LUXLIT WEEKLY FEATURED ARTIST
The splendour of the landscape. The splendour of colour. The photography of Elena Morelli (http://blog.avisiblesignofmyown.com/) shows us a lush world of captivating beauty. Her photography does not turn to places of special magnificence as large-scale spectacles, but instead turns to “ordinary” landscapes that activate a renewal in the way we look at them. As Susan Sontag said, photographing something is to give it importance, and in this sense the photography of Elena gives relevance to places which, up to then, had none. She exhibits excellent composition—together with a great technique with a recurrent use of roads, highways or boardwalks—that leads our eyes to an infinity which we cannot see but invites us to imagine. Her images portray a new look with great evocative strength, and as Gabriele Basilico once said, and is applicable to her work, “…it makes visible, deepening in the reality and the imagination, something that normally is not seen”. Finally, it is necessary to highlight the exceptional colour of her photographs, of an exquisite naturalness, without processing excesses, with a range and palette of shades of great delicacy, that reinforce the final effect of her photographs. If you want to enjoy this walk through an intimate but lush nature we recommend you visit her blog: (http://blog.avisiblesignofmyown.com/).
I was born in Lucca, and I grew up in the countryside near Viareggio, in the northern part of Tuscany. At college, I’ve studied Philosophy and then Social Sciences. Some years ago I moved to Bologna, where I’ve lived with my boyfriend and my beloved cat, Luna, in a little attic in the city center, full of books records and colors; then the three of us have moved back to Tuscany, and now we periodically travel between our two homes.
I’ve been a concert photographer for a few years, and my pictures have been published on magazines and websites from all over the world (Rolling Stone, NME, Uncut, Mojo, Pitchfork, Stereogum, just to name the most widely known); at this moment I’ve taken a pause, trying to understand what I really want to do with my life.
1.- QUESTION: What subjects do you like to shoot?.
Elena Morelli response: In general, I love taking pictures of anything that moves me, that makes me think, that fascinates me; and that’s quite a lot of things. Nature; fog/mist; waterscapes; paths and roads; my cat, and other cats, and other animals; the sky, and the clouds; leaves and grass and flowers and weeds – just to name a few. I try and portray a kind-of-dreamy/almost-desert world, with the slightest human presence, and I guess this says something about myself: I’m mostly a shy, private person, that finds joy into long walks surrounded by nature, in sitting silent by the sea, in looking at the stars. Of course, there’s much more of me than that, but I think my contemplative part is the one that’s been influencing my photography the most – at least lately. This said, I’d also like to start taking pictures of people again, and I also love shapes and geometries and symmetries, (not only) in architectures.
2 .- Q: Color or B/W and why?
R: Both. I adore black and white: it’s so elegant and evocative, it has such a cinematic strenght, and it can make a photo so intense and magical. But I also love colour, its energy and liveliness, its softness… I love colour a lot. I often can’t resist it. Here I am, editing a picture, thinking ‘Oh, I’d like this in B/W’, and then looking at its colours, really looking at them - feeling them – and finding myself unable to put them away. Colour can be so poetic, because it’s the way nature expresses herself, communicates with us; but it’s also tricky, because it’s way too easy to turn it into something fake, plastic, insincere.
3.- Q: Your inspiration is?
R: The people I love, and the music I love; dreams and hopes and emotions; and mostly beauty, in every possible meaning and disguise: what makes me smile in awe, what fills me with melancholy, what hurts me. But sometimes, none of this. Sometimes I just feel an urge to grab my camera(s), go out and shoot: it’s like a deep need that I cannot fight – nor I would want to. So, I do go out and start exploring: places I’ve never been to, or old, familiar places that I try to look at with new eyes.
4.- Q: Tell us a little bit about your creative process.
R: Every time I can, I take my backpack with me and go out. Sometimes I know exactly where I want to go and what I want to shoot; sometimes I just wander, filling my eyes and my heart with what I see, trying to feel it, letting it inspire me.
5.- Q: What gear do you use, and what´s your preferred equipment?
R: I have a Canon 5d Mark II with various lenses (16-35mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.2, 50mm macro f/2.5, 85mm f/1.2, 70-200mm f/2.8, 15mm fisheye f/2.8), a Hasselblad 500c/m 80mm ct*, a Rolleiflex 2.8f, a Leica M2 with three lenses (35mm f/2, 50mm f/3.5, 90mm f/4), a Polaroid Land Camera 250, a Fuji Instax wide. I don’t think I really have a preferred equipment – what I decide to use depends on the single shooting session’s requirements, or what I suppose they should be. Anyway, I adore my 85mm f/1.2 lens, and there are not much things I can think of being more enjoyable that taking pictures with a Hasselblad (oh!, that shutter sound. I love it.)
6.- Q: How do you develop your photos (digital/ film/software used)?
R: As far as the digital is concerned, I practically only use Lightroom and very rarely Photoshop. Unfortunately, I still haven’t learned how to develop my films myself: for logistic reasons (I’ve yet to find the right place in my house in which to build a darkroom) and also because I’m afraid of making some mess, thus spoiling the negatives. I’ve recently started to salvage the Polaroid instant film negatives; it’s something I enjoy doing, and also way less complicated than some keep saying. Therefore, I think it’s just a matter of time before I start developing my films all by myself. I’m looking forward to it!
7.- Q: What would you like to transmit with your photos?
R: A sense of wonder, a sense of nostalgia. The feelings I feel while I look at the world behind my cameras’ lenses. And maybe a little bit of happiness too: the thought of how beautiful the world is can be so overwhelming and comforting, and it’s just like everything makes sense - at least for a few seconds.
8.- Q: Tell us a anecdote or a “secret” regarding your photos.
R: One of my first days at college, during a Philosophy of Language lesson, the professor talked about the difference between what he called ‘the philosophic man’ and ‘the religious man’. He said that the philosophic man puts himself outside the world, distances himself from it, trying to really see it and understand it; while the religious man doesn’t care about understanding or analyzing it, he only wants to feel it, embrace it. It struck me, because one of the things I didn’t like about myself was my overthinking and overanalyzing everything, with the result of sometimes feeling detached and emotionally paralized. Some time ago that lesson came back to my mind, and I realized how important photography is to me, and why: it takes the philosophical girl inside me by the hand, and helps her feel the world, embrace it, and at the same time really see it and understand it.
Many thanks Elena for your collaboration and wonderful work that we enjoy in your blog.
Elena Morelli PHOTO SELECTION FEATURED in our SUPPLEMENTAL POST find it here…
Lux Lit Featured Artists Team.