The photograph has this power… of looking me straight in the eye.
Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (1980)
The person writing this is Camilla of Zelda was a writer, with my last stage of a journey through photography.
Justine Romano of Le Funky Mamas,Canio Salandra aka The Sputnik Guy, Riccardo Casiraghi and Stefano Paleari of Gnam Box, Laura Anzani and Clelia Bos have kept me company throughout all of my four posts and I think the time has come for me to thank them from the bottom of my heart!
We have talked about getting close to the subject of your photograph, of giving due respect to the context, of the story carried in every picture; today, to finish up, we will focus on the explosive power of certain images, of their enormous capacity to arouse emotion.
How can you produce such an image? Where do you look for emotion? Is the emotion for everyone or a private thing?
I am getting older and I tell this story everywhere I go, so please forgive me if you’ve already read it somewhere else and trust me: here, it really fits the bill.
So, I had an art teacher at middle school who let me fill page after page, urging me to experiment continuously and causing me to spend long evenings worrying about not managing to finish her endless pieces of work. Although she is still a great source of inspiration to me, when I remember her tellings-off, I suffer just as badly as I did when I experienced them all those years ago. OK, I’m rambling.
One day, this teacher taught me that, for certain things, such as for shades of colour, for example, all you need to do is half-close your eyes and let the feeling of vagueness that this vision causes filter through.
So blurriness – is it the same as Leopardi’s hedge? – an indefinite mix of melancholy, of tactile feeling, of a thousand flutterings, has to show the hand which way to go.
Don’t go mad trying to describe the emotion, don’t look for it under a microscope, don’t expect it to greet you when you walk through the door.
Just be observant, alert, keep your ears open. This is the only piece of advice I feel I can give you and, for the rest, go with the flow that meeting others can create for you and always be ready for that totally unplanned shot, for a here-and-now image of irreproducible beauty.
A lot is said about emotions in this period of great social gloom. There is a strenuous search for lists of attempts to recreate them in negative situations. We are not solitary, tiny shrimp in a spherical microcosm, we are continuously searching and moving beings. Make sure that your search for emotion stems from that which you discover, from that which amazes and informs you. Do it, try it and then share it as much as you can, absorb it all like a sponge and, above all, never be afraid to be generous. In your photos and, why not, in life too.
I apologise for this guru-style Sunday gloss and thank you so much for your patience!
If you want to share any of your illuminations on photography, come and find me within the tight weaving of virtuality and I’ll be more than happy to hear from you!
Zelda was a writer