The never-ending project
My name is Alessandra. I was born in Sicily, Italy, and moved to Denmark with my family when I was 9 years old. I am currently living in the suburbs of Århus, with my two children.
As long as I remember, I have been fascinated by photography. When I still lived in Italy, I used to play a game with my sisters and cousins, where we acted as models and photographers by turns. It continued for a number of years, so every time we visited my family in Italy, we actually bought black and white films, shooted a lot of photos and then got them developed. It was so much fun.
My very first camera was a gift from my classmates from elementary school in Denmark. Looking back, it probably wasn’t anything special, but none the less, I had my own camera. That was cool.
Later I saved up some money and bought a JVC Camcorder. I had much fun with that, but it didn’t really replace my interest in photography.
When I was about 15, I was so lucky that the local youth club offered introduction classes to the darkroom. I simply loved that, and still do. There can easily be years between I get my feet into a dark room, so I tend to forget the details of the process. But there is something magical about it, and I know that I will return sooner or later.
My interest in analogue photography sure influenced my way of observing through the camera. For a long, long time, the imperfection was equal to perfection. And when I moved further to digital photography, it remained like that. At that time, I didn’t want to retouch too much. But also I loved grains and contrasts in different ways, and of course, today I allow myself some freedom in terms of editing.
At a point, I wanted to be more serious about photography. I actually wanted to be a photographer. A real one, with a paper that says that you are a photographer. For a short period, I went to photography school specialized in commercial photo. Even if I quit the studies, from time to time, the idea of having an education in photography, appears on my to-do list.
While I went to school, I used a Canon 5D MkII (full-frame). Pretty big and even heavier. I wanted to try something smaller, something that I could carry with me everywhere, and something that could take me a step back into the analogue world. But I didn’t want to downgrade in terms of quality.
I was then introduced to Fujifilm and was blown away immediately. I bought my first Fuji in 2016. An X-T1 with the 18-55mm f/2,8-4. I found it smart, intuitive and most important: I could have it with me everywhere, which means that I started to photograph more. Later I have expanded with X100F, and recently the X-Pro3 with 23mm f/2.
I should mention that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily like to attract attention. I have always felt that people stared at me as soon as I had a camera in my hands. I still think a lot about it actually, but surely Fujifilm has helped me to blend in with the surroundings.
I feel more comfortable, especially with my X100F, that I like to define as my desert island camera. This is exactly what I needed, to go into street photography – It would never have been possible for me otherwise.
One thing I have learned from Fuji is that shooting Jpeg actually can be good. I’m thinking of a specific episode, where I was on a trip to Northern Jutland. Of course, I had my X100F with me, and shot some pictures that I knew I would be very pleased with – that is until I discovered that, by mistake, I was shooting JPEGs. When I wanted to look closer at this disaster, I discovered to my great astonishment, that the files were quite nice, and all in all, it was possible to process the images as usual.
My heart beats for documentary photography. To move around silently, and just catch those moments that otherwise will disappear. In reality, I think that every genre has its own charm. But for me, people and life is the key.
My way of framing a scene has changed through time, and I’m sure it will continue that way. The same goes for editing. I don’t have any strict rules, but I sure have some preferences, and my own favourite presets, I tend to use.
A few steps in the process could be:
Import and sort – As you could read as above, I prefer to shoot Raw. Afterwards, I will import the files to Lightroom, view them all and rate them with stars. By doing this, I can focus on my favourite images.
Adjustments – Check if exposure is okay. Normally I like a darker photo better than a bright one, and an appropriate amount of contrast and grain. Maybe I will use the dodge and burn tool to lighten or darken areas, or even the colour grading tool to add the image a certain mood.
Presets – Based on my regular used adjustments, I have created some presets. That’s very useful and saves me a lot of time.
Straighten & Crop – I prefer to compose in-camera, but it happens to be necessary to crop an image. That would the last step before straightening lines and fix perspective.
Save/Export – Usually Jpeg
About two years ago, I started with a self-portrait project. It was a period where I felt stuck in the same routines and needed to do something different. I wanted it to be simple but aesthetic, real and surreal at the same time.
All of my portraits are created at home, some of them in my living room and some of them in my bedroom, where the light is quite nice in specific hours of the day. I love to use natural light, so for most of my portraits that is the only kind of light source, while for some of them, I have used studio light.
It might seem like there is a far artistic distance from street photography to self-portraits, but in my case, it’s a question about being present in the picture but at the same time hidden. In the streets, I am a voyeur and try to blend in, while in the self-portraits, I am a character. The attention is drawn to the subject and not the fact that it’s me in the picture.
My life with photography is a continuous journey through different areas of the art. I often return to familiar places, hence the darkroom. I walk through spaces filled with portraits and strangers in the street, but there always seems to be room for another capture. It seems to be a never-ending project.
“My name is Alessandra, 34 years old. Born in Italy, living in Denmark. I’m a photographer by passion.”
May 2, 2021 @ 11:23 am
Congratulations for your work, street and home locations.
Though I have not your talent, I also like street photography and did some attempts at home with a small kit also.
I like your shots and atmostphere. Also, your self portrait project is really done with success and feels natural.
Which backdrops did you use for them?