Home Contemporary Photography Adriana Lestido: Photographs Of The Invisible

Adriana Lestido: Photographs Of The Invisible

“I do not photograph what I see, because I already saw it. What I want to see is what my eyes can’t see. I photograph what I feel but I cannot see.”

Adriana Lestido (born in 1955 in Buenos Aires) is a contemporary documentary photographer. Her black and white images go deep beneath the skin. Among Adriana Lestido’s favorite subjects are women, love and lonliness.


This is a very interesting interview with one of Argentina’s most prestigious contemporary photographers called Adriana Lestido.

For those who speak Spanish, I highly recommend watching the video in which Adriana Lestido talks with Juan Travnik, also photographer from Argentina. In addition to that there’s a print interview available online, which accompanies beautifully what Adriana Lestido reveals in the interview about her vision of photography and the way she works.

Adriana Lestido says that “the past” and “love” are two fundamental themes in her work.

Her photographs are an echo of things that have happened to her in the past. And more than facts it’s feelings which at some point manifest themselves in images. Adriana Lestido says:

“I do not photograph what I see, because I already saw it. What I want to see is what my eyes can’t see. I photograph what I feel but I cannot see.”

Adriana Lestido is characterized by a very humble attitude about her work as an artist. At some point she compares that relationship to one between a “master” and his “servant”.

According to her, the work is beyond the artist reach and influence.

It comes upon the artist who then helps to manifest thoughts and concepts through his talent and vision.

The theme of love is present in almost all of Adriana Lestido’s images. Especially love between mother and daughter is central to her work.

But Lestido is also a woman with a great social commitment. Her work is guided and influenced by her compassion and love for people.

Regarding her way of taking pictures and going about a certain photographic project, Lestido says that for her inner peace is extremely important.

Lestido says that today there are too many images that surround us. To her less is more. She takes her time to take her pictures. When she leaves the house, she doesn’t always carry her camera. Given the large amount of visual stimuli, Lestido first stops to empty her mind. From this position of clarity she the reconnects to the world and the things she wants to take pictures of.

For many creative people it’s the other way around. They sit down at their desk and stare at an empty sheet of paper. For Lestido the sheet is always already filled with things that she needs to erase before she can start to work.

Looking at Lestido’s images, one can see very well how she works. One realizes that they were taken with a clear mind. The pictures are very well thought through, every object in the frame is there because it contributes something to the message of the image. Lestido’s images are characterized by great serenity and clear structures. They are simple, yet powerful.

Adriana Lestido wants to get to the core of things with her photography. She constantly asks herself:

  • Do I get to the heart with what I’m doing?
  • Are the things I’m doing changing me?
  • Could I live without what I’m doing?
  • How does my work affect others and can they really feel my images?

It becomes clear that Lestido does’t get involved in projects just to do something. He says it’s healthy to restrain and stop to wait for the right time to come to take pictures. For her, being in a creative state does not mean taking pictures all the time. Being creative means much more than that. It’s a long process until the images are finally “born” on photographic paper.

Lestido wants to go underneath the surface of things

Lestido confesses that she may spend a long time without taking any pictures, just looking, until she feels the impulse to grab her camera.

With her work and her images, Lestido wants to go underneath the surface of things – as close as possible to the core of things. Sometimes, she confesses, she is afraid to do so, to go that far out of fear for the unknown, the things she might discover. But she can’t help it. Digging deep down beneath the surface is an essential part of her work.

Adriana Lestido wants to communicate something with her pictures, she wants to convey feelings, she wants to move other people.

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