“For me, photography is solitude and socialization, aesthetics and spirituality, eternity and vanity at the same time. It is a search for oneself and all that surrounds us. I like to call art ‘materialization of the soul and transcendence of reality’ and photography ‘Poetry of Light’. This is the essence of what I want to convey with my images.”
Eleonora Gadducci (born in 1989) is a young emerging photographer currently based in Pisa (Italy). When it comes to photography, Eleonora Gadducci self-taught. In addition to her work as a freelance photographer, Eleonora Gadducci has written several articles about photography, published in some international online magazines for which she has also released various interviews.
“I love photography since my childhood, it is part of my life. My work is based on the perception of what’s around me in the real, but also of what is part of the world surreal and dreamlike, parallel to daily life; my art is therefore a journey that begins in my most intimate perceptions, for mingle, then, with the colors and forms of reality and find representation through a ‘magic tool’ the camera.”
Interview with Eleonora Gadducci
Eleonora, what was your most memorable moment shooting pictures?
There are not any particular times in my photographic journey, that I can define as memorable, if not the first approaches to the camera, in my childhood. But I do feel that the most memorable moment in shooting photographs is not the moment when I have the camera in my hands and am preparing to take the shot, but the moment before. When I think and I create the idea of the image that I want to achieve.
Why did you become a photographer?
I became a photographer to be able to express what is inside of me, my inner world and its relationship with reality. As I said in the brief initial description, my work is a complex web of emotions and perceptions in which the senses are the main protagonists. I chose to be a photographer in order to make other people become a part of this ‘kingdom of light and shadow’.
What does photography mean to you and what do you want to say with your pictures?
For me, photography is solitude and socialization, aesthetics and spirituality, eternity and vanity at the same time, it is a search for oneself and all that surrounds us. I like to call art ‘Materialization of the Soul and Transcendence of Reality’ and photography ‘Poetry of Light’. This is the essence of what I want to convey with my images. The magic and the mysticism that are part of my soul and that I can only express with photography, even though I devote myself to other art forms as well such as music, poetry and painting.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
There are many photographers that inspire me, but particularly I love Ansel Adams for the invention of the ‘zone system’ (which inspired me especially at the beginning of my career as a photographer) and the wonderful use of the technique of black and white even in subjects where color is basic. I also like the work of Cecil Beaton, with its beautiful ‘portraits vintage’ and Man Ray for his genius, the use of solarization and Rayografia which allowed him to creat, in my opinion, ‘photographic sculptures’.
“Some of the most complete and satisfying works of art have been produced when their authors had no idea of creating a work of art, but were concerned with the expression of an idea.”
What’s your favorite photography quote?
For the ‘sense of eternity’ that has always inspired my approach of photography, I love an aphorism of Andy Warhol:
“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.”
I believe that nothing is more true than this.
How would you describe your photographic voice and creative process?
My works are born in my mind, are fragments of me, of my soul and of my thoughts. And that’s where they develop, through ideas and inspirations. Then when the result I want to achieve is well-defined I try to recreate, the most closely as possible, what I want to express. I then proceed to the shoot, after which I decide whether to process the photos with photo editing programs. I mostly use Gimp, the free open source. Masks, layers, mergers etc. When I want to instead get a shot more real and natural, I leave it as is, or only correct the contrast and brightness. The essential things without transforming too much the final result.
What’s important in order to develop an own photographic language?
In my opinion in order to develop an own photographic voice, creativity, imagination and a good dose of self-esteem are the essential ingredients. It is important to believe in what you are doing and what you want to get trying to make the most of one’s own ideas and own means. In other words: ‘Be yourself’.
What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually?
As I said before, at the base of my conceptual work there are perceptions, inspirations, the ‘spiritual’ side of my soul. Technically I can work well, both with the use of artificial light, than with that of the natural light, however, preferring the second. I love both nature photography, the portrait and self-portrait technique with which I have made several works. When I work on portraits and I have before me a model, I love to use the foreground or the ‘American plan’, these two types of framing often help me to better express my ideas. I love natural colors but alive. I very much appreciate the tones of sepia and also the technique of black and white.
What qualities and characteristics does a good photographer need?
In my opinion a good photographer must be creative, like any artist, and must be able to transpose the messages of everyday life and translate them into art, avoiding to close own thoughts in an ideal academic, working always with seriousness. Creativity, sensibility, commitment and self-criticism are the most important features.
What does a photo need to be a great photo in your eyes? Especially keeping in mind the over abundance of photographic imagery in today’s society.
For a shot to be excellent, it must focus on the message that comes with it and that it wants to express. It must not be trivial or vulgar, but whimsical, intelligent and intuitive. Of course I believe that even the basic rules of photography are basic for a good shot. At a time when photography is perceived as a mass phenomenon and therefore loses its precious value of art, which it had previously conquered arduously, in the ‘fight’ between painting and photography.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your photographic projects?
For my projects I am inspired mainly by the literary and pictorial works of the Victorian era and romantics, from all that is vintage and smells like old books, papers and antique perfumes. But also by music, by daily life, and by the magical and surreal side of life and nature that surrounds us.
What kind of photography equipment and photographic supplies do you use?
My works are made with a Nikon L110, a compact hybrid. I have a tripod that I only use when needed. I also have a Yashica Reflex 80s still working, and a Nikon Coolpix L21 with which I realized some of my early works, present on the web. Also, I have several analog cameras dating back to my childhood and which I am very fond of.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
My favorite website on photography is “Seven by Five”. It’s an online photographic magazine with a wide range of articles, which offers a good and comprehensive overview on contemporary photography. Also, this site gives the opportunity for emerging artists to get in the game, allowing them to publish some of their works, in a “Photo Profile” or to write articles on photography. Something that even I have done recently, with a text on the technique of photography in black and white.
What photography book would you recommend?
There are many photography books that I can recommend to the public. I’ll just advise a few of my favorite ones:
“An Aperture Monograph” by Diana Arbus. An interesting monograph of the artist.
“Photography as Art” by Man Ray. A beautiful collection of works by the famous artist.
“Dreaming In Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll”: It’s a ‘curious’ collection of writings by one of the pioneers of photographic art, and the author of “Alice in Wonderland”, which in addition to being a photographic essay is a journey into the inner life of the artist.
And for those who are interested in a vision of modern photography and digital advice “Digital Photography” by Steve Luck is a simple and explanatory manual which explores the various techniques of digital photography. The tools, the basic rules, up to photo editing.
“There are an awful lot of people in the world and it’s going to be terribly hard to photograph all of them. It was my teacher Lisette Model who finally made it clear to me that the more specific you are, the more general it will be.”
Which advice would you give someone who wants to become a (professional) photographer?
To those who want to become a professional photographer I would give the simple advice to have well-defined ideas and be themselves. It is important to understand what you want to express, inspire and be inspired, without copying anyone, but with awareness at the same time of one’s own limits, focusing not on quantity but on the quality of the shots. My advice: “Seek your ideas in the well of your imagination, and see how many wonderful things can be born from the union of imagination and photographic art.”
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