Nicoletta Cerasomma is a fine art photographer from Italy. She is inspired by the dichotomy of Beauty and Decay, themes that she loves to incorporate into her works in order to evoke contemplation and debate on the human condition, through vivid and provocative still imagery and a cinematic technique.
Nicoletta Cerasomma, please introduce yourself
I am a fine art photographer based in Lucca, Italy, with a background in staged photography. Obsessed with colour, I create visually compelling images. My world is a confluence of dream and reality. However, every image conceals a darker sense of mystery and unease. I explore the complex dualities of life such as the perfection and the imperfection, the violence and the stillness, the mundane and the bizarre. What I want to create is a simultaneous combination of a dream world and a nightmare where anxiety, melancholy, and boredom seem so beautiful, it is impossible to look away.
Although my fantasy world is glamourous, my photographs have a keen sense of self-awareness and a dark humour, which allows me to play within the Fashion genre but not to be confined by it.
All of my pictures have one recurrent idea, a kind of simultaneous attraction and repulsion as you are drawn to the image whilst at the same time disturbed by it. Meaning that it is something troubling, that is not pleasant, but by the trick of beauty, you are drawn into it.
I was winner finalist at the Sony World Photography Award and The American Photography. Also I have been awarded the Julia Margaret Cameron Award, the Pollux award and nominated FreshEyes talent of the year 2021. My work is exhibited in New York, London, Moscow, Rotterdam and continues to show in international galleries. I am currently working on new diptych projects.
Where do you live, does your place of residence inspire you to take pictures?
I am based in Lucca, Italy. My childhood was filled with imaginary characters drawn from the story of those women who made my community unique. Later, in adulthood, photography enabled me to reconnect to my cultural heritage. Now I realize the beauty of those dark stories and I can find the legacy of those women in our identity.
Do you have a photographic background?
I started photography as self-taught in 1997. While working as staged photographer, I study fashion and lighting techniques in a famous Italian school where I realized my passion for storytelling.
How comes that you are interested in photography?
My motivation for picking up a camera was largely to be able to, in some way, satisfy an itch that I have had my whole life. I love creating in any way possible. I love telling stories by any means. A camera allowed me to do that in a way that was personally satisfying. I started photography in 1997 when I was graduating from college. I had been studying fashion photography, but somehow the fine art clicked in a way that the other art forms had not.
Which photographer has inspired your photography?
There are a lot of photographers that I love: Cindy Sherman for her being a pioneer in controversial portraits, Miles Aldridge and Alex Prager for the perfect use of light and colour, Brooke Shaden for her ability to transform a portrait into conceptual art and being an excellent teacher. But first and foremost the Italian Guia Besana who have inspired me in so many ways and introduced me the art of storytelling.
Why do you work in color?
Color is deeply related to symbolism and knowing how a certain color works can add a lot to an image. While color can be used in so many way like a visual emotion or a feeling, lack of color is also an important tool to explore. I often use strong blues, reds and yellows because they touch the real yet the surreal, a fantasy and a dream yet the reality.
How do you prepare for a photo?
When I create I almost always have a detailed plan for the image. I know what steps I need to take to shoot it, I know what I want it to look like after editing. I know poses and colours and sets beforehand. I am stubborn and I am a planner. I like to know that I’ve given as much thought to it as possible before shooting so that the final image is one that I can say, with authority, I am proud of.
What are your technique and creative process?
I always use studio lights during the photo shooting. My images are highly planned and I seek the technical perfection through the use of studio lights. After that, I alter the images to create new narratives as composites, where the past and present coexist. I often spend anywhere from five to fifty hours in Photoshop.
Which projects would you like to tackle?
Actually, my series are about women from Lucca and local fairytales. At the end I have a lot of stories to tell like Giacomo Puccini’s women, Dante Alighieri’s world or maybe my own interpretation of Tarot, who knows!
What do you do in your life besides photography?
I really want to learn more about other cultures different to mine, wherever they may be in the world. I love adventure and travel. There are places that left an indelible mark on my soul and where, in many ways, the feeling of loss is prevailing. These are the Andean countries, the Svalbard archipelago and Cyclades islands. I use to read a lot of books about these places and found most of the stories to be true and the culture richer than I imagined. I also love swim, caraibic dance and have a passion for music.
Thanks a lot Nicoletta Cerasomma for the Interview
The truth is in the abyss
That adverse star shining with blood light
The intellectual dancer
Fall of Giants