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Please describe your project in one o two sentences – what is the main aim and the main idea of it?
I am interested in understanding the intricate psyche of humans. I use the language of dance and photography to build bridges between people of different cultures and languages. The project is as much photography as it is about the human interactions and connections that needs to happen to make the images possible.
Have you been to Italy before? Is there any difference between the image of Italy that you had and your real experience?
It was my first time visiting Italy. I always heard that people are friendly and passionate in everything they do. But when I took the time to connect with locals the experience was beyond anything I ever expected. From the passion of the cheese vendor to the hospitality of the people. For example, on a photo shoot in Naples, all the neighbours welcomed us with food, sweets, coffee and wine. They opened their doors to help us and at the end of the shoot it felt like we were old time friends. Even my husband participated in a family dinner while we were shooting!
Naples. Dancer: Andrea Giada Pallara
What was the specifics of locations of Rome and locations of Naples for you?
The cities I visited are full of unique characteristics coming from their history and their people which I enjoyed very much. Scouting the locations was an eye opening experience where I realized how the presence of tourists and the footprints of humans could change the perception of a place. In some cases like Naples I decided to shoot on hidden streets because they still held a unique atmosphere even thought were not major sites. In Rome we decided to shoot very early in the morning to avoid the crowds and literally we were able to experience the scenery waking up with a gorgeous golden sunrise that gave me the feeling of the place I envisioned in my mind. In Milan we did the opposite and included the people that gather at some of the busiest fashion centers on the world, The Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery and the Piazza del Duomo.
Rome. Dancer: Andrea Giada Pallara
One thing about each of the cities that will always last in your memories.
In Rome the monuments and fountains remind me of our civilization and I see them as an example of perseverance.
In Florence I found the realism and gesture of the sculptures powerful and inspiring.
In Milan I found a crowded city that yet feels individualist.
From Napoli I will keep in my heart the warm personality of the people, and of course I will remember it as the place where I tried the best pizza and cannolis of my life.
Did Italian spirit influence the style of your work in any way?
The spontaneous, passioned and happy spirit of the people in Italy,specially in Napoli, definitely influenced my images. In fact, during my shoot in Napoli I decided to include a male dancer that was walking by the location. He was a dancer from the same dance company as our ballerina on the shoot. Because of the good energy they projected together, we ended up with some of my favourite images.
Rome. Dancer: Paolo Spalice
Dance photo shooting in Italy: is it different from how it works in the United States?
Coordinate the shoots in Italy has been more challenging than in the USA because of the language barrier and the lack of knowledge about permits and locations. The help of local videographer and producer Antonio Azzurro and Anna Pavlova Association has been key on the success of the project specially because of our limited time.
In the US I usually coordinate the shoots myself with my team and the help of friends from the dance field.
Italian models and collaborators…. The time that you spent together, was it enough to understand their personalities?
For this project it is important for me to explore human relationships, in that sense in the US as well as in any other country, I prefer not to interact with the dancer before we work together on the shoot, a side of a short introduction in person or by phone. My purpose is to get to know them through the language of dance which informs me about their sensibility. At the same time I use the spontaneous artistic interactions that occur on the shoot as a bridge to connect us and make possible to create together.
In Italy I was concerned about the language barrier which in the beginning we tried to resolve with the help of our Italian partner, producer Antonio Azzurro, who translated some of my thinking and ideas to the dancers. However, shortly we realized we didn’t need to be too specific and I felt confident to continue the shoots without translations.
I felt that in that way I was being true to the purpose of my work on the search for the connections among humans not just to create images but to experience the fact that we were communicating mainly with the language of art.
Milan. Dancer: Ester Carminati
Rome. Dancer: Stefania Romano