“I like to say photography is like a boyfriend that never lets me down – with all the downsides of being forever committed to something.”
Arianna Sanesi (born in 1976) is a contemporary photographer from Italy based between Paris and Milan. She holds a Master’s Degree in “History of Photography” that she got at “University of Bologna”. Then she studied at “CFP Bauer”, Milan, and recently attended the international semester at the “Danish School of Media and Journalism” in Aarhus, Denmark. For Arianna Sanesi photography is a love affair, challenging and rewarding at the same time.
“I’m bored to death by the debate over photography being art or not. Photography is photography and that’s already so much and so difficult, why adding useless stuff?”
“Artist Profile” – Arianna Sanesi
Arianna, why did you become a photographer? And what does photography mean to you?
You know, I keep wondering why and still haven’t a satisfactory answer, besides the fact I am in love with it. I was a good student and everybody kept telling me how a good student I was, I felt like I was “trapped in cleverness”. I suppose I wanted to challenge myself with something that really didn’t come easy at all, some contorted way of trying myself. What is it then? Sticking to the love’s metaphor, I like to say it’s like a boyfriend that never lets me down (with all the downsides of being forever committed to something).
How would you describe your photographic language and creative process? How do you plan and execute a project? Both technically and conceptually?
I am not sure I have a defined language yet, I am still navigating through possibilities, but for sure I am mostly interested in storytelling, and the stories I am interested in always end up revolving around restlessness, freedom, intimacy and loss (this is at least what I see but I am more than happy to leave them open to interpretation).
I am a kind of antenna always looking for inspiration, ideas, things that hit my need of telling stories and they can come from literally anywhere. I wander (literally, I walk for hours) a lot and try to be as open as possible. Then I have big trouble at focusing, so I started to keep a notebook for any project I seriously want to pursue, to push myself in that direction.
Which photographer has inspired you most?
Super difficult question. Being an assistant for Ferdinando Scianna has for sure enriched me enormously, I can’t really name all the visual (and not-visual) culture I breathed through him. Jodi Bieber at ISSP showed me the way, if I may use this epic phrase. Then the semester I attended at the Danish school of Journalism kind of changed my life: there I had the best teachers ever, and there I found inspiration or, to be precise, there I’d been taught how to work on it.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote about photography?
Can I pick two?
“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”
Robert Frank (1951)
And the ultra-famous
“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”
Diane Arbus (1971)
What kind of camera and equipment do you use?
Many! A Canon 5d markII, a Pentax 6×7 and a Mju 1. Borrowed cameras. Whatever helps.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
I browse many and I won’t name them all, I really like what Fototazo does with photography and for photography.
What book about photography would you recommend?
I keep “In The Shadow Of Things” by Leonie Hampton by my couch. I often sit down and look at it. There is everything I need to keep going: the way it is photographed and assembled, a frank look at family and intimacy, and many, many questions.
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
Be curious. Don’t think it’s easy.