The moment of the shot is the great breath, the moment of suspension before something happens. It is in this suspended time that the sense of the portrait was born for me, in seizing that specific expression that opens the doors to the intimate and hidden specificity that every individual holds. When a customer turns to me, they are mainly looking for a photo they cannot have in everyday life. Usually they do not look for the effect of a fashion photo, but they want a part of themselves to be captured in an extraordinary way, and for a particularly pleasant or interesting side of them to be represented.
I am very fascinated by old portraits, from which I try to take the simplicity and immediacy. In the studio I work with few devices, usually a neutral light or dark background where only one flash is possible, as if it were a window. The use of the flash is important to me, as its use is an act of sincerity towards the person portrayed because it captures exactly the moment of the shot and can evolve with meaning… it highlights a moment of awareness. Outdoors I look for strong slices of light or full shadow; the light source cannot be controlled but it may be dominated. The sessions are simple. I am very mindful to create empathy with the people I photograph.
I eliminate distractions. It is after listening to what the person portrayed wants and expects that I work to break the ice in order to begin. I am present and interact with the person portrayed with discretion. The goal is to encourage a state of ease that allows an inner search, regardless of whether it then produces irony, beauty, strength, sadness or intensity which restores naturalness.
PORTRAIT, AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE
Having one’s portrait taken is an authentic and real experience. The preparation, choosing the outfit, not knowing what and how it will happen… The final photos are the product but what matters is the process, the lived experience, having carved out time for oneself, a bit like taking a day off and doing something pleasant for oneself. The experience will be fixed in one’s memory and in a tangible object: a photograph. It is always nice to see a clumsy and shy person arrive, ask where they must look, where they should place their hands, and then observe their transformation; it’s a real performance. In that moment we go on stage together and we are actors without playing roles; we are ourselves.
I think it is almost a duty to have one’s portrait taken every now and then, to take the time to build a story of images that over time will describe us and remind us of how we were.