Say hello to Valentina :
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I am from Albisola Superiore, a small town located in Liguria, Italy. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to travel a lot, so I haven’t been to many places. The funny thing about this is that the only one true journey I’ve been on took me to the Bahamas, my best friend’s place of birth, when I was 14. Kinda far from here. That trip presented an unexpected month of growth, silence, and introspection.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
This is my favourite place in the whole world. I know it may sound ordinary, but it’s just 10 minutes away from home. I discovered it when I was 12, and from that moment on, it became my inspirational shelter. I’ve taken so many photos and watched a million sunsets up there. That huge rock is really raw, windy and savage, just like I feel my inner soul is. Watching the moon rising while sitting alone over there during summer nights is one of the best feelings I love to experience. Every time I am confused, troubled or upset, I reach this place and I create something. Sometimes I take pictures, sometimes I write, and sometimes I just let my imagination go. It always brings me a new energy that helps me regenerate. It is the only one place where I can close my eyes and feel, at the same time, free and safe.
How would you describe your visual style?
My visual style has always been oniric, girly and sparkly. In fact, I can’t contain myself from that even when I’m doing fashion photography (my post productions are often unrealistic and confusing). My imagination is still a little’s girl one. I dream in pink, and instead of this being an embarrassment, this is the thing that I love the most about myself. My inner world has always been magical – I imagine princesses, glitter, colorful sunsets, girls over moons and sparkling stars. For example, a few days ago I just closed my eyes, and while half asleep, saw a glass cupboard full of twinkling princess scepters. As soon as I woke up, I excitedly told my boyfriend and he just tenderly laughed at me – I’m used to it and I’m fine with it. I don’t want people to understand my imagination, I just want to show it to them. Thanks to photography, I managed to translate my imaginary kingdom to reality, making my oniric thoughts tangible, even for other people. Making my stories alive brings me into my peace dimension. In fact, my latest project is called “Oniric Princesses” – I’ve finally found the way to make my dreams visible.
Which three fashion designers would be an absolute dream to collaborate with?
This is not haute couture, but I think these are the brands that fit my creativity best: Mary Katrantzou, Delpozo and Miu Miu.
Name your top three favorite high-fashion models.
Daphne Groeneveld, Lindsey Wixson, and Anna Ewers.
How do you find your inspiration?
I find it in my dreams, in people’s beauty, in poetry (especially through Emily Dickinson), music lyrics (thank you Alex Turner), in clothing, in sunsets, in rococò art and architecture, and in other artists’ works (Pierre Debusschere, Steven Meisel, Tim Walker, Sofia Coppola, and Wes Anderson, just to name a few).
Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?
I absolutely do, every time I challenge myself trying to reach perfection (almost every day of my life). In those moments, I’ve always tried to force myself to create, but I soon found out it doesn’t work with me. The lack of inspiration always brings me into a vortex of apathy and emptiness that literally breaks me: it’s when I’m totally broken that my feelings need to explode, and that’s when I find the way to re-create. I often start with self-portraits, as a way to expiate my pain, and that’s the reason why the only subject I want to immortalise is myself. That’s when I finally find perfection – and as soon as I reach it, it bores me so much that I need to destroy it, in order to reorganize it again. Disassemble and reassemble. Create to destroy, destroy to recreate. I think of this process as my continuous rebirth – it’s a never ending cycle.
What types of photography do you do?
Fashion, portrait, street, backstage and runway photography. And, do my oniric works count as fine art photography?
My favourite is fashion – I’ve discovered the most simple and true reason why this is so, by reading this quote from Tim Walker a few years ago: “Fashion is the dream department of photography.” I also love doing fashion shows backstage – truly inspiring and personal.
Of the photos you’ve taken, which three are your favorite?
These two are my new favourites from my occurring project “Oniric Princesses.” I adore the first one because it’s so powerful yet delicate and pure, and living that moment was truly magical. The second one hugs my heart, mostly because once I had a dream that looked exactly like that – a magic girl dancing in front of the moon.
I love this one because of its softness and elegance, and for the perfection of the moment. I hold this image particularly close to my heart, as it was published on “Elle Spose,” and because the set was really rough, even if it doesn’t look like it. I broke my tripod during the way to the atelier and so I had to handle it by assembling furniture, make up boxes and so on, in order to make a kind of stable base. Then, add a faint natural light and some transparent and wrinkled voile for the background – I killed it!
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
It is obviously difficult to make your works known. There are a lot of talented young photographers around the world who made it, though. I am a competitive person, but if I admire someone else’s work, I just let them know I love their art. I don’t like to make silent cold wars on Facebook. Plus, I like my being serious: if you are an artist, you just want to show people your creations in the best way you can. I don’t think it’s necessary to act like theatrical crybabies on social networks, complaining about the difficulties of the artistic world, saying things like “I’m not good enough” and so on. We all think about those things everyday, but I don’t believe you have to scream it on your status in order to be comforted. It is useless since nobody can fight against your monsters, except you. I like to deal with my stuff privately, and I think this can be seen as something positive. I’d never entrust a job to someone who’s publicly crying over himself, searching for approval. Summing it up, I just think that if we’re talking about works and the industry, your behaviour has to be solid. You have to look like you’re ready. You have to be ready. I like people who think about their art and make their steps by themselves, even if they didn’t know how to make them initially, and eventually discovered a way.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Well, I’m not a mentor, but I’ve been sinking in photography since I was 13, so improve your skills day by day. I’m 20 and completely self-taught – improving isn’t as easy as it could seem without any kind of instruction. But, rather than nothing, I invent.
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
Yes, my last one, “Oniric Princesses.” You can check it out here.
What is your most life-changing event?
The moment I accepted that I was the only one that could heal myself, that I’m the only one who’s in control. That is not an event in particular, but it actually changed my life.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
Dress and look like Chibiusa forever. I did my best, though.
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Valentina, here’s some contact information:
Valentina, thank you for sharing your story with us! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!