Interview with photographer, Stefania Talini

Annalisa Rossi
October 2, 2014

Stefania Talini's photography appears to us as a powerful instrument able to both reveal and interpret life.  It’s almost too obvious to mention Antonioni’s famous series “Blow Up,” and the parallel worlds that intertwine dramatically in the lens of the photographer. Similarly, in RESONANCES, we see an interpretation of reality that comes solely through the eye of the camera; and it is the camera that speaks of our duplicitous and ambiguous nature which oscillates back and forth, like a pendulum, between the imaginary and the real. 


1. How did you come up with the idea for Resonances?


TALINI: The series Resonances came from a very personal experience that happened at a pivotal moment in my life: the death of my mother.  We know that our existence is made up of periods of “more” and of “less,” of fulfillment and emptiness, of acquisitions and losses, of a relentless oscillation from one paradox to another. It’s a cycle from which we can’t escape, even though we all try to protect ourselves as much as possible.


I armed myself with a camera, my instrument of choice for curbing the full impact of pain and suffering.


After my mother’s death, I began to empty my family’s apartment, where we had lived for many years; meanwhile, I also started to take pictures of the furnishings, the interior, the books, old games, and children’s toys.  Through the lens of my camera I began to investigate my past, the past of my mother and that of my family.


To me, every shot conjured up memories. Choosing the objects, the lighting, the framing – all of these things corresponded to my need to review my entire life, to analyze it, to put it in order like books on a shelf.


2. So photography was a sort of existential therapy for you - the freeze-frame of a life running by inexorably.  Essentially, photography allowed you to enter into a world beyond.


T: In each shot I wanted to keep some element that gave a sense of the three-dimensionality of the place – a nail, a crack in the wall, a shadow – so that the end result was a work of minimalism, ambiguous enough to be an almost abstract design, yet still retaining the essential characteristics of light, texture, and depth required of photography.

Surprisingly, these traces were revealed (or better, unveiled themselves) to the naked eye largely through the photographic process.  Signs so delicate and subtle that I didn’t even notice them at the time of the shooting have emerged in post-production, like ectoplasms that challenge two-dimensionality, time, and life. 


3. You mean to say that photography has revelatory powers, on the one hand hiding certain elements in order to, on the other hand, reveal others?


T: Yes, I’m sure of it.  The medium of photography spoke to me more than I thought it would, once again revealing the invisible.  It was almost as if the camera lens could see things with its own eyes, independent of mine, and it showed me that even though things were absent or missing, in truth they were still there, in a new form.  And I was able to see this in its profoundest essence.


English translation by Lauren Johnson

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