Roberto Segate has been image-making images in one form or another for years and began with traditional black and white photography when he was a kid but when he found that he was unable to create the visions in his mind using darkroom techniques he needed to think of something else.
“Luckily for me, digital photography was breaking through and that opened up possibilities which, ultimately, allowed me to reach a point where I can create pretty much anything. And although the years of formal photography education have not contributed monetarily (my job is far removed from art!), they did help change my way of thinking and steer me toward deeper, less obvious conclusions.”
He mainly creates dark art. Some say creepy and disturbing. One thing’s for sure, the majority of his work is not exactly what you’d call pretty! “Someone once said that I take beautiful models and make them look like crap! That’s not strictly true. It is true that I’ve worked with many beautiful models, and that I have ‘changed their appearances’ to help create the type of image I’m looking for. They don’t look like crap by any means! In fact, my images convey a thought-provoking sombre beauty.”
His work is usually dark and somewhat depressing. He creates otherworldly images enhanced by troubled and lost figures, in hopeless environments. “I’ll usually spend a lot of time creating the final image and make extensive use of found materials & textures etc.”
“I was a strange kid, you know, I was that stereotyped quiet kid at school hanging around by himself with few friends, with odd interests. My Dad gave me a book called ‘The Children’s Friend’ and I was drawn to its illustrations. One was of two kids at the seaside – the title was “do look at this strange thing I have found”. Although one kid was holding up a starfish I would image something entirely different; weirder and darker, making up my narrative to these charming nineteenth-century vignettes. Anyway, I suppose red flags could be seen even back then :)”
“I was always into books; old books. Another my Dad bought (for himself) and which I got hold of sometime in my teens was ‘The Misfortunes of Virtue’ (I think it’s also called ‘Justine’) by Marquis de Sade. Needless to say, this book REALLY opened my eyes and no doubt influenced my outlook to create images. “
“Paintings have also steered me throughout the years, most notably I think would be artists like Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco Goya because of their dark allegories. Interestingly photography, or at least, dark photography didn’t register until I started a degree course. My Dad taught me how to take photographs and print them in a darkroom, but it wasn’t until I began learning more about *how* I could use photography to tell stories that I discovered that I could channel my thoughts through this medium. “
“I was very interested in early forms of photography, particularly work by the pictorialists; artists like Alfred Stieglitz, Irma Haselberger and Robert Demachy. Their work felt otherworldly to me; in many cases, the images are soft and grainy, timeless and indistinct leaving more to the imagination. I was fascinated by the notion that camera and film technology was continuously being improved; the images sharper, more defined while I always wanted the opposite. This, even more so with digital technology where everything is perfect. The whole ethos behind my work is imperfection and vagueness. “
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