The Italian photographer Lorenzo Papadia examines the surrounding reality and its details through his lens. Passionate about Polaroids and film photography, he tries to catch all common objects that are usually ignored to bring them back to our attention.

I really like to clearly investigate all my subjects in a rational way, doing inspections and, once understood and made familiar, I prefer to get close to them in a more spontaneous way.

Which is your first photographic memory?
My first photographic memory is an image taken when I was a child. I’m referring now to a portrait of me with a pony. In my eyes I had a great astonishment and a great desire to discover the world. This image is fixed in my mind, but it got probably lost.
Could you describe yourself with a movie?
I think that “Big Fish” reflects me so much. If you realize that reality and magic can merge one into the other, life can be considered a wonderful experience.
Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
I would probably go for a picture I took to the Arcimboldi Theatre, in Milan. The place seems to lose its original aspect and transform itself into a new abstraction.
A famous picture, not yours, you would have liked to take.
I consider myself a romantic person, and I love  Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville by Doisneau. The shot collects everything: the beauty of two young lovers, the quick development the metropolis is involved into, while the world stops into a kiss, in an instant.
We love Polaroids and the blurry imperfect atmosphere they involved. Why did you choose analytical photography to depict your surrounding reality?
In my Polaroids I try to pay attention to the composition, to the construction of the image and to the selection of the subject, without leaving any detail to chance. At the same time, I really like to ask to the camera and to the film the final result, its chromatic shades, the final effect. In fact, I really like to clearly investigate all my subjects in a rational way, doing inspections and, once understood and made familiar, I prefer to get close to them in a more spontaneous way.

I consider myself a romantic person, and I love  Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville by Doisneau.

“Fade Point” collects instants of Summer through beaches and seaside spots located in the Southern Italy. There, the landscape remains blurred and things are evanescent. Everything seems poetically permeated by a veil of mystery. How do you recreate the atmosphere we perceive from your artworks?
To me, atmosphere is as much important as the frame and the planning of the photograph. I try and shoot when light is so bright that I can give a few things back to frame, more than others that stay hidden in the shadow. My images don’t work only for what it is visible but for what is hidden as well!
Through your visual tales, the observer lives a journey through the Salento area, its colors, its smells, and the magic hidden into the South of Italy, your homeland. Which relationship do you have with your lands?
To me the land where I live is a continuous point of inspiration, it is the place where my eyes start learning how to observe, where my desire of imagination and creation develops without keeping my eyes away from the sea.
We noticed that the sea is quite frequent in the background of your series “Fade Point”. What is hidden behind this choice? What’s the deeper meaning of sea into your series?
Sea is not only a physical place to me, it is mostly an element where to sink into thoughts. The images I show to my public are images of thinking and I like the fact that the element of the sea is still there, and it represents it symbolically.
Your landscapes are sunny and silent; they are empty and no human beings are present in there. Why do you avoid the human presence into your artworks?
I love to think that people reading my photographs are asking themselves where everybody is going.

If I had been able to write, I would have probably chosen poetry. The most important thing is to express what is hidden inside.

What are you thinking at while taking a shot?
I am there till the moment when I click the button, before disappearing for one thousandth second. At that moment my subject and me merge, I do not exist anymore as a simple thinking man. This is the Fade Point.
In “Bootleg” you depict urban details, part of buildings and outdoor environments. Architecture dominates the setting of your scenes and a sense of order and composition emerges from your shots. Through your visual tales, you give a new dignity to the subjects of your series. How do you select the subjects of your Polaroids?
I pay a careful attention to my architectural subjects, that I chose after making studies both on the territory where I live and outside it.
Which role does photography play in your life? Why do you choose photography to express yourself?
Many reasons lead me to choose photography. One of them, the most important one for me, is that it makes me feel good. I consider photography closer to me than any other language. If I had been able to write, I would have probably chosen poetry. The most important thing is to express what is hidden inside.
Does social media help you develop your career as a photographer?
Sure, I guess it has probably helped me to build my career.
What leads you to become a professional photographer?
I have strongly desired to transform my biggest passion into my work. The circumstance is leading gradually to a few results.
Your next project.
I’m now involved into developing a photographic series dedicated to analyzing the concepts of nature and memory.
Your main flaw and quality.
My main flaw is my bad memory. The quality: I’m very stubborn.
Make a wish.
I would like to thank my dad, the person who taught me how to look at things that surround me and love them strongly. I wish my thought reached him, anywhere he is right now.

Arno De Pooter is an artist and photographer based in Belgium. His photography projects are made of few shades of colors, great geometry and a linear composition, through which a sense of calm and purity can be perceived. All his visual series come from a long period of reshaping and molding of images until the deeper and obscured narrative comes to live.

Taking the photograph takes little time. I’ve almost never done what all my art teachers so ardently preached: “Go out there when the light is different, Arno, and take the photo again.” I only take pictures when it’s cloudy; problem solved.

Which is your first photographic memory?
I would be lying if I said I knew. I have many pseudo-photographic memories which are all based on actual pictures. The border between a true memory and a pseudo-memory of remembering seeing a picture has become very blurred.
Could you describe yourself with a book?
The book “Glamorama” by Bret Easton Ellis but then without the glamour. In particular, the neurotic and often psychotic main character in it, Victor, felt very familiar.
Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
That would be a self-portrait I’ve made for my graduation project from the Royal Academy of Art, Antwerp. It’s a very white and clean image where I look like some sort of guru. The image is heavily digitally processed. I removed all my facial hair pixel by pixel and tweaked my facial expression until I was satisfied. The picture was then printed on a 3 by 4 meters scale, and glued to a wall – which it completely covered – in a room which I had specially prepared for it. This room, its floor, ceiling and walls were painted pure white to create a brilliant atmosphere. I emphasized this effect with ten of the most powerful neon lamps on the ceiling and another four embedded in the walls. The final touch was the scent, which I acquired from my local drugstore because I had been intrigued by it for quite some time. It’s the product they use to clean the store. Its smell is a mixture of hospital disinfectant and something else I can’t describe. The very kind owner made me a small bottle which consisted of two different products which I then used to clean the room several times. I think that the effort put in that room, together with what you experience when you sit in this pure white very light room watching me, would be a nice way to introduce myself.
A famous picture, not yours, you would have liked to take.
It’s not really a picture, but it’s an installation made by Belgian artist Hans Op De Beeck called situation 5. It’s a big work. You can walk in it, and really feel, smell and inspect everything in great detail for yourself. This work is based on the very typical non-places you can find next to highways. Or, sometimes, over it. This installation depicts such a restaurant that is suspended over a highway in Belgium. You can literally walk into the dining space and take a seat in a booth with a window that overlooks a completely deserted highway. It’s nighttime and the only light there comes from the deep yellow gas-discharge lamps. In the near distance the highway makes a long turn to the left until you can’t see it no more. Now the beauty of all this, to me, lies in its construction. Hans Op De Beeck designed this installation in such a way that the highway has exactly the right size and proportion when viewed at the right angle. So, in a very nifty and smart way this art work deceives all your senses. For me this is the famous picture that I would have loved to make myself.
Let’s start from your “Bleach” series: everything here seems to belong to a distant world, a kind of dull, muffled planet made of empty places, pervaded by silence and calm. It almost looks like a world parallel to that of our present days, where everything is fixed and very well organized. A feeling of calmness and tranquility can be perceived. Is this something you recreate on purpose?
Yes, it is. Although it’s hardly ever my main focus when I start working on an image. But, eventually, I always end up with a more organized and cleaner version of the original.
Your palette is made of few shades of colors, clear pastel tones, delicate and subtle pigments with a highlight of green, red or pink. May you please tell us something about this artistic choice?
The series was made on a trip to Florida and most of the images were made in Miami with its characteristic pastels. I’ve selected these images only guided by my intuition. Yet, especially since being asked this question, I noticed myself often dramatizing the pictures, adding something of a narrative to them. I’m intrigued by the clash between the sunshine-and-roses pastels and the sneakily enhanced, slightly harsher tones.
How much time do you spend in taking a photograph? How much in retouching it?
Taking the photograph takes little time. I’ve almost never done what all my art teachers so ardently preached: “Go out there when the light is different, Arno, and take the photo again.” I only take pictures when it’s cloudy; problem solved. Although my approach has changed over time. Nowadays, I take a sort of base image and often I will take multiple images of the sky and surroundings so I can recreate the feeling that I had when I was taking the base image. This base image is never complete on its own.
Retouching the image on the other hand can take a very long time. It’s not unusual that I work for more than seven full days on one image. I first opened Photoshop when I was 14 years old. Ever since, my interest in and love for the program has increased steadily. Making a picture is easy, you don’t need to be creative to do that. Creating a new reality in a digital program by compiling lots of elements from different photos: that’s where the fun starts.
In your visual and minimal series, everything is perfectly tidy, well composed and a sense of order and linearity is evident. Where does your interest for geometry, lines and composition come from?
Although I tend to appear utterly disoriented to many people I’ve actually always had a great need for rhythm, planning and order. My parents have always known this. They taught me many, many ways to cope with the extreme disorder in my head, and in the outside world.
My need for order is very evident in many areas of my life. A tiny example: my music choice. I have an exclusive taste for rhythmically consistent music. Melodically developing music, I simply cannot bear. Most of the radio music sounds extremely noisy, even disorientating to me. To me any rock song for that matter, sounds like a clean start with a person singing, but then, in the middle of the song, suddenly everyone forgets what to do and just starts smashing everything. The same goes for live concerts.

My need for order is very evident in many areas of my life. A tiny example: my music choice. I have an exclusive taste for rhythmically consistent music. Melodically developing music, I simply cannot bear.

You say you never shoot with models. All people in your shots are random passengers, unaware of you taking a picture of them. Is there something hidden behind this choice?
Nothing hidden, I’ve just never liked taking pictures of people. At the age of 16, I stopped taking family pictures while on holiday even though my mom really wanted me to keep doing so. It just kept on distracting me. I have little images of people in my archive. Even for school assignments I always searched for a way to avoid having people in front of my lens as much as I could. Moreover, I lose focus when I have to give instructions to a model while photographing. I notice myself viscerally disliking people in images because – to me – they clutter an image just like parked cars do. All the people in my images are random passersby whom I most probably moved from their original place in the picture to make its composition feel more serene.
In your series fixation, the sea is the main protagonist. Its crushing waves, white froth and tiny drops of water are fixed in pure close-ups. What does the sea mean to you?
I don’t have any special bond with the sea. If I had to choose between the mountains or the sea for a trip, I would head for the mountains. But I do have a strong fixation on water in general. When I was hiking in the Himalaya, I spend the better part of a day with my feet in an icy stream of glacial meltwater to capture the absurd, molten silver droplets that formed behind a particular rock. Focusing in on a tiny detail against a backdrop of 6000-meter high mountains.
We know you are working on a new project now, background. What is this visual narration about?
I’m not sure myself yet. I never really know the narrative of a series, before creating it nor afterwards. Intuition guides me, even during 7 days of retouching an image and making the decision to add 1% more cyan to the trees in the background. background refers to the decors used in the film industry. I draw attention to what normally is created to do exactly the opposite. Hence, all pictures in the series are sky-less; the background fills the image.
How much have social media helped you develop your career as a photographer?
When I was younger I really clung to the screen when I posted a new series waiting for another like. Now I realize this doesn’t lead to happiness. The thing is that you really have to be involved and keep on nurturing your social media channels. You have to keep posting on a regular bases or your account will not be in the main interest feed of your followers. I tend to be very bad at this. Nevertheless, I have around 350 followers on Facebook. I don’t have a Tumblr account but, funnily enough, there are images of me circulating on Tumblr. Part of the series fixation has taken on a life of its own with over 160 000 likes and reblogs.
What lead you to become a professional photographer?
At 14 I had to change schools due to bad grades and a similar attitude. My parents introduced me to a secondary art school because I was very interested in architecture. Once, there, I changed to photography. After two years of struggling with the complete lack of rules and organization in the secondary art school in combination with a pretty tough curriculum I finally found my real passion for photography. I graduated with honors in photography and film and enrolled at Karel De Grote university, Belgium’s leading school for learning the highly technical part of photography. For example: if a model’s eye wasn’t perfectly sharp you lost half the grades. The school’s main goal is prepping you for a life as a professional fashion or advertising photographer.

I’ve just never liked taking pictures of people. At the age of 16, I stopped taking family pictures while on holiday even though my mom really wanted me to keep doing so. It just kept on distracting me. I have little images of people in my archive.

I loved it, but when the end of the Bachelor drew close, I realized I wasn’t ready for the life I had been molded for. I missed meaning in my pictures. Most of my work felt empty and I didn’t even knew why I chose to make or edit an image other than the obvious technical reasons. At that point in time, I could never have written answers like these ones here about my work. So, I opted for two more years to earn a Master degree. I was allowed to the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts of and started the two toughest introspective years of my training. When is something art? Why this image stronger as a statement than another one? Why did I choose this image and what do I want to say with it? Many, many question and still so little were – and are – answered. Notwithstanding 8 years of art history classes on photography, practically all the photographers I came to know during my Master years were new to me. That’s because the Academy examined photography in a much broader way than the one I had grown used to. It was eye-opening and although everybody was very kind to me, I really felt like an outsider. It was very difficult for me to ignore the technical aspect of photography for once. I also started to paint digitally during this period with a pressure-sensitive pen. I used Photoshop as a canvas and started to copy low-quality pictures from my Blackberry in a hyper-realistic way, adding more detail than what the Blackberry’s camera could produce. It took me four months to master this technique, but I lost interest when the school year was over. My final Master project took place in an abandoned office building in which I created three different rooms.
In these rooms, I devoted considerable time and focus to the setting of the pictures on show; even – I think – moving beyond pure representation. One room was 12 meter long and draped on both sides in black theater cloth. At the end of this dark space there was a 2 by 3 meter cut-out where a Plexiglas picture of waves (from the series fixture) was illuminated from behind in random, near epilepsy inducing bursts. A second, equally dark room showed an image 1 by 1.5 meters printed with a very matte finish. A special lamp only cast its low-intensity light on the photograph that almost seemed to disappear into the darkness. The third room was the pure white one I’ve talked about above.
Your next project.
I always have several projects ready to go stored on my computer. I’m quite prolific but show very, very little. I’m currently immersed in a project for Michelin-starred restaurant De Pastorale. I dissect images of the restaurant’s surrounding landscape, and I select separate elements like trees, leaves, clouds, etc. I then work towards a 3D-picture of a part of the landscape. With a virtual camera I can then travel into those images and, again virtually, film away. The end result is a video of 90 minutes for the restaurant-goers to watch while dining.
Your main flaw and quality.
Being a perfectionist, even though I know this is the most classical evasive answer you can give to this question. To me it is a very real burden however. Sure, it’s a real quality that ensures a fine product but I really don’t know when to stop, and often end in sheer paranoia about my picture.
Make a wish.
I wish I never grow fat.

Devoted to the analogic photography, Arthur Meehan realizes pure and unadorned nude female portraits that become genuine pieces of great beauty. Though a tiny, analytic eye he captures natural beauty as it is and depicts it simple but very deep at the same time.

I like the old school way of shooting and then developing and printing. I really dislike the whole digital thing as it has taken the mystery and romance out of photography.

Which is your first photographic memory?
Printing in the darkroom.
We know your interest in photography happened by chance. Would you mind to tell us how this happened?
I was studying business at a university and a friend invited me to come and see him do some printing in the darkroom and I loved it.
You say your artistic heroes are the sculptor Rodin and photographer Edward Weston. What about their art has made the most impact on your series?
For Rodin it was his passion for the female form and for Weston it was his dedication to keeping things as simple as possible when photographing and using only daylight to shoot his pictures.
What do you enjoy most about the photographic process?
I like the old school way of shooting and then developing and printing. I really dislike the whole digital thing as it has taken the mystery and romance out of photography. Everything is about now and no one has the patience anymore of waiting to see if you got the shot or not. I also feel that the digital revolution has made everything look the same. It’s all retouched and you have no idea of what is real or not.
You are devoted to sublime flowers and nude studies. Which is the reason why you are investigating these two themes thoroughly?
I started with women because I love the endless shapes and feelings one can obtain and I view the flowers as another female form. I usually shoot flowers when I need to be alone and think. It is a sort of therapy for me. To me visually there is not a difference between the shapes of flowers and women.
Your portraits are pure and unadorned. Your female figures are genuine and authentic as nature intended them. Your tiny, analytic eye captures natural beauty as it is and depicts it simple but very deep at the same time. How could you reach this effect?
I really don’t have an answer for this one because I am not sure how I do it myself. I just shoot what I love without thinking to much or making it complicated. I guess one could say that it is just how I see women.

I started with women because I love the endless shapes and feelings one can obtain and I view the flowers as another female form.

Your photographs are unique pieces of great beauty, pervaded by a subtle sense of romance. Through light and shadow, you seem to ask your audience to seek for something deeper inside your composition. What’s hidden beyond the shapes of your beautiful shots?
That’s for you to imagine. It can be whatever you want it to be.
The celebration of natural beauty and perfection can be seen in your “New Flowers” series as well. Here, your parrots and ranunculus appear as graininess painting; behind your shots, petals are soft, fragile to touch, they seem to smell good. You are able to catch them in all their simplicity, and perfection. How could you be so finely deep?
I think that when I go through dark times in my life, I somehow subconsciously gravitate to the light. I escape into my own world of beauty and vision.
You seem to be able to speak gently to your models, reaching their heart. That, is even more true if considering the pregnancy series. Which relationship do you usually develop with them during the shooting?
I am very relaxed and never have a preconceived idea about the shoot. I just have the models come to my home and we have a coffee and talk and then just slowly find our way into the shoot. It’s a very quiet, gentle and organic process.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph?
None.
What leads you to become a professional photographer?
I just love it.
Your next project.
I am showing at the Festival Eoropeen de la photo de nu, in Arles France. It takes place May 5-14- at the Espace Van Gogh.
Your main flaw and quality.
My main flaw is I think to much and my greatest quality is my honesty and loyalty.
Make a wish.
I just did!

Davide Padovan is a young Italian photographer devoted to nude and portraits series. He captures visions, where a sense of loneliness contrasts with the invasion of private spaces. He works on long series of photographs made of different shots combined one to the other, making sense when all together.

I’m just looking for what I see, nothing else, nothing more. It’s just another point of view about the body.

Which is your first photographic memory?
My first photographic memory is a Polaroid we took at the kindergarten during a birthday party.
Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
I will probably go for the photograph of the guy diving in the pool. I guess I took it 4 years ago.
A famous person you would like to portray.
Rossy de Palma.
A famous picture you would have liked to take.
One of the Brooklyn Gang series by Bruce Davidson.
We know you are passionate about long term series, precisely of feminine portraits. It seems that while working on a series, you investigate inner themes, you observe with an analytical eye, you are in search of something deeper. What are you looking for while shooting?
I’m just looking for what I see, nothing else, nothing more. It’s just another point of view about the body.
Light plays an important role in your photography. Precisely, it helps to draw feminine beauty, to outline feminine profiles and bodies. Light enters the inner spaces, but this is never an invasion. It’s delicate, soft and gentle. It touches lightly your bodies. Light mixes with shadows, and emotions emerge. How do you reach this effect?
Well, I always try to look for a decent combination of natural and artificial light (such as lamps) but at the end it’s just a fortuity.
Beauty emerges from your shots. The beauty of common women, without make up, pure and genuine as they are, while lying in messy beds, sofas, or just on the ground of bare flats. How do you feel while shooting? Which kind of relationship do you develop with your models while shooting?
I ask to them to be as much comfortable as possible, in order to be able to take the best picture.
Speaking about “A Common Sense Of Disorder”, portraits alternate with dynamic black and white photographs. At first sight, the situations you are documenting are opposed and contrasting, they seem to have nothing in common. What’s the conceptual idea under this choice? Is there a trait d’union between the shots?
I think there is a number of images that you can find often in this series, under different kinds of forms, like a repetition. It’s quite unconscious, I think. I try to combine them, not always with a good result, actually.
You are a deep observer; you search for the surreal reality around you. Your photography captures visions; there, a sense of loneliness contrasts with the invasion of private spaces. Where do you usually find your inspiration?
I don’t know if I am a deep observer; there is no inspiration or something like that, I think I took picture of what interests me more, and captures my attention.
Your portrait sessions are more frequent than other kind of projects. However, your portfolio collects interesting exploratory projects, where the surrounding landscapes play the main role. What could you say about your approach to nature? What is your relationship with your surrounding reality?
Nudes and portraits represent just the 50% of my production and I always try to make a connection between them and other kinds of images. I think that landscapes are a natural consequence. If you analyze the human behavior, natural or not, the landscape is a second step where to put your feet, I suppose. Moreover, you are forced to have a relationship with the landscape. It’s just there, in front of you.

The analogical medium is not better or worse than digital, it’s just a different choice of medium. You need to think little bit more and, of course, it tastes different.

Where does your love for analogical medium come from?
The analogical medium is not better or worse than digital, it’s just a different choice of medium. You need to think little bit more and, of course, it tastes different.
Lights, shadows and emotions interact and mix in your photographs. Looking at your art, we can say your shots have a proper soul, they speak for themselves. Is this made on purpose?
Well, I think that pictures are not able to stand alone. The culture of the social media destroys the inner sense of series or projects. In the 90% of the cases they are just single images to be consumed immediately. They are just images. On the contrary, my images are born to stay together.
Your next project.
I don t know, I’m working on several thinks right now, but without good results at the moment.
Your main flaw and quality.
Bad memory.
Slow.
Make a wish.
To take decent pics, at least in my point of view. To travel.

Through an analogic 35mm film, the Cambridge-based photographer Maya Beano portrays nature’s ever-changing moods and the relationship they have with her personal thoughts and feelings. She was born in Jordan, whose landscapes are featured in several of her photography series and her identity is shaped by all the cultures she is a part of. To her, to be able to express herself in a visual form, it is something very empowering.

I grew up taking pictures on film, moved on to a digital camera in my late teens and moved back to film in my twenties. Personally, I enjoy the tangibility of film.

What is your first photographic memory?
The first camera in my life was a Kodak from Disneyland which my mother gave me. I used to run around the house with it taking photos of my younger brothers. I recently found one of the earliest photos I took: my baby brother on his toy horse in 1995.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and movie?
I don’t know if these describe me, but they’re certainly some of my all-time favourites.
Book: “Staying Alive” by Neil Astley
Song: “Stardust” by Nat King Cole
Movie: “Fly Away Home” (the geese!)

Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
I was flying back to England from Amman on New Year’s Eve a few years ago, and I took a photo on the plane of the shadow of my hand. This was the last exposure of the last roll of film I had during that trip. I think this is still one of my most recognised photos, and I’m glad it resonates with a lot of people.

A famous picture, not yours, you would have liked to take.
One of the famous black and white photos of Amelia Earhart sitting in her plane. I don’t know who took it, and I know it’s a completely different style of photography, but I really love the sense of determination in her eyes.

A famous person you would like to portray.
Queen Rania of Jordan perhaps! She does a lot to improve education and empower young people.

You say you prefer film photography to digital photography, and 35mm film more than any other. We think it is inspiring to see young photographer using film nowadays. Speaking about you, why do you prefer film to digital?
I grew up taking pictures on film, moved on to a digital camera in my late teens and moved back to film in my twenties. I don’t think there’s any rule to this, and I have seen brilliant pieces of work by both film and digital photographers. Personally, I enjoy the tangibility of film.

We know you were born in Amman, Jordan. Do you think your original background is still present in your art? If so, how?
Of course! I am a blend of all of my backgrounds, and my identity is shaped by all the cultures I am a part of.
I regularly go back to visit Jordan, and its landscapes are featured in several of my photography series. Even when I’m not there, I find myself thinking about my childhood and all of the experiences that have led me to become the person I am today.

You capture chances that many of us miss or do not see. How do you choose the subjects of your art? Which relationship do you have with the places and people you portray?
All of the people in my photos are my close friends, and most of my photos are taken during our trips away together. We’ve been to different parts of the world, including all the way to the Arctic. My family members also make an appearance from time to time. I feel very lucky to have such a supportive and adventurous group of people in my life. I just love them so much. I’m slightly obsessed with cold places, which sometimes proves to be problematic because some of my friends are, understandably, more fond of the warmth. We alternate between cold and warm countries! I’m taking one of my best friends to Jordan soon because she has promised to come to Iceland or the Alps with me after that.

In your photos you report the interplay between nature and human emotion. Precisely, you portray nature’s ever-changing moods and the relationship they have with your personal thoughts and feelings. How much does nature interact with your feelings?
I remember a time in my late teens when my mood depended completely on the weather. When it was cloudy and foggy, I’d feel very low and I’d only feel better when the sky got brighter again. This stage passed, and my mood isn’t linked to the clouds anymore, but I still remember the intensity of it. It was a difficult time in my life in general, and I now look back and think I must have been struggling with seasonal affective disorder. I really love stormy weather now! More tea for me.

I’m slightly obsessed with cold places, which sometimes proves to be problematic because some of my friends are, understandably, more fond of the warmth.

Your photographic series are visual narratives. There, a feeling of nostalgia seems to emerge gently, together with a kind of melancholy that accompanies your past memories. Is this done on purpose?
When I first started posting my work online a few years ago, I didn’t have a very well-formed idea of what I wanted to do with my photography. I was just posting photos of whatever I was feeling at the time. As I experimented with different film, I realised that I could capture the moods that I’d like my photos to convey. I know that some seem melancholic, but I wouldn’t say I do this on purpose. It’s just what I’m drawn to and what resonates with me.

Through your pictures, you collect memories from journeys, from walks, from lands, from people, from emotions, in mesmerizing imagery. You reveal beautiful moments in time among sublime landscapes. By photographs you keep all your memories close to you. What role does photography play in your life?
Photography plays a very big role in my life, and I honestly can’t imagine a world without it. I actually always wanted to be a painter (or an astronaut!), but I was much better at photography than at painting. There is something very empowering about being able to express myself in visual form.

Often, peaceful and quiet sensations can be detected from your landscapes. How do you feel when alone, all surrounded by nature?
This is the best feeling, although I like to share it with the people closest to me so I don’t feel too alone.

Your pictures are dream-like visions of journeys, travels and memories. How do you recreate these dreamy landscapes?
I focus on three things: the light, the composition and, most importantly, the colour. Together, these three things set the mood.

Your landscapes scenes seem to be natural portraits taken during travels and journeys near and far. However, they enclose very personal, subjective visions of those. You are able to capture moments of your life, gently revealing all feelings of that precise time. How are you able to do it?
I usually have a vague mental image of what the final photo will look like. It’s half planned, half left to chance.

What is leading you to become a professional photographer?
I don’t think I would be able to support myself financially if I became a professional photographer. My plan is to keep doing it alongside a full-time job in science, which is my other passion.

Your next project.
I’m going to Jordan for a few weeks, and I will be exploring more places there than I’ve ever done before.

Your main flaw and quality.
I’m an incredibly restless person. On the bright side, I’ve always been told that I’m very caring.

Make a wish.
I wish I could hug my childhood cat just one more time. She always shows up in my dreams.

Born and raised in a small farming community in rural American, Troy Colby creates handcrafted worlds coming from little childhood memories. Devoted to black and white photography, he composes images full of hope and dreams. His shots come from the heart and ask viewers to come to their own emotions.

I really love black and white and the qualities that it can bring to the image. I feel we bring our attachments to color to the images.

Which is your first photographic memory?
I really cannot think of any. I remember very little of my childhood. I do remember spending a lot of time looking at my grandparent’s old photo books every time I went over to their house. I would do the same with my parents as well. Other than that I really struggle to remember those moments as a child.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
A book—High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. Song, Man that is a super tough one. I am a huge music buff; I think my record collection is now in the 2000 mark. Right now I would say it is Nine Inch Nails, The Fragile. For a movie, I am going to say The Empire Strikes Back. The simple reason is that Luke has started to become a Jedi and is getting stronger. Yet they take a huge beating at the end of the film and they are still standing. It is bittersweet moment in the film yet you can feel the hope that still remains.

Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
I would more than likely go with the image of my middle son when we first started really working together. It is an image from “The Dream of Flight series”. He is standing in a field with sticks roped onto his wrists looking upward. The image is full of hope and dreams and it has also set me on this current path. I think we can all relate to wanting more and longing for something better.

A famous picture, not yours, you would have liked to take.
Oh man, that’s tough. I would have to go with “The Fishmongers Daughter” by Michael Garlington. It changed how I viewed photography and what could be done with photography. Not sure it that is famous enough. If not, “John the Baptist” by Caravaggio is a long standing favorite that I could spend hours viewing.

A famous person you would like to portray.
I used to really follow professional skateboarding growing up and then rock bands but I think someone that I find to be really interesting as an actor would be, Timothy Olyphant.

You seem to favorite black and white pictures. Is there a precise reason behind this choice?
I really love black and white and the qualities that it can bring to the image. I feel we bring our attachments to color to the images. Without color we strip these notions and it becomes more about the context within the image. Plus, many of my earliest inspirations used Black and White.

We know you were born and raised in a small farming community in rural American countryside, a place you will have missed a lot later on. How much did your backdrop help you refine your final vision?
I do miss the open sky and no one around. It helped me learn to make something in this landscape that was unique. Also the simplicity of the landscape translated into my work in how I approach things. Being isolated I think allowed me to be me without the extra influences.

Most of the times, you work with your son. Could you tell us something about this collaboration? Is it changing, as far as he is growing up?
First it was out of necessity. I needed a subject and landscapes at the time were of no interest to me. Living in the middle of nowhere using models were not an option either. So I just started using my children and wife when possible. Over the years it has evolved into just using my sons. My middle son is the one I typically use beside my project documenting my youngest. The work is changing and evolving slowly. He is becoming more conscious of himself as he enters his teenage years. So I am really not sure how much more time he will be willing to work with me.

You portray him wild and free in a close connection with nature. He is usually inside it: sometimes his face is covered behind a leaf, other times he hides himself inside a bush, or he is lying on the grass. What’s the meaning behind this strong relationship between man and nature? Is it possible to read a return to origins maybe?
This body of work started right after we moved to more of an urban setting. It deals with the both of us finding our place in this new location. As the work progressed my son found his place and is very comfortable in the landscape, while I am still struggling to find my place here. It deals with just trying to adapt and understand this new place you are living in now. It is a drastic change from a town with only a few stoplights to a large urban setting. Everything changed, from how we make work down to how we even live now.

I try to always produce work from the heart. I was once told by a mentor,“ You can make images from one of two places. Your head will leave you wanting more while your heart will give you what you desire.”

Through your art you frequently recreated handcrafted worlds. Where does your inspiration come from?
Some of it is from dreams and the other is from what little childhood memories I have. I do like to watch movies and sometimes a certain emotion comes across that I find interesting.

In “This will pass. I promise you” you speak about your worries as a father and you document your son as he moves through childhood. You capture ordinary instants of familial life, parenthood, as well as childhood during times of stress and insecurity. In sharing your true story through your photographs, it becomes universal. What’s the inner purpose of exploring something so deep?
It is a tough project for me, simply because it is so personal. I have always built up a guard in all of my other works and this lets it down. He has super high anxiety and migraines often. Along with that he is very good at being very demanding and is always on the move. The project happened organically and is still on going. It helps me reflect on those moments and maybe, just maybe, become a better dad by understanding those moments.

You are able to bring so much emotion through the loving but painful portraits of your little boy. We are pretty sure your images come from the heart. How could you be so touchy through your photographs?
I try to always produce work from the heart. I was once told by a mentor,“ You can make images from one of two places. Your head will leave you wanting more while your heart will give you what you desire.” This is something I try my best to stand behind in all of my work. So far this approach has served me well and I think others can feel the emotion within the work.

By introducing your series “The Journey of Dreaming” you quote William Dement saying, “Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives”. If you had to use your own words, how would you define it?
I would say that dreaming allows us to go past this unkind world and enter into this dreamland that can be good or bad. But for the most part our dreams are our escape mechanisms from the every day norm.

How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph?
Depending on the body of work. With the “Bitter Sweet” there is a small idea but my son and I typically play with the idea on location and things can change. In “The Journey of Dreaming” and “Memories from Sorrow” there is lots of planning. This would include building the props and even sketching the idea out. In “This will pass. I promise you,” it is all of the fly and nothing is preplanned at all. It is a nice change of pace but there are many moments that get missed as well.

What leads you to become a professional photographer?
It was all by chance. I had a film photo class way back in High School. I chose to go back to school late in life and did so thinking I would be a film editor. Well I had to take a photo story boarding class. In this class we had to use a 35mm and a super 8 camera to make a short film and have film stills as well. From here I remembered how much I loved photography and took a few photo classes and then it snowed balled. I am half way almost with my MFA. So my journey is moving forward. I hope I can share my work and knowledge with others.

Your next project?
I am continuing on with “This will pass. I promise you” and plan on taking some images of my friends in more of straight portraiture style with a 4×5 soon. I also started a new project with my middle son (one that typically helps) in color, capturing those early teenage moments of drifting off.

Your main flaw and quality.
My main flaw is not having the courage at times to speak up or approach people. Another one would be is that at times I allow that self-doubt voice to creep up on me too much. Good qualities would be: I am hard working and self motivated. I also try to be very honest and fair, though sometimes a bit too honest.

Make a wish.
Well, I would wish for a few more wishes. Pay off all of my student loans! Live off my artwork and travel the world at my own pace.

Bearing in mind Kandinsky’s theory about colours, Carola Ducoli creates a new kind of art where music, dance and photography mix. Her shots speak gently to the observer. She experiments with shades, she tells sensorial stories where surfaces, bodies and shapes converse. She’s seeking for movements inside of colours.

I would choose this picture because it speaks about an intimate relationship, because it is a nude portray, because it is a film photograph and because it owns much of what interests me more about photography.

Which is your first photographic memory?
The first memory I have about photography belongs to my father. He has been making photographs of me all along my childhood. I remember that it was one of our favorite game when I was young. I was used to strike a pose among flowers, and dress me up with glasses and hats, pretending to be a fancy character. On holiday we were used to tell photographic tales. As a child, I loved photography because it brought back to me all memories about my family through precious photographic albums we were used to keep in the living room. Meanwhile, on my turn, I was creating the photographic memory of my own story through my father’s shots. That fascinated me.
Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
A book: Asylum by Patrick McGrath. A song: Dream brother by Jeff Buckley. A movie: Allegro non troppo by Bruno Bozzetto.
Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
I would probably choose a self-portrait from the series “Trovarti in tua assenza”. The shot portrays a friend of mine, Giulia, second subjects next to me in the picture, that covers my eyes with her right hand. She looks at the camera, while hugging me with her left arm. I’m sat near her, on a grey cloth stand surrounded by the dark dim-light of the background. A soft, poorly spread out light surrounds both of us, in so creating wide shadows at our backs. I would choose this picture because it speaks about an intimate relationship, because it is a nude portray, because it is a film photograph and because it owns much of what interests me more about photography.
A famous person you would like to portray.
I would like to portray many people, starting from those I meet every day on the road. To identify just one person, it would be very hard.
A famous picture you would have liked to take.
I find hard to answer this question. Probably, I would have liked to shoot each and every photograph that touched me. However, I would not be able to do that as it would not be mine at the same time.

I woke up with the image of a tiny female body dancing and immersed in blue; it was hard to see because of a wired light, rarefied smoke. I fixed that image in my mind and I started traveling with my imagination about colours and sinuous bodies dancing.

Starting from your project “Vasili Vasil’evic Kandinskij”, you experiment with colours, photography and music. You tell stories of flying shapes, bodies, figures. You paint surfaces. Where does your inspiration come from?
It may seem common and ordinary, but the series “Vasili Vasil’evic Kandinskij” comes from the morning memory of a dream. I don’t know the reason why, but I’ve got the luckiness –unluckiness they may say – to remember my dreams almost every night. That morning, I woke up with the image of a tiny female body dancing and immersed in blue; it was hard to see because of a wired light, rarefied smoke. I fixed that image in my mind and I started traveling with my imagination about colours and sinuous bodies dancing. Few minutes later, Kandiskij’s theory about colours came to my mind. I looked for it, I read it all again and I selected five colours to work on. I investigated both auditory and emotional features of each shade, and together with Noemi, the dancer, we tried to create the specific feature of the body moving depending on the selected colour.
A dancer lightly moves and floats in front of your camera. She rises and jumps, surrounded by colorful dust. Blue, yellow, green, purple and red shadows spread in the air, wreath the dancer in, and recreate subtle vibrations that inspire her dance. You seem to be interest in seeking movement inside colours. Are we closed to your concept?
Definitely. I think you have clearly understood my idea.
Your shots speak gently to the observer; they tell sensorial tales where spaces, bodies and shapes converse. We can perceive musicality and poetry in them. How do you reach this effect?
While searching for movement during the shooting, starting from blue suggestions, then moving to green and yellow shades, a choreography happened by chance. Each shade suggested Noemi how to dance. In a white limbo soaked by colored jellies and flour, inspired by the musicality and feeling suggested by those five colours, it was natural to create a dance where shapes and bodies were connected.
“Vasili Vasil’evic Kandinskij” is made of two shots per shade of colour. The result is the creation of smaller units inside the same big artwork. The two shots exist together; they represent our duality. In each couple, we identify the attraction and deep tension between the two shots, like a force connecting opposites and creating something unique where none of them can stand by its own, nor can it live without its counterpart. What is hidden behind the concept of duality?
I have always liked the concept of duality, the duo, the couple. In “Vasili Vasil’evic Kandinskij” I believe that one spare shot is not enough to tell the inner soul of each colour. On the contrary, we need to show its before and after, the alter-ego, the action and the consequence of it; it means to tell a short fraction of movement, two instants of the dance, faraway one to the other; it means to tell about the opposing, complementary duality of every colour.

I love my photographs. I live them as they were the imaginary tales of my life. Anything I take pictures of, it assures me. My pictures remind me about something of myself, they bring me with them.

While approaching to the use of colours, you bear in mind Kandinskij’s theory of colours and the two possible effects colours can have on the spectator: a “physical effect” and a “psychic effect”. Could you explain us something more about it?
Following Kandiskij’s theory about colours, we know that they may have two effects on the observer. Firstly, the physical effect: more superficial and based on temporary feelings, those coming from the retina collecting information about one colour instead of another one. Secondly, the psychic effect that, on the contrary, refers to the spiritual vibration through which colour gets to the soul, in so generating a feeling. The psychic effect of a colour is determined by its sensible qualities: colour has a smell, a taste, a sound. Red, for instance, reawakes the feeling of pain, anger, or even passion in ourselves. The connection doesn’t come from a link between ideas but it’s due to inner features and to its “inner sound”. Bearing in mind that the sound of colour is a vibration, a wave that reaches our inner chords, Kandiskij describes all colours depending on feelings and emotions and he compares them to musical instruments. The composition of a painting depends on the colour, something that, despite our mind is limitless, shapes into a form. Colours cannot live without their shape. To Kandiskij, if a colour is associated with its favorite shape, all effects and feelings coming from colours and shapes, they will consequently increase. Yellow has a privileged relation with triangle, blue with circle and red with square.
You say you love analogue photography to express your thoughts. Sometime your shots are accompanied by words, short poems, deep reflections, few rows of memories and notes that reveal your intimacy. Which relationship do you build with your shots?
I love my photographs. I live them as they were the imaginary tales of my life. Anything I take pictures of, it assures me. My pictures remind me about something of myself, they bring me with them. It could be a romantic vision, I know, but I believe that every photograph is a little piece of the person taking it.
We know you experiment with different art techniques, spurs and expressions, from photography, to painting, scenic design, sculptures. What do you investigate through your art?
I love to experiment with art. I love to mix different media, to sew, to stick, to colour, to build and to find different shapes in order to express what I’m interested in telling. Due to the fact that I really love to experiment, I do not excel in anything in particular. On the contrary, I can do a bit of everything. I investigate thoughts, feelings, lives, tragedies and joys, both mine and other people ones.
What drives you to become a professional photographer?
The fact of doing something I really like to do.
Your next project.
I wish to find soon the time and psychophysics ability to think about it.
Your main flaw and quality.
Impulsiveness. I’ve got a great energy.
Make a wish.
To get to the end of my life with no regrets; to die in calm and tranquility surrounded with love.

Guendalina Fiore is a Rome-based photographer specialized in creative and portrait photography. Her artworks describe herself through a genuine and eclectic style, characterized by a sense of familiar warmth. She tells stories about ordinary people living ordinary lives, something anyone could be familiar with.

I tell stories that talk about ordinary people living ordinary lives. Something anyone could be familiar with. I’m for a kind of photography that is more narrative and less conceptual.

Which is your first photographic memory?
Hard to say! Probably some pictures of myself taken by my dad.
Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
Nice question! I’m gonna pick the movie “About time”. It’s not a blockbuster and not many people know it but it’s a comedy that perfectly represent my idea of happiness. Choosing a song is very difficult right now because there are so many that I can’t even remember all of them. Let’s say “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin. Lastly, the book “ Pride and Prejudice”.
Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
“The Dreamers”. The one of the two tattooed lovers laying in bed in each other’s arms.
A famous picture, not yours, you would have liked to take.
A picture of Henri Cartier-Bresson (I don’t know if it has a title) shooted in Italy in 1933. It’s a a black and white photo of two naked lovers (yes I love lovers) in a lake. You can see only the back of the guy holding the girl who is laying in the water with her legs around the boy’s hips.
A famous person you would like to portray.
There are so many! I would die to portrait Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander or Mick Jagger.
Let’s start from your personal project “Youth”: you unveil instants of intimacy in the everyday life of a young generation, you are the interpreter of those pure, genuine emotions featuring the lost innocent and carefree days of youth. You fix gestures, gazes, non-verbal elements able to touch the observer’s feelings. How could you reach this result?
I think all of this is an unconscious process. I don’t really think about what I want the observer to get, I just recreate moments according to my personal idea of beauty and to my own sensibility in that specific moment.
I always try to extrapolate the best from the people I’m working with, each one of them give a different contribution to my work. My goal is to represent moments of life that could be familiar to anyone, not a simple portrait of a beautiful girl.
If the observer feel something looking at my pictures, as you said, then I’m truly happy.
While observing your photographs, we notice that the human figure is central to your art. Who are the subjects of your works? What have you discovered up till now, by investigating the inner nature of people?

Mine isn’t an investigation actually. I just love portrait photography. For example, sometimes I think that a landscape could express much more with a human figure in the picture. I prefer to work with my friends and people who I already know because I know what I can expect from them and I’m never disappointed. I believe that you get different results according with the feeling of the people you are working with. The fact that I’m not investigating the inner nature of people is testified by the fact that I ask them to interpret a role and not to be themselves. But there is so much of the interpreter in the character that you see in the picture.
A subtle, gentle touch of melancholy can be perceived throughout your photographs. You portray moments of time: brief, fragile instants that will not come back. Where does this melancholy come from?
In a certain way my work describe who I am. I could be considered a melancholic person and I firmly believe that sadness is a stronger feeling than happiness.
It doesn’t mean that I want to spread sadness with my photos of course but I know that even if I’m representing a moment of joy, as could be for love or friendship between young girls, there is always that feeling of melancholy and nostalgia that characterize my work.
Your photographs have a direct communicative potential and a visual impact on the observers. You are a visual story-teller of secret stories. Stories that do not need words to be true, just the right time and place to be lived. Who are these stories about? Where do you take your inspiration from?
I tell stories that talk about ordinary people living ordinary lives. Something anyone could be familiar with. I’m for a kind of photography that is more narrative and less conceptual. My inspiration comes from many different sources. First of all, of course, other photographers. I’m mostly fascinated by photographers from the past like Vivian Maier, Alfred Eisenstaedt and Henri Cartier-Bresson. It’s probably because I particularly like that historical period, the America of the 50’s and 60’s. There are also many contemporary photographers I like as for example Peter Lindbergh and many more!! I’m also inspired by filmmaking especially regarding light and themes.

In a certain way my work describe who I am. I could be considered a melancholic person and I firmly believe that sadness is a stronger feeling than happiness.

Your works have been exposed in many cities all around the world, from London to Chicago, from Barcelona, to Shanghai, and they have been published in many known magazines also. Lately, you’ve taken part to the “MOPLA Group Show” in Los Angeles. What is driving you to become a professional photographer?
Some years ago my answer would have been “ I only take pictures for myself because I like it”. Now my point of view is drastically changed. When you achieve some good results that you wouldn’t have expected and you see that what you do is in some way appreciated, you start thinking that maybe photography could be an option. The fact that, little by little, I’m getting discovered by the photographic world makes me wanna do more and better. The level of the people out there is so incredibly high that the only way to make it is to keep yourself motivated. It’s not always easy!
Your next project.
I haven’t been shooting a lot for my personal projects lately so I have many ideas in my mind to put into practice. Some of them will be single shooting. I also would like to collaborate with new people as fashion stylists and make up artists to try to do something a bit more “elaborated” than my usual. But my most ambitious plan is to work on a brand new project with my best friend who is a writer. I already know how I want to title it and how I want to set it up, but I still have to arrange all the details! It will talks about life in its most general and wide meaning.
Your main flaw and quality.
My flaw is probably that I’m a bit too insecure. My quality is that I’m a good and trustworthy person.
Make a wish.
I wish to find my place in this World.

Luca Galavotti is a freelance photographer based in Ferrara. A tireless traveler, he investigates the relationship between places and human beings and especially how these elements impinge on each other in a sort of symbiosis.

Every day people live and interact with the environment that surrounds them. The relationship is very close, sometimes conflictual, most of times precarious, but both affect each other.

Which is your first photographic memory?
The first pictures that I keep in my mind are those taken by my dad: he has been photographing too for a short period of his life, and I remember especially those Arabian desert landscapes and those black and white portraits that he took during his travels with a Nikon F2; the same camera that is still my shots companion.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
It’s always hard to choose just one title, because I think the choice may depend from the moment and the mood. Considering the actual mood and what I’m doing in this period, I will say: a book: “On the road” by Jack Kerouac; a song: “Postcard from Italy” by Beirut; a movie: “La science des rêves” by Michel Gondry.

Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
I would probably choose that one of the sea, taken on a boat somewhere among France and England.

A famous person you would like to portray.
I think all the people, famous or not, have specific inner and outer characteristics that deserve to be portrayed. For this reason, I don’t have a specific person that I would like to portray more than others.

A famous picture you would have liked to take.
Any of Luigi Ghirri’s photos.

In your photography a strong relationship between human and landscape emerges. They seem to interact, to tend one to the other as they were connected. How do you reach this effect? Is this done on purpose?
Every day people live and interact with the environment that surrounds them. The relationship is very close, sometimes conflictual, most of times precarious, but both affect each other. Both concerne tangibles and intangibles things, including the mood. Since often we do no notice this, what I try to do is to make this symbiosis visible, and make people be aware of this.

Staircases, airports corridors, empty chairs in waiting rooms are the main subjects of your series “Nonluoghi”. Here, people meet, people cross; they run, they wait, almost unaware of the surrounding environment, a place characterized by constant transition and temporality, as Marc Augée refers to with, “that anthropological place of transience that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as place”. However, it seems that your “Non-places” are primary to the human presence. In your shoots, it is the environment to be the main subject, whereas the human beings are blurry, almost absent, fleeing. Do you think our interpretation is close to your art? What does attract you about such ambiences?
Yes, your interpretation is right.
What attracts me about these ambiences is that they are also big containers. I think that each non-place is also a container; a container of humans, but also a container of stories. A place where everyone can live their story and leave the sign of their passage. When I portray those places, I leave humans voluntarily in the background, blurry, almost absent; in this way who look at the picture can create a personal story to associate with that place. My intention is to give to those ambiences a soul, stopping for a moment the “constant transition” and the perpetual precariousness, typical of our age.

We know you are a tireless traveler. We can’t blame you, really! Travel means to widen horizons; it opens our minds; travels are kind of revelatory epiphanies sometimes. What does travelling means to you? Could you tell us one of the most meaningful travel you have done, so far?
I believe that the definition of travel is very wide. You can travel physically, by moving from a place to another place, but you can also travel with your mind, from a feeling to another one. No matter the way you look at it, traveling is a source of growth, often inner.
I think that the photographic instrument becomes a necessary tool to capture the important moments of the trip, to tell stories, to sculpt thoughts. The same importance as the pen to the writer. Travel and photography are intertwined, indissolubly linked.

What attracts me about these ambiences is that they are also big containers. I think that each non-place is also a container; a container of humans, but also a container of stories.

Everything in your landscapes is composed and balanced, as in a geometrical system. Where does your inspiration come from while taking pictures?
I like the clean and linear photography, without frills, almost minimalist. This style comes from my passion for lines and for symmetry. We live surrounded by lines, they are everywhere, they give a shape to everything, but often we do not notice them. I like to give them importance. And most of all, I think that especially as far as landscape photography is concerned, keeping a clean style could help to create a kind of balance between the author and the subject portrayed, as each of them would have something to say. Like in a conversation.

Speaking about your series “Homeland”, as well as “On the Road”, most of your pictures are taken outdoor, in the fresh air; they catch flying sparrows, wild fields in flowers or covered by the snow, winter skies and endless horizons colored by seasonal tones. Which is your relationship with nature?
I have to say that my relationship with nature has grown over the years.
Nowadays this connection is very strong and I think I could not live without nature, both on a personal and professional level.

And with your homeland?
I have always had a conflictual relationship with my native land. It’s a flat land, and it can be also very boring. When I started the project homeland, I wanted to represent it better and more beautiful than it is in reality; and I have to say that this project helped me – and it’s helping me still – a lot in making me appreciate what I see around me every day. From a photographic point of view I find it a very stimulating activity; I can assure that trying to take nice photos in this area is not as simple as trying to take them on the Dolomites or on a tropical beach, for example.

“What makes photography a strange invention – with unforeseeable consequences – is that its primary raw materials are light and time”, said John Berger. It comes to our minds while observing your photos. Is this true for you?
Thanks. Definitely yes. Aside the technicalities, lights and time are strongly connected. By the light that leaves its footprint on the photosensitive material, we know something’s “been there” in front of the camera when the shutter button was presses. And for a brief moment, a split of a second, there is harmony between the physical subject and the material on which its representation is formed (film, paper, sensor). But soon after that the connection no longer exists.

I like the clean and linear photography, without frills, almost minimalist. This style comes from my passion for lines and for symmetry. We live surrounded by lines, they are everywhere, they give a shape to everything, but often we do not notice them.

You love analogue photography. Why? Where does your fascination for analogue photography come from?
I think that analog photography is a sort of way of life and thought. In a world that goes so fast, photography included, I like to think in an analog way, slowly. And analog photography helps me to do it at my best; especially for the choices I have to make in advance. For example, by choosing which film speed I have to use in a certain situation, or by choosing to shoot in black and white instead of color. I like to live the feelings behind each shot, and the curiosity to see the result days or months later. And most of all, I like to live those moments in the dark room, where I see my thoughts becoming images.

Your next project.
I still have to decide. But it will be certainly something about landscapes.

Your main flaw and quality.
Uh! I have a lot of flaws. One of them is laziness. As far as qualities are concerned, I could say that when I do something, I try do it at my best.

Make a wish.
Keep doing what makes me happy.

Moved by a strong relationship with his homeland, passion and continued curiosity for it, Richard Gaston illustrates and documents the lands of Scotland where he lives. Through the use of composition, he captures landscapes, the mountain culture within and the peaceful combination of nature and man.

I aim to photograph in varied styles; capturing wide vistas, documentary, portraiture but most importantly my primary style. This is in order to build archive imagery and use these images across various platforms for future projects and commissions.

What is your first photographic memory?
I was obsessed with gadgets that came in micro form so having my young hands on a tiny camera (about the size of a box of matches) was extremely stimulating. Abroad with my parents I would photograph our travels. I can’t promise that these images were of any quality, but more importantly I feel that had some factor into my current passion for photography.

Could you describe yourself with a book and a movie?
Book: “The Living Mountain” by Nan Shepherd.
Documentary: “Bill Cunningham New York”.

Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
A day of winter hiking through white out conditions in the Southern Highlands of Scotland. Approaching the summit of Ben Lawers I had little visual knowledge of my surroundings because of the foggy conditions. Within the space of a minute the clouds sparse and light shone through the clouds onto the peak of the neighbouring mountain isolating it from its landscape, a beautifully brief moment I will remember forever and an image I feel accurately represents my approach to photography.

A place you would like to go and portray.
Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle. It compliments my views on photography; peaceful isolation, natural elements, untouched landscape and complimented with an abundance of wildlife. When I visit new locations – in new countries more specifically – I aim to photograph in varied styles; capturing wide vistas, documentary, portraiture but most importantly my primary style. This is in order to build archive imagery and use these images across various platforms for future projects and commissions.

A famous picture you would have liked to take.
Marcin Ryczek’s photograph of ‘A Man Feeding Swans in the Snow.’ Personally, it depicts the fundamental aspects of photography, especially in composition and contrast. Perfectly evaluating the ideology of that once-in-a-lifetime shot. 

Throughout your photography you reveal hidden inspiring places in the wilds and wonderlands of Scotland, your homeland. The wild Scottish countryside, its hidden beaches and secret glens are both the main subject and the background of most of your art. How is your relationship with your land? 
I learnt the majority of my photography skill in the Highlands of Scotland photographing landscapes and the mountain culture within. Through years of exploring the remotest areas of the country I have built a firm respect and knowledge for the land. Understanding the boundary of danger and with the hope of something magical happening in natures elements. With that said, my land continues to surprise me offering unique experiences each time I explore new and familiar locations. To sum up my relationship, I hold a bond of respect, passion and continued curiosity for my homeland.

In your series, you explore the themes of solitude, loneliness and secludedness. How do you feel when you are alone surrounded only by nature?   
To say I feel totally at ease and content would be lying, I do feel a certain wave of fear and panic. Like where am I? What am I doing? I’m aware I will experience these emotions prior to heading out, building anticipation and excitement. The most enjoyable part for me personally is on reflection when I am driving home from a trip. It then all makes sense as to why I put myself in those scenarios. The feeling of perspective (of problems) and importance (of experiencing these situations).

As a person, I tend to be a bit of a loner. I prefer my own company. Doing things by myself. So, my photography style reflects me as a person; calm, peaceful and similar to the aforementioned point, being alone with that sense of isolation.

You say to favourite natural light and colours. Through them you document the natural landscape as it is; pure as it is. How long does it take you to take a picture? Do you do it all of a sudden? Or do you usually prefer to wait for the right natural conditions to shoot?
More of a purist in that sense. My images capture the essence of an expedition in a minute period – time is limited and there is a pressure to push on before sun down. Therefore, I do not have the luxury of time to wait for that glimpse of magic or set up a camera awaiting ideal conditions. It’s all about the singular, magical moment that cannot be replicated.

Your photographs recreate quiet and peaceful natural atmospheres. Here, everything is composed. No men are present. On the contrary, the human presence can be denoted by the human passage in the solitary and sporadic bothies you portray, in so revealing human habits and customs of those faraway places. Is this made on purpose? Why?
As a whole that sums up what I am trying to achieve in photography; the peaceful combination of nature and man. Set in a vast sense of overwhelming beautiful landscape surrounding the micro aspect of our kind, conveying just how insignificant we are on this planet. As a person, I tend to be a bit of a loner. I prefer my own company. Doing things by myself. So, my photography style reflects me as a person; calm, peaceful and similar to the aforementioned point, being alone with that sense of isolation.

You document your land through an analytic firm eye. There’s no aim of celebrating it; just the simple, easy act of observation, standing at the wild nature and waiting for a sign, a movement, an answer. What are you searching for while looking through your lens? 
I aim to capture a sense of solitude through the use of composition. That beam of sunlight isolating a minuet figure or the tip of the mountain top. That one wild animal that has left its pack straying on a lonesome path with a feeling of peace. All of which I think illustrates the feeling of being alone and at ease with that feeling. This doesn’t necessarily convey how I feel at that moment when it is captured. I can feel alone and uneasy at this time due to being out in the extreme wilds.

Staring at your wild natural landscapes, never-ending fields and snow-whitened mountains tops we seem to breathe easier, as after a deep gasp of fresh air and oxygen. How do you reach this effect?
I’d like to think that people feel a sense of escapism. Relating to the image in a way that makes them wish to be there. I wouldn’t want to convey the massive amount of effort that is put in to get the image as it is not at all easy going. But instead I like to channel that short-lived moment that makes the arduous hike all worthwhile into my photograph.

All of which I think illustrates the feeling of being alone and at ease with that feeling. This doesn’t necessarily convey how I feel at that moment when it is captured.

What does travel mean to you? 
Ultimately, travel has developed my career as a photographer. I never could have imagined that from what I spent my time doing at the weekends for enjoyment has progressed into a career. Veering away from my university degree I have somewhat disregarded my years in education and pursued what I truly love to do, travel and photography.

While taking pictures, you transform into a careful reporter of wild lands in Highland, Iceland, St Kilda, Whiteland. You tell secret stories of remote places and evocative landscapes. Which place has inspired you the most, so far? 
My home country. It is the place I have learned everything to do with what I am passionate about. I have been though some exhilarating experiences and some life-threatening situations. There is still so much I’ve yet to visit accomplish in the Highlands of Scotland.

Your next project. 
I’m in the midst of a travel guide to Scotland’s wildest parts, titled Wild Guide Scotland. A travel compendium, split into various chapters depending on their geographical locations each recommending the best places to wild camp, hike, wild swim, for viewpoints etc. We’re currently writing up the final pieces and have just returned from out last trip. We have visited almost every corner of the country, including every island. Every image in the book is our own as well as every word. Due to be released in May 2017.

Your main flaw and quality.
Indecisive & passionate.

Make a wish.
To photograph Polar Bears in the Arctic.

Luca Bortolato is an Italian photographer based in Venice. Dreamy, fairytale like and gentle, he designs his images in an almost minimalistic way. His pictures are real dialogues; they tell silent mysterious stories and they reveal a small part of himself. Fascinated by the power of pictures since always, he investigates his identity through others

I’m a convinced supporter of the idea that we are exactly our pictures. This means that they reflect our intimacies and sensibilities, as litmus paper.

Which is your first photographic memory?
A picture of my dad. It dates back to the 60’s. It portrays him during the military service. It was the first and unique time I saw him without mustaches.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
“The Count of Monte Cristo” by Dumas.
“Rising” by the heart breaking Lhasa de Sela.
The only boarding school I’ve ever wanted to attend is the Welton Academy in “The dead poets society”.

Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
They are three, actually.
Each of them represents an important moment in my path, a sort of turning points:
1. La Consapevolezza / The Awareness (the first picture of the first black and white roll, from which I got more than I had ever expected).
2. Gli Azzurri / The Light Blue Ones (it was the time of colours and suspended places. After a deep research, they would have found me).
3. La lucidità / The Luminescence (all of my last year production. My work has never been so clear to me).

A famous person you would like to portray.
Me.

A famous picture, not yours, you would have liked to take.
If I had done it, it would have not been the same.
I’m a convinced supporter of the idea that we are exactly our pictures. This means that they reflect our intimacies and sensibilities, as litmus paper. As a consequence, it is impossible to recreate an image that already exists in someone else.

Let’s start from your last series “Mericans”. Here, you portray a slice of life in New York, the city that never sleeps, “the apple made of restless metal skyscrapers; the place where flavours and smells of thousands of skins and nationalities mix”, you say. What made you decide to realize it? What is the reason behind the title choice?
“Mericans” differs a lot from the rest of my artistic production.
I was the first one to be surprised about it.
I had never been interested in “Street Photography” (a term too much used, I think).
I travel quite often. However, my camera is never with me, just because I need to live deeply and fully the reality around me.
New York started as a diary of memories from a place where I would have never come back. At least, not in the short time. I started from something that I already knew very well: the concept of identity. I’ve never been interested in faces; they have always been as a mirror to me, where to drown. In those days, New York becomes a reflection where to look at myself.
Since the beginning, I have recognized the tangible sense of solitude and melancholy I was used to, into a city interested in showing exactly its opposite.
It seems that the city could offer thousands of different opportunities to those who live there, to those who try to, and to whom, like me, come from distant places with no intentions to stay there for long.
People were there, as they were repeating to them that at the end, everything would be fine.

We are now thinking about “Alterità”, the series of female portraits you exhibited last summer in Milan. Six big sizes portraits of young, pure women. They are alone and naked in front of the camera. We don’t know who the subjects of these self-timers are, as we cannot see their visages. Their identities are shown just by little, tiny details of their bodies: a tattoo, a couple of moles, the line of their lips. “Alterità” is not just photography, it mixes with performance as well, because all visages of the series have been removed by a precise, net tear. What does this series reveal about yourself and your search for personal identity?
All my artistic path speaks about me.
It is like a draining, extenuating research over the many sides of me. It was a kind of exorcism of the parts of me I love and I cannot accept at the same time. As a result, it has gradually become a sort of “photography of acceptance”; a path dedicated to discover my inner side; a self-analysis made through other people. To me, people have always played the role of filters between reality and me. In “Alterità” I investigate the self-portrait, but by leaving space to the subject to photograph him/herself without me interacting in it.
Later, then, I have taken my identity back with a strong act, a rip, a scream able to underline my action of taking back all that I had missed till then. It was the act of bringing back the picture to my personal icon.

The photograph starts a long time before the moment of holding the camera. We both need time to build a trustful relationship. This happens through words and acts of listening; it happens little by little

Women are often the main protagonists of your art. Your women seem both fragile and strong at the same time. You portray them naked, half-naked, or just through few details of their elegant bodies. By your intimate photographs, they seem to be able to unveil themselves totally. How could you reach this effect?
Just by listening to them.

How do you feel while taking picture? Could you tell us something about the relationship you build with models during the shooting?

The photograph starts a long time before the moment of holding the camera. We both (me as the photograph, and the model) need time to build a trustful relationship. This happens through words and acts of listening; it happens little by little by filtering all our nudities, something even scarier than the act of laying naked in front of a stranger. We are both a medium through which to reach ourselves. It is a dialogue, and it always will be.
We fall in love with our thoughts and our act of dreaming.
At the end, the photograph in itself is just the result of a study based on our difficulties in opening to the others in a sincere and spontaneous way.
Everything starts from my deep love for other people’s inner being.

A wild minimalism permeates your photography. Ethereal places and elegant skinny bodies emerge from blurry horizons where the sky mixes with the sea. The seaside can only be barely seen. Waves keep their methodical movement towards their temporal unicity. All seem permeated by silence and mystery. Spontaneously, your photographs arouse histories in the observer’s mind. How could you get to this final result? Do you follow a precise project while shooting or do you prefer to take photographs naturally?
I’m always looking for synthesis in my images. Everything starts from something extremely full, that gradually undresses. Excesses release. The centrality of the subject determines by itself the importance of the surrounding scene, in so creating by itself a sort of “non-time” inserted into a “non-place”.
While investigating ourselves, we get never to clear closed answers. On the contrary, the research leaves space for imagination and it makes other questions arise. In so doing, my images are the result of a number of questions I usually make to myself. They force me to accept and deny everything again.

I’ve never been interested in faces; they have always been as a mirror to me, where to drown.

Did it ever happened to you when you realize you have not your camera with you and you have just seen something very interesting to shoot?
I have always my phone with me, and I can take pictures with it.

Your next project.
I would like to be able to enter even more in my images. In a physically way, also. I’ve been working from almost one year on a new path, that includes just one single subject and a small amount of photographs, produced little by little. It’s a new, slow way to present myself, searching to stay clear headed.
At the same time, I’ve found again my interest in landscape. However, this time I’m not trying to speak about far unfamiliar places, as in the series “Mericans”. In the contrary, I’m investigating my land, a place so full of tales and familiar aspects that have always been part of my past. Photographs will be created while moving, taken directly from inside my car. The project will be a representation of my reality. I’m conceiving them as “Postcards”.

Your main flaw and quality.
Egocentric and self-centered.

Make a wish.
I wish it was tomorrow already.

Starting with painting and moving on with photography, Debora Barnaba expresses her inner emotions. She experiments through her art, she unveils her inner world, she tells stories made of feelings and thoughts. She speaks gently through photography.

Which is your first photographic memory?
I was a child when I did my first photograph: my family.

After the project “Visioni del vuoto” in Varese I wanted to tell what I feel through my pictures, this sense of emptiness that I find everywhere, because it is in me.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
Book: “Pictor’s Metamorphoses: and Other Fantasies”, Herman Hesse.
Song: “Primavera”, Einaudi.
Movie: “Anna Karenina”, Joe Wright.
Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
I would use my self-portrait.
A famous picture, not yours, you would have liked to take.
I don’t know, I think quite every pictures of Araki and Mapplethorpe!
A famous person you would like to portray.
I don’t know, I don’t like portraits, but I’d like to make some good portraits of people that I know well. I think that the understanding of the subject is important to make a good photo, and a good portrait.
A cold grey sky dominates the urban sceneries of your series “Places”. Tall, massive buildings move high towards the sky, lanes are half occupied, car parks are free, roads reveal the signs of the wheels in the snow. It seems that only a few people are present, as the city slowly empties itself from human lives. Everything is absorbed in a magical atmosphere out of time, “suspended”. Is this created on purpose?
Yes it is! After the project “Visioni del vuoto” in Varese I wanted to tell what I feel through my pictures, this sense of emptiness that I find everywhere, because it is in me. Sadness, with nobody there, and even when there are people they are like in a cage (like in the picture of the MET museum). You can’t escape from this feeling.

Every time I hold my camera I try to communicate the way I see things. Places, the body, everything is important to me. It’s like telling a story, made of feelings and thoughts. It’s my world.

Varese, your hometown, is one of the favorite subjects of your art. You depict your city by filtering it through a subjective, intimate sight. Which is your relationship with it?
With the project “Visioni del vuoto” I wanted to see my city, the “place where I live” in my way. There are a lot of photographic books about the city, but I’ve never seen it as I feel. So, I tried to create an intimate vision, spending one year going through the city, trying as I did for “Places” to tell what I feel. In particular, I feel bad in Varese. I think it’s a mentally closed place, in fact you can see lots of white walls, every place is without communication. You only feel alone, without the possibility to be heard by anyone.
Under your analytic, subtle sight, you reveal aspects of the world that would remain easily invisible, on the contrary. What are you looking for while holding the camera?
Every time I hold my camera I try to communicate the way I see things. Places, the body, everything is important to me. It’s like telling a story, made of feelings and thoughts. It’s my world.
Most of your artistic projects are monochromatic. Human bodies, as well as landscapes, emerge from a feeble vibrant atmosphere, usually dark. Why do you prefer black and white to colours?
I don’t prefer black and white to colours. But colours sometimes are more distracting than black and white. The most important thing for me is what I want to tell. So, I choose the best way for me to describe it. Sometimes are colors, sometimes not.
You are usually the main protagonist of your pictures. Which is your relationship with your body? Which is the part of your body you love more to take picture of?
I think everybody, men and women, has a difficult relationship with his body. Maybe sometimes you feel good, but sometimes not. For me is the same. Sometimes I feel fine in my body, sometimes I feel it distant from who I am.
I don’t have a favorite part to shoot. When I shoot myself the important thing is what I want to say, not what I show. I treat myself as a model, using my body to communicate. I’m not interested in feeling bad or not, my body is my instrument and I try to use it the best way to tell what I want. No matter if it is beautiful or not.
How do you feel when you are alone?
It depends. Sometimes I feel bad, but sometimes good. I spend most of the time alone, so I’m not scared of being alone, but it depends if I’m satisfied with me and my life. As it happens to everybody, I think.
Bearing in mind the way Cristina Nuñez conceives photography and self-portrait specifically, is it possible to speak about your art as a form of auto therapy as well?
I’m not using my projects as auto therapy but I think it could be a good way to feel better with yourself. Also for me it was a good thing for my esteem, but to be art it must go further than this.
You depict entire figures or tiny details of the body and its shadows, dressed or nude. They slowly emerge from a dark background, they fill the framing and they fit it. What does attract your attention while making a picture?
I usually star from an idea, and some images about it. Once in the studio, I try to reproduce what I have in my mind, going further, exploring as much as I can. My attention is attracted in my pictures by what they can express. If they can express my idea, or maybe they astonish me, they’re ok. Otherwise not. But I can use them also as experiment, to reach something even more interesting.

I don’t prefer black and white to colours. But colours sometimes are more distracting than black and white. The most important thing for me is what I want to tell.

In your portraits you depict female bodies, their gentle lines, sinuous curves and invisible inner details. All human intimacies and fragilities are revealed and gathered together under a high esthetic care and elegance of composition. How could you interact so gently and deeply at the same time?
I don’t know. I try to be as deep as I can. But I think in art you express who you are, so maybe it’s only me. And I think it’s easy to be gentle and deep when you love something, and you do it with all of your heart.
What does aesthetic composure mean for you?
I think it’s an important part of the work. Doing art is creating a new world, with new rules. The idea/vision is the world, but aesthetic composure is the rule.
We dare to say you enjoy experimenting with art: starting from painting, moving to photography and video. Which medium do you like the most to express yourself?
I don’t know! Now it’s a long time since I last painted, but I started with it. Now I prefer photography and video, even if sometimes I feel these mediums as limited ones.
Your pictures become cover stories, your subjects become professional models, your images gather delicate emotions together with strength. Which relationship do you build with people you take picture of?
When I shoot myself I try to be open and honest, when I shoot someone else is different. If I shoot for fashion, I try to keep the model inside the project and work with her to have the perfect shot. If I work for my personal projects, I could only shoot people that I love, or with a particular relationship of a deep friendship, and they have to trust me, and I need to feel free to ask them to open themselves.

When I shoot myself I try to be open and honest, when I shoot someone else is different.

Light is the main protagonist of most of your artworks, both in your photography and in video art. Tiny details of human body stare at the camera, they gently move in front of it, in a sort of sinuous silent dance: a nude stomach, the hollow of the neck, an elegant hand, a womb, they become the characters of the alternating game between lights and shadows. What are you investigating with all these “Suspensions”?
Suspensions are always part of my journey, experimenting with the body, with movements in particular. With the video you can see how single parts can move, and it’s really interesting for me to see it. Usually, you don’t think about every single movement of every single part of your body, but I think they are important too. So I want to show them, so people can be surprised by themselves, discovering more about the body: that is ourselves, but it is an unexplored land for most of us.
Your next project.
Always going further with my vision and my experiments. I have some ideas, but every idea is good. I need to understand lots of new things, always.
Your main flaw and quality.
I look for perfection in everything I do, and I try to give my best with love and passion in everything I do.
Make a wish.
I’d like to be a good and interesting artist.

Yana Toyber is an Ukraine-born photographer based in New York. She has been in love with art and photography since always. Under a gentle spontaneous touch, she portrays women, lines and profiles of feminine bodies. In her art, water plays an important role as well, transforming into a sculptural element of her photography.

Which is your first photographic memory?
It’s funny. There is actually a picture of me in my crib staring at a Polaroid. It looked like it was very deep in thought. Since it was documented, I clearly remember that night and the fun photo shoot evening I had with my family.

What made me solidify my career goal to become a photographer was how images always made an impact on me and seemed to burn into my consciousness.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
This is a very interesting question!
I always think I’m the star in my own movie called Yana. Book, I guess if we are talking fantasy I can relate to the Bene Gesserit Witches in Dune. Song, I can describe myself with two: Everything at once by Lenka, and Lil Kims’ verses in Quiet Storm by Mobb Deep.
Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
In my “Sacred” series there is an image of a nude women standing on lava rock back facing the viewer with her arms up as ocean water crashes behind the rocks.
A famous picture, not yours, you would have liked to take.
Tiny in “Streetwise” series by Marry Ellen Mark. She wears a black dress and gloves and a black hat with veil she appears to be hugging her self. Also so many images Guy Bordin took.
A famous person you would like to portray.
I don’t care to portray anyone else.
How did you get close to photography?
I have always loved photography. What made me solidify my career goal to become a photographer was how images always made an impact on me and seemed to burn into my consciousness.
Speaking about “4Sale”, we know it is part of a collaborative experiment you made with other female visual artists. Could you tell us something more about this interesting and unique co-operation? How did you feel while working on it and shooting your fellows?
There was a feeling of constant creativity while doing the project. It was also widely accepted by everyone who came across it. We received a lot of press and I feel we all grew as artists during the project.
“4Sale” collects a number of underwater shots where clear, elegant and sinuous feminine bodies emerge from a dark background. They are in pair, alone, their eyes are closed and visages are often covered by hair. The atmosphere is blurry, out of focus and unclear because of water. What does water mean in your art?
I used water almost as a medium in “4Sale” and other projects as well. Almost like a sculptural element.
The duo water-women is quite frequent in your photography (“Sacred”, “Embrio” and “Rebirth”, just to mention). Where does this conceptual and artistic choice come from?
It feels natural I like the energy. Partnerships are important to me. In my work negative space is often explored and I feel like shooting two subjects in a frame is often a beautiful way to start that exploration.

I’m currently starting work on a Documentary project featuring my transgender friend.

In your spontaneous portraits we perceive a celebration of feminism. Under a gentle touch, you portray women and the lines and profiles of their bodies, in so celebrating their grace. How could you reach this effect?
I guess it’s simply my vision. I honestly do work which comes to me on a subconscious level I believe. I feel like I’m just a messenger.
The same soft and gentle touch could be perceived in the series “Working for a man”, where you describe random episodes of the oldest, but also one of the most dangerous professions in the world: prostitution. These fearless women you portray are catched in between work and waiting, never in the sexual act. Where does your curiosity for this theme come from?
The series is called “Working for THE man”, actually. It’s an American saying about working for a corporation. At the time. I was interested in comparing marriage to prostitution. How depending on men for income is so common for women in this country throughout history. Whether it be in a marriage or as a prostitute. The differences and the similarities. How socioeconomic situations lead women to choose certain careers. The project wasn’t really about acts of sex.
You left your original country many years ago. Do you remember something from Ukraine? Have you ever felt that emotion Germans define with the word Fernweh, meaning the ache for distant places, and feeling homesick for a place we have (almost) never been?
I grew up in a very Russian neighborhood in NY so I felt some connection. There were many of us living there from Ukraine. I was curious about the town I came from and I got to visit family there in 2003. That visit pretty much ended any curiosity I ever had.
Speaking now about New York, the city you are living now into, what can you tell us about its nightlife, habits and culture you have usually shot?
NY nightlife changes very rapidly. It’s fun! And often Status driven as well.
You end your personal description by saying that you live with a monster. That catched our attention even more, we dare to say. What does this mean? Could you tell us something more about it, please?
Hahaha that’s my cat name.
If you had to choose an era, which years would you like to live into? Why?
I like living here right now! It’s a very exciting time and it’s all I really know. Any other time would be a fantasy.
Your next project.
I’m currently starting work on a Documentary project featuring my transgender friend.
Your main flaw and quality.
My main flaw is bossiness. My main quality is love through acceptance.
Make a wish.
I wish for more love, understanding, health, and money!

Enrica De Nicola is an Italian-based contemporary photographer. She expresses her inner self mixing different photographic fields and mediums, from portraits to storytelling. Through her genuine and innocent approach, the artist reveals both herself and her surrounding world.

Which is your first photographic memory?
When I was a child my mother used to take a lot of pictures of mountain landscapes. I have never given so much importance to them, probably because I’ve always associated them to the boring excursions that I was forced to do at that time. Lately, I have started to recover her pictures and to appreciate them, together with the interest for landscapes.

I think that the main aim of a photographer is to tell a story about something ordinary according to his/her personal language, and to make an intimate relation with places and people throughout it.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
A book: “A lover’s discourse: fragments”, by Roland Barthes; a song: “Het volk”, by Pan American; a movie: “Persona”, by Ingmar Bergman.

A famous person you would like to portray.
Björk.

Your visual approach involves different photographic fields: portrait, fashion, architecture and storytelling. Which of them allows you to express your feelings better?
At the beginning it was portraiture that allows me to fully express myself. Currently, I like to mix the different languages.

Black and white close-ups of children populate your series “Family Dolls”. Young boys and girls are depicted in all their innocence and simplicity. Their eyes speak gently for them, in so revealing their soul. Who are them? Also, we see hands embracing their soft faces. Who do they belong to?

They belong to their parents. The project is built around the conversation between gestures and gazes. I took the idea from some memories of my past: when someone asked me to pose for the camera, I used to react with a kind of intolerance. I felt forced. So, I started to look for children that could re-experience this same feeling. However, this first initial inspiration developed and the series is now focused more on the limits between affection and oppression.

While observing your young portraits, it is easy to be touched by the genuine gaze of your children. It seems that a light veil of sadness covers their visages. Children seem to wonder about something, to quest for something. Did you reach this effect on purpose?

Yes, I tried to. However, children’s attitude played a crucial role in the final result. I chose them carefully according to their behaviour, trying to predict their reactions to the situation, that was a little bit tense. I think they sensed me like an intruder, also because I was really close to them while shooting with a macro ring mounted on the Hasselblad. Moreover, they were very curious about the camera: they seemed to approach directly to it or try to studying something in the lens.

When I was a child my mother used to take a lot of pictures of mountain landscapes. I have never given so much importance to them. Lately, I have started to recover her pictures and to appreciate them.

How do you feel while working with such young people?
I feel comfortable. Everything is very spontaneous with children, although I had to interfere with them to give indications.

Dark, gloomy tones dominate the shots of “Still There”. Here, you become a documentary photographer. You investigate mysterious rural places by portraying simple details of the everyday life of their inhabitants. No human figures appear except for a couple of dull, tired eyes. Everything there seems to be permeated by a strange halo. Why did you choose these places? Which is your relationship with them?

It’s an area very close to my city and overlooked from the body of Garigliano nuclear plant. I’ve always felt attracted by that place, not only for the episodes that involved the river that crosses it, but especially for this strange cohabitation of nature and technology. The nuclear plant has the appearance of a bizarre alien object whose presence covers everything around that.

In “Still There” you observe the surrounding reality through inquiring eyes. No judgments, just observation. On this regard, it comes to our mind Elliot Erwitt’s quote: “Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place”. Do you recognize yourself in it? How does it fit to your art?
Yes, I do recognize myself in it. Indeed, I think that the main aim of a photographer is to tell a story about something ordinary according to his/her personal language, and to make an intimate relation with places and people throughout it. In “Still There” I’ve tried to give a very personal view of the area. However, at first sight the landscape is completely different from the pictures I’ve taken: it is a sunny Mediterranean area. I’ve inverted this appearance shooting only after the sunset and taking advantage of the twilight mood in order to highlight the sensation of a fairy place, because that was the way I perceived the area.

You collect moments of your life in a visual diary. You observe the world through car and plane windows marked by rainy drops. As a consequence, the world around you shapes into blurry, evanescent scenes and it moulds into splashes of colours. What does this project tell about you and the way you perceive reality?
It’s a kind of exercise. A car or plane window acts as just another lens added to the camera lens, surrounding the sensation of different levels of reality. In my “Diary” I observe the multiple way of being of landscapes, and I play with that.

In shooting urban architectures, your compositions are clean rigorous tidy sets. Your bi-dimensional views mainly shape through warm colours and bright light. Space seems to be filled but not lived and it transforms into a set design, where no humans are present. External walls of tall buildings, empty benches and endless rows of windows feel up the scene, leaving just a small space to the sky to emerge. What does “I miss you” mean to you?

The title refers to the absence of any human warmth. I’ve tried to suggest that feeling by playing with the rigor of the space, perfectly organized but not ready to be lived yet, exactly like the set of a cold reality.

Your next project.
I’m not sure about it yet, but I think it will involve a lot of still-lifes.

Your main flaw and quality.
I’m very moody. I’m very methodic.

Make a wish.
To travel more.

The Milan-based photographer Alessandro Zanoni investigates the contemporary world around him by wandering through its urban landscapes and architectures. Fascinated by the Far East World, he has lately undertaken a deeper travel across China and the major cities of the Inner Mongolia, the new protagonists of its new artistic project.

Which is your first photographic memory?

Old pictures about my family turned yellow and hidden in my grandparents’ trunk; polaroid pictures taken by my dad at the beach in the ‘70s; long afternoons spent in the red light of the darkroom in a photo studio run by family’s friends; the magic of waiting for the image to appear.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?

It’s hard to choose. I’ve got many titles, but the first three that come to my mind are John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Bob Dylan’s Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues and Wim Wender’s Kings of the Road.

Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?

A black and white picture belonging to the latest series I’m working on.

A city you would like to portray.

Seoul.

A famous picture you would have liked to take.

I could randomly choose from the series “Yangtze, The Long River” by Nadav Kander.

How did you get close to photography?

As I am a compulsive cinephile, I could easily say it happened “through the cinema”. Actually, I think I bought a camera because I was tired of traveling on my own. I felt the need of a travel companion to collect memories.

I was born in Cremona area, I lived in a number of different cities but Milan is my home. We fight many times and it is getting more and more snob and presumptuous, however I am in love with it.

Urban landscapes, metropolitan details and little corners of the city are the main subjects of your artworks. Why did you choose this kind of photography? 

I’m interested in urban landscape, architecture and places we inhabit. Human presences are rare or even implied. I don’t have a precise flair in portraying a person or a visage, whereas I feel confident with volumes, geometries, concrete, asphalt.

We dare to say that through your pictures you become narrator of places. Your photographs show the ability and the desire of documenting the urban landscape. Do you identify yourself with this interpretation? 

I perfectly do. I think that by showing urban spots is possible to raise a number of questions in the observers’ eyes, such as who we are, where we live and how we decided to modify the world we are living into.

What inspires your photography the most?

The road, I dare to say. But also cinema and other photographers’ work.

We know that your approach to photography is quite fresh. Do you think that this has been changing your life a bit? What do you think you have learnt more from this experience, so far?

It has changed my life totally. It becomes a kind of new language through which I can now express myself. I think that the chance to communicate with people I don’t know personally is a great privilege and it would have not been possible without photography.

Milan is your city and it is one of the most frequent subjects of your photography as well. How is your relationship with this metropolis? Which part of Milan do you like the most? Which one do you like to photograph the most?

I was born in Cremona area, I lived in a number of different cities but Milan is my home. We fight many times and it is getting more and more snob and presumptuous, however I am in love with it. I like all those areas of Milan where beauty is subtle. To be honest, my favorite Milan is a city that doesn’t exist anymore: it is a black and white city, characterized by fog and its typical public houses (the so called “case di ringhiera”); by the irony of characters such as Jannacci and Beppe Viola and the differences between social classes. I like to photograph the earlier suburbs and all those areas that changed less.

All the cities that you portray in your photographs disclose their less known corners. The urban spots you immortalize are characterized by absence, emptiness and silence in contrast with the common idea of metropolitan chaos and traffic. What is silence for you?

I have got many friends, I really like to talk with people, however I am a solitary person. I like all those moments “suspended” in the typical daily dream feeling. They could be find wherever, even in the traffic or in chaos. You have just to observe, or wandering with your head in the clouds. Silence for me is an important part of the travel; the traveler is by definition solitary: a silent meticulous observer.

It has changed my life totally. It becomes a kind of new language through which I can now express myself. I think that the chance to communicate with people I don’t know personally is a great privilege and it would have not been possible without photography.

The city of Milan you describe through your photography is usually made of black and white shots; your Milan emerges from a number of details of contemporary urban perspectives, structural elements, parallel lines, single precise urban elements that show the essence of the ever-changing city. Do you think it could exist a kind of relationship between your art and Basilico’s photography?

Bearing in mind that we are speaking about a photography legend, I dare to say that a kind of relationship could exist (with reverential fear). I mean, all I am fascinated about can be easily found in his artworks. The difference is the aptitude: while I walk dozens of kilometers taking dozens of shots, Basilico would probably reflect for a long time before choosing where and how to take his pictures. However, what we have in common is the deep interest in the city and in the architectural element once represented in its urban context. On the contrary, I’m not so prone to that kind of architecture photography where the single building is pictured from different points of view, as if it were a model.

Speaking about Basilico, do you identify yourself with the habit of the flâneur wandering around the city and getting lost among its urban architectures?  

The pleasure of being fascinated by the landscape that will take shape behind the next urban corner, it belongs to me totally. It generates in me an euphoric feeling, a kind of vertigo that makes me keep walking for hours, without looking at the clock.

Your pictures range from precise details of buildings and contemporary architectures, to large scale views and more identifiable landscapes. However they are all characterized by clean lines, order of composition and geometrical balance. How do you choose the urban corners you photograph? Do they have a precise meaning in your life?

They choose me, actually. For this reason, most of the times there is not a precise meaning or a precise relationship between me and them. Once I see the “composition” (that is already in front of us) I stop and stare, trying to catch it. Order and balance come firstly from my profession as a graphic, but also from art history: the discovery of perspective, Leon Battista Alberti, the Renaissance.

China is on the verge of a terrific growing and going there makes me live again all those atmospheres and contradictions that characterized our 60’s boom. I think that it could be easy to find something of the past Italy in my way of observing China.

Do you have a favorite time of the day to make your pictures?

During the day, definitely. I don’t have a favorite time, it depends mostly on the intentions and feelings I want to give to a picture or series.

Shanghai is the main protagonist of your series “Dust Never Sleeps”. Why did you choose this city? Which is your relationship with Shanghai and, generally speaking, with China?

I’m in love with China. All its urban spots have a great visual and emotional impact. As far as Shanghai is concerned, it is the city where I’ve been more and that I know better. China is on the verge of a terrific growing and going there makes me live again all those atmospheres and contradictions that characterized our 60’s boom. I think that it could be easy to find something of the past Italy in my way of observing China.

All the snapshots of Shanghai you have taken are fixed and suspended under a dusty grey sky. Geometries of the metropolitan city emerge rigid and impressive from a cocoon-like blurry atmosphere. Everything seems wrapped in a melancholic atmosphere. Is it done on purpose? 

What I did on purpose was the decision to eliminate human figures. Melancholy belongs to those places, but you should be able to identify it. In this precise occasion, melancholy belonged to the photographer portraying the city as well. If I was able to bring it to the observer’s eyes as well, it means that a kind of communication was activated.

It seems as if all shots of “Dust Never Sleeps” belong to one and only day. How long did you take to conclude this series?

It took me three days to conclude the series.

What’s the meaning of travel for you?

It is essential. I’m addicted to it.

Where would you like to live?

China, Korea, Japan, or wherever in Far East definitely.

Your next project.

I spent five weeks travelling and taking pictures in China, in the major cities of Inner Mongolia. It is a rich series made of black and white photographs, a kind of on the road project I am still working on. Title and concept are well defined already. I would like to make a book from it.

Your main flaw and quality.

I am easily distracted and my self-esteem is a little low sometimes. As far as qualities are concerned, I could say I have a cynical sense of humor.

Make a wish.

I would like to try and follow what makes me happy.

Livio Moiana is an Italian photographer investigating and describing human bodies through his pictures. People and emotions are the main focus of his art. He is specialized in black and white portraits where harmony, elegance and proportion emerge. In his most known series “Shapes (of freedom)” human bodies twist and mix one to the other in creative unusual shapes where emotions come to light. His artworks have been exhibited in Milan, London and Barcelona.

What is your first photographic memory?
I don’t have a special one, I try not to be projected to the past. It is part of my life, it belongs to me, and it comes back to me in a strong silent way through my pictures. However, I prefer future and things that I would like to do next.
Bearing that in mind, I can tell you a nice anecdote about my first shot: it was taken up in the Alps when I was about thirteen. She came to me staring at my eyes. I felt so insecure but I took my courage and looking at her I shot!
My first photo. The headshot of a cow.

Could you describe yourself with a book, a song and a movie?
It’s always hard for me to choose just one title, because I like so many different ones depending also on the moment and the mood.
I will say something  considering my present mood: a book, The Bible. A song, it’s really hard to say one. I adore listening more to the music/melody than to the lyrics. Only about the melody: Wrathchild, by Iron Maiden. A movie, The Warriors.

Which of your pictures would you choose to introduce yourself?
I would probably choose one of my really first “Shapes (of freedom)” images.

I can tell you a nice anecdote about my first shot: it was taken up in the Alps when I was about thirteen. She came to me staring at my eyes. I felt so insecure but I took my courage and looking at her I shot!

A famous person you would like to portray.

Papa Francesco.

A famous picture you would have liked to take.

Any of Salgado’s photos. His work is pure magic.

Human bodies are the main subjects of your artwork. How did you get close to this kind of pictures? Do you take inspiration from someone you would like to tell us about?

In 1993 I was living in Miami and while entering a store I saw some cards representing body photos of Herb Ritts. I fell deeply in love with his photography (also portraits) but it remained a pure “like” thing. Years later, while I was taking photos to a model I saw the shape of her belly between light and shadows. It was love at first sight with body shapes. It all really started in that moment and Ritts came back to my mind, as an epiphany. After few years I walked my way. I confess that I have never studied or followed famous photographers. I’m not really interested into them. Photography to me is a way to express what I have inside. I don’t take photos to please somebody. I do it just to feel good.
I try to improve myself every day but never imitating other photographers. I hate to be a copy of somebody. I want to be myself.

You seem to prefer black and white pictures to the coloured ones. Has black and white a precise meaning in your work, or is it just a stylistic choice?

I like black and white pictures for two main reasons. Firstly. it’s hardly to relate it to a precise period of life. Secondly, it leaves you free to fantasize, to live a photo without conditioning. We are used to living reality in colours. Black and white is a more personal intimate dimension.

In 1993 I was living in Miami and while entering a store I saw some cards representing body photos of Herb Ritts. I fell deeply in love with his photography (also portraits) but it remained a pure “like” thing. It was love at first sight with body shapes.

How do you select your models? Should they have any precise feature in order to be selected? Which element is essential for the realization of your artworks?

First of all I choose my models among all those who write to me because it’s necessary to love my photos to pose for them. If you love them you give 1000% while shooting. If you just do it for money you probably give 80-90%. Even if it is 100% it is far away from giving 1000%. Then, I choose people who can match with my ideas. They have to be flexible, patient and I have to like them as persons.
I can’t work with arrogant unprofessional or impolite people.

While shooting, which relationship do you built with the models? Do you mind to tell us a brief anecdote about it?

I love the atmosphere while making those photos. We really work like a team, making the maximum effort we can. We support and help each other. The concentration of everybody involved is totally on reaching the best result. There’s no space for any other thoughts. And I really love it! I love when at the end of the shooting everybody is tired (especially models) but happy because we have done a great job.
They are always ready to say to me, “Livio, if you want to do it again, I’m in!”
When I see people giving so much for my photos and going through pain for them (often they have muscles pain for some days after the shooting), it’s real happiness to me and I feel lucky.
I have a huge respect for the models who help me to create “Shapes (of freedom)” photos.
An anecdote I would like to tell you about is when a person after shooting these photos told me that she understood the beauty of a part of her body that she didn’t like until that day. She’s now feeling more comfortable with herself.
That episode made me melt. It really touched me.

Your pictures are characterized by harmony, elegance and order. What do you look for while making your pictures? Which aim would you like to obtain through a picture?

Usually I love a mix of strength, anger and sweetness, or just one of them.
I like to feel it as a punch. I’m not really fond of middle ways in photos. I love contrast which is not necessary a matter of light.

Moving now to your earliest series “Shapes (of freedom)”: naked bodies emerge from dark surfaces, they embrace each other in unusual assertive poses, and they transform into artistic compositions. They are human and strong “Shapes”, with no visage. Your geometric shapes require a good flexibility and a great amount of creativity. Where do you get your inspirations from? 
I take inspiration from my feelings firstly, but also from everything (or kind of) that catches my attention in life. I love to know as much as I can about everything in life. I love learning and this comes back into my photos.

Watching life with the eyes of a kid and by its curiosity is very helpful. The day I’ll stop being curious, I’ll probably quit taking photos.

An anecdote I would like to tell you about is when a person after shooting these photos told me that she understood the beauty of a part of her body that she didn’t like until that day. She’s now feeling more comfortable with herself.
That episode made me melt. It really touched me.

Your shapes emerge from emptiness, a dark void, a kind of ethereal and silent place.  This reminds us to a number of works made by Mapplethorpe. Do you agree?

I’ve been told by several people that my photos have something in common with Mapplethorpe. Despite he is not in my 100 top photographers list, I’m incredibly proud of it because he is still a myth and always he will be.

All your exposures are unusual and creative: despite being fixed in a picture, they seem to move and bodies seem to mold one into the other with continuity. They are naked bodies full of vital tension, but never vulgar nor provocative. How much does the model contribute to this final result? How much do you influence it? Does one of the two parties prevail over the other?

Models are so important for what they give and express, especially for the energy and the intensity they give in doing it. I have to lead the shooting because I have the final result in my mind. They cannot see themselves while posing. I think there’s a respectful balance between me and them. And I really like it.

How long does it take you to take a picture?

It can take from 10 minutes up to 20.

Light plays a major role in your portraits, it is an essential element of the final composition: it defines them, brushes them and engraves your shapes as they were sculptures. Which meaning do you think light carries out in your pictures?    

Light and shadows are like twin friends; they are part of the same team. They follow body lines like they were alive and could listen to what we are looking for.

Could you tell us something about the title of your series? What does the word “freedom” mean for you? Did you leave it in brackets for an artistic purpose?  How would you like it to be read?

Freedom is one of the most important sides of life. It’s easier to be happy when we are free because we can be who we really are. Unconditioned.
This word needs another meaning inside, a kind of subtitle: respect.

I never give titles to my photos because I want people to be totally free to live them.
In my photography freedom is my richness in creating art listening only to my feelings.
I love to create freely, cages free, without rules, careless of possible judgments. Just me, my feelings and the model/s.

Shapes (of freedom) is that. “Shapes” is what you see at first. “Freedom” is kept in brackets because I almost whisper it without disturbing.

Your next project.

Still have to decide. I’ll listen to some music and follow my feelings. What will punch my stomach, that will be my next project.

Your main flaw and quality.

Uhh… I’ve got many flaw. Laziness, just to mention one. As far as qualities are concerned, it’s not up to me to say if I have any.

Make a wish.

I would like my photos to be appreciated around the world.
I would like to find somebody  interested in publishing a book with them.

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