“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. […]”

Getting closer to Debora Barnaba

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.

love it, share it!

Never miss an update from Phinest!

Never miss an update from Phinest

Join our exclusive community

We care about your privacy and we hate spam as much as you do.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×