“As for me, I’m very little”
With a camera and thoughtful planning, Italian artist Valentina Loffredo (@thatsval) leads us into her world of beauty and possibilities.
Where feelings can take geometric shapes, solitude can be playful and recharging, and where being little is an opportunity.
I use photography to bring to life images I have in my mind. I like the challenge that this medium gives me: to use reality in order to make up something that started as imaginary.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE PHOTOGRAPHER HAVE IN SOCIETY?
Photography, as other languages, can have many roles: to stop the the flow of time, to give relevance to an instant, to report, to denunce, to uplift, to inspire change. However, I don’t think this is always intentional. In my case, I feel the need and the joy to express myself through my work and I put it out there for the others to see and experience in their own way.
WHAT THEMES DO YOU PURSUE?
My photography celebrates possibility. By showing people as little creatures in the vastness of space, my work shows and celebrates our opportunity to grow, explore and embrace the unexpected.
Irony is a tool that is essential to me as I love when a photograph insinuate doubts about reality by the representation of reality itself. In a world where we feel almost forced to have an opinion on anything and defend it, I would like to show how liberating can be to feel free to have doubts, to question ourselves and change our mind.
WHAT OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS / FILMMAKERS HAVE BEEN INSPIRATIONAL TO YOUR WORK?
Magritte (as a painter and as a photographer), Franco Fontana, Rodney Smith, Sandy Skoglund. But also painters like Picasso, David Hockney, De Chirico.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A MEMORABLE PHOTOGRAPH?
The vision and the art direction of the photographer. What’s behind the photograph attracts me more than the subject, the theme or the aesthetics. I like it when I am exposed to a choice of the artist and surprised by his/her creative process. That is why the photography I like the most is staged.
WHAT DO YOU WANT VIEWERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR WORK?
The grace we indulge in when we look beyond, when we expose ourselves to something that we had not considered, with curiosity and vulnerability.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO CONTINUE TAKING PICTURES?
The need to express my artistic vision, some times, and my silly ideas, some other times.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKS ON PHOTOGRAPHY – WHAT DO YOU HAVE ABOUT THEM?
“The photograph as contemporary art” gives a good introduction on contemporary photography and it’s the only photography book I finished reading. I prefer to go to exhibitions, museums, fairs or look at documentaries and videos, rather than reading about photography.
WHEN YOU’RE SHOOTING HOW MUCH IS PLANNED AND HOW MUCH IS INSTINCTUAL?
It is mostly planned and staged.
HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
It has been crucial. The opportunity to be a stranger among strangers gave me the freedom to experiment and to dare. The amazing feedback was a great motivation too.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF IF YOU STARTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY ALL OVER AGAIN?
Buy a professional camera sooner. I like to see my pictures printed and the camera does make a difference for prints.
Photography curator and critic, Denis Curti on the group of works ‘As For Me, I’m Very Little’
“What is needed is a radical change of perspective. Only a new angle of vision, free from formalism, can give access to the playful and spontaneous creativity that is implied in each image of As For Me, I’m Very Little. In this regard, it is the author herself to give us the first important clue to her personal approach to photography. And she does so by revealing that the title of her series is not simply a concise indication of its content, but the acronym of her name: Very Little stands (also) for Valentina Loffredo. Little and tiny is, indeed, the figure of the author who, with wide eyes open, looks at the world with enchantment and delicate sensibility.“I choose a place that I find interesting and somehow familiar (pools, patterned walls, factory buildings) and I change it slightly, to build another one that is just the same, but for an element of surprise. […] What I would like to convey is the grace we indulge in when we look beyond, when we expose ourselves to something that we had not considered, with curiosity and vulnerability.”
The search for a meaning that lies beyond the surface is an endemic need that drives the aesthetic and stylistic values of Valentina Loffredo’s out of stage photography. And her words seem pronounced specifically for this photographic series, which tell the story of reality by transforming it, and make us doubt that what we are looking for, in reality, it is not as it appears.