Custom and often hand-made top hats, masks, crowns, butterfly wings, paintings as backdrops, macro techniques to capture details, inspired by old noir movies from the 1930s and 40s. Many hours of preparations and patience goes into every fine art photograph of the talented Italian artist Giulia Valente.
We asked Giulia what the key to making her fine art photography was. Here is her story.
"I graduated from Padua University in disciplines of Art, Music, and Theatre in 2006. I have always been attracted by art: one of the things that I like about living in Italy is that art is everywhere, so it's easy to find inspiration.
My style can be described as fine art photography: I see continuity between painting and photography. In some ways, photography is painting's younger sister. Paintings, more than photos, are my main reference when I plan-shoot-retouch a new project."
"Giovanni Gastel, the recently passed away Italian photographer, once said that you have to trash 10 000 good ideas before getting the right one. I try, in my own little way, to implement this method. In fact, I have a journal full of ideas, sketches, notes, and inspirations that are likely to remain on paper forever.
The most important step when working on a new project is planning: pre-production is essential to make decisions, define and focus on the concept, and then make drawings, collect objects/props... It can be a stressful and time-consuming stage because this kind of photography requires a lot of attention, even an obsession, with the fine details, the things you don't immediately notice, but that can make all the difference."
What was the key to making your caterpillar photographs?
"In the specific case of the Caterpillar project, I tried to define the features that identify the character, making him recognizable: the color blue, the hookah that he smokes, the wings when he turns into a butterfly, but also the attitude - a bit conceited and vain. Then I tried to put all these elements together, combining them with the main style of the image I had in mind.
On May 3, 2021 an exhibition of my selected works was launched at Laboratorio Cardin (Padua, Italy). I am very excited and grateful because this is my first exhibition."