel happy and satisfied. Photography has grown my life. A part of it so big I couldn’t live without it anymore no matter how future will look for me. I am indeed taking a step forward lately since I am now, more than ever open for new opportunities and interesting people. At this specific moment my obsession with photography and lately analog photography is the strongest inspiration in my live.
Before I let you go… Is there a song you want to suggest us to listen to during the viewing of your photos?
I could even recommend two songs right now. The first would be Pyramid Song by Radiohead since this band is my everlasting inspiration and maybe even personal favourite and second Silence by Portishead.
Interview by Nina Sever
All images by Janine Mizéra
Whether night or day, be it in natural light or indoors, at the seaside or lit up by the flash of the camera, Nicola Casini manages to let his ideas flow – unrestrained by conventions and guided only by his passion for photography, he lets the female body express his visions. The spontaneousness of his photos is authentic, there’s none of the rigidity of a carefully scripted set.
Talking to Nicola on various occasions, it’s become clear to me that his best ideas are born during sleepless nights spent retouching work-related photos, but also from casual moments in good company, far from the photographer’s trade. The sudden recollection of a place, a glass of wine and the look of a woman on his mind may make him jump in the car and drive to a spot (leaving for the model to choose her clothes and expressions) where he never fails to evoke a unique impression.
His photos seem to be a romantic reportage of intimate situations, collection of moments which we would not be able to see without his help. Sensual and nude women completely at ease, like the photographer does not exist at all, like us the observers are spying the secret of femininity through the sight of a man.
So let’s read the point of view of this young artist about the analogical photography, his projects and his thoughts regarding the models. Here I am at his place in Bologna, surrounded by infinite books and movies, while he is petting this wonderful white cat that appears in so many photos.
I see that you have a lot of vinyls and as many photo books. Do you, perhaps, get inspiration from music or from photographers you admire in order to create something on your own?
Basically I started taking pictures because in that period of my life I could no longer write music. The music has always been the engine of all that my life was. So when I was not able to play live anymore, trivially I started suffering from panic attacks and I had to wreak it in some other way than what I’ve been doing before thanks to the music. That’s why I started taking pictures. Then, during the photoset, for me is extremely natural, even if unintentionally, to listen to a song or to an entire album by one band or another. Well, in regards to the other photographers… Well, I adore photo books, I think that if I had a lot of money I would buy them all, even the bad ones [smiles]. So sometimes it happens that I see a picture I particularly like and I try to make it mine as much as possible, to reinterpret it.
Tell us: what are you looking for within photography? What do you expect from this passion? How do you think you can contribute with your photos?
“Well… There are a lot of different answers to these questions, it depends on the period you’re asking about. In this exact moment what I’m looking for within photography is sincerity. I’m not saying that I’m sure I will find it or I’m making it, but I would like to. I would like that the pictures I take were sincere as much as possible, that they were staged the least possible. I’d like to leave my photos reveal the person I photograph, or the state of mind of this person, or a situation. It happens often to me that some girls ask me to pose for me and they ask me to talk about my ideas of how to photograph them. Here is the problem. I can’t have a precise idea of how to take a picture of a person I don’t know at all, because without knowing my models I can’t make my art sincere. It’s important to know the person and let the person choose the way of posing. Sometimes you have the possibility to make a strong connection with the model, in that case you can recreate some situations, but that’s because when you know a person very well you can ask her to act an emotion and you will know that the expression she’s making is part of her state of mind. It means that is real and… sincere.
So how can I contribute with my photos… Well, it’s not obligatory that the others are touched by my photos, but I like that the viewer can in some way know a person which otherwise he would have never known. In the moment the viewer is watching the picture he’s inside the situation which I lived with my model during the shoot.”
You practically answered my following question about how you interact with your models! So let’s go the the next point. Most of your photos are on film. Your digital shots are beautiful as well your analogical pictures, so why do you prefer the latter?
You surprised me with this question, because I never noticed before that I have so many analogue pictures! Well, I shoot on film from the moment Andrea Colombo [a dear friend of Gabriele, one of the photographers from Four Line project] bought the SX70 camera, because I saw his pictures and I fell in love with polaroids, still my main passion, even if I didn’t take so many photos in this period. Then I discovered Leica m6 and a lot of my pictures are shoot with that camera. For the moment I shoot almost exclusively in digital because of my work, but I’d like to use it more in my artistic photos to grow up in some way in my job, too. Anyway, the thing that I really like about analogical shots is that you don’t have the complete control on the result, you can’t see immediately what have you done. So you think you did a great job, but you have to wait to be sure.
Continuing to talk about polaroids, I’d like to ask you something about the Four Lines Project, the journey you made to Scandinavia with three other people (Andrea Colombo, Elena Vaninetti and Anna Morosini) 2 years ago. So you guys documented the travel exclusively with polaroids and once back in Italy you organized a lot of exhibitions. Why just Scandinavia? How did the idea come into your mind and why did you choose to do it in May?
To tell you why Scandinavia is like to tell you how did we get the idea. It all was born watching Fargo [1996, Coen]. So the idea was to take really graphic pictures: strips of white snow, strips of dark water, strips of sharp sky. But in Norway there are mountains everywhere so… my graphic idea of photos went to hell [laughs]. Anyway the choice to go to Scandinavia came to our minds because we wanted to see and shoot something really different from Italian landscapes. Everything became easier, because each corner was wonderful just because we never saw it before. And May… Well, maybe it was just a case, because our project was ready for that month. In reality it was a perfect moment because of the light, in Norway you have really long days in that period, so you can shoot whenever you want and, last but not least, it wasn’t that cold!
We’re going to conclude our chat, so just out of curiosity tell us what would you do if photography didn´t exist?
[long silence] The fact is I’m not good at drawing! I have never met a person worse than me at drawing. But I’d so love to draw, I adore comics! So… I know it may seem banal, but I’d try to write a book, already knowing I’d fail. Writing it’s in some way like photographing, it’s not required to be shown or to be a great book, it’s something you do for yourself. So my book would be a portrait of me in that precise moment of my life.
Interview by Nina Sever