I first met Denicola at FLUX RCA where she was one of the official photographers. At the time I had little knowledge of her incredible personal artwork and projects. Since then I have got to know more about the life explorer and intuitive photographer Loredana Denicola.
Recently I have been interested in the concept of ‘Now’ and minimising past and present as an influence, so reading about Denicola’s discovery of self by identifying unhelpful habits of the mind really struck a chord. There is without a doubt the sense within her work that she is getting to the real personality of the subject matter rather than the forced or maybe restricted over thinking of many. There is an enlightened sense of freedom within who she captures, Denicola has an obvious ability to unleash the true personality of the people she photographs. It is a way to free the personality from the mind, a mind which so often absorbs the negativity of life and judgements. Denicola provides a picture of humanity stripped bare.
There is compassion in Denicola’s work as a photographer, she reserves any pre conceived ideals and coaxes the inner self of her subjects to question their mind, their being and their inner thoughts. In doing so she has produced emotive, intriguing, bold, exciting and real depictions of people – all unique and all completely wonderful.
I was delighted to exhibit Denicola’s work at the last FLUX and witness the overwhelming responses to her projects.
I really admire your work, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
Self – taught or Art School?
I am a self-taught. My background is different. I wasn’t sure if studying Economics or Psychology or Arts. I wanted to be a Psychiatrist but then I took a degree in Economics at the University of Bologna, in Italy.
At that moment, I wanted to represent emergent artists in Italy and I tried for a little while but then things went differently, when I came to live here, in London. One day, while I was coming back home I found a camera placed next to a rubbish bin, where I lived. It was the end of 2007. It was an analog camera, Praktica with different lenses in a bag. I took it with me.
I never had thought that one day, photography would have been part of my life, but I said to myself – well it is time to learn how to use it.…. so I enrolled to a week basic course of Photography in a college which I found fascinating, then, I studied part-time photography practice at St Martin College for six months, I devoured all the books of photography and artists that were inspiring me, going to exhibition, watching documentaries.
I realized that having different experiences is the best way to learn, because you find yourself in the unknown and you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Since 2014 I use photography as a tool for my personal evolution which began with the discovery of my unhelpful habits of mind and belief constructed throughout the years and then comprehension, de – construction and re-construction using intuitively my work as a powerful means of self-analysis, creating dialogues between myself and others.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
Edward Steichen: “The Pond – Moonlight”, it gives me peace, but it is already sold.
How would you describe your style?
My style is very simple and complicated. It requires losing control of the medium (in my case the camera) but at the same time keeping emotional control while I am dealing with very fragile human issues which are sexual identity, gender role, body image, age, emotions, secrets and fears of people involved in the process with me. It must be understood. What we see is not what it is.
Also, the aim of my work is to invite people to question themselves. Even to find answers. Can the mind free itself from habits it has cultivated, from unhelpful opinions, judgments, attitudes and values?
Where are your favorite places to view art?
For me art is everywhere, life is art, love is art. We have to become more capable to see beauty not just with the eyes.
When I like someone I go to galleries or events of artists who interest me, sometime because I love their work other times because I am curious.
Who are your favorite artists and why?
I have different ones in different fields, I love performances and paintings and sculptures and writers and not only photographers but because I work with photography as medium I would like to mention three of them.
I love her quote and it reflects my attitude, “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been”.
I feel that one of the greatest traits that a street photographer has is his or her curiosity. Arbus explains that although we can try to give our best intents in getting to know our subjects well – our photographs will not always show what we intended. You might have a certain intent when photographing, but the result can be totally different. Not only that, but what we may perceive as a “tragedy” may not be considered as a tragedy to your subject. And obviously you have to adore your subjects as they represent you.
His work includes portraiture and still life photographs of flowers, but is widely recognized for his dark and decadent photographs of erotic imagery. Often underestimated and even more often dismissed as being nothing more than pornography, Mapplethorpe created fine art photography of explicit nude forms, influenced both by classical traditions of great masters like Michelangelo and Caravaggio, and, on the other end, surrealist photographs of Man Ray.
Duane Michael the storyteller
His work addressed spirituality, religion, sex, beauty, and death in everyday settings. In one well-known sequence, The Spirit Leaves the Body, a double-exposed figure sits up and leaves his supine body; its beautiful.
After all Michael has argued, “One must redefine photography, as it is necessary to redefine one’s life in terms of one’s own needs.… The key word is expression – not photography, not painting, not writing.… Only you can teach yourself.”
For more than half a century, he has helped us discover a myriad of ways to blur boundaries -between photography and art, between fiction and reality, between the personal and the universal, and between the artwork and the artist. But perhaps even more important, he has consistently redefined such boundaries in terms of his own life and his own needs, and has even pushed past such boundaries, repeatedly and resolutely exploring territories well beyond the established frontiers of photography itself. In doing so, he has taught us that we can, and must, teach ourselves.
What or who inspires your art?
My art is a healing form, throughout a process of self – analysis at the moment, for what I understood. I try to find answers throughout connection and co-operation with strangers in which I reflect myself.
It is a natural process where we need each other to heal. It is a sort of catharsis, it is the purification and purgation of emotions through the art process or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. In what I do there is a mixture of psychology, anthropology, science and art together but I am still at the beginning of my exploration. I am exploring, that is what I am doing.
Where is your studio and what is like?
My studio is everywhere. It doesn’t have a fixed ‘real’ place. All begin in the street or in people’s house I visit.
Do you have any studio rituals?
Passion for life, enthusiasm, trust and integrity.
What are you working on currently?
I am pushing myself to complete a body of work that comprehends 4 projects:
1.A new society
2.I Am your mirror
3.Love Sex and Relationship
4.The Theatre of the Mind
Lately I have begun to integrate words, interviews and videos in my projects.
I believe there is a connection between all of them. Actually ‘A new Society’ is the feeling of the presence of the self, in ‘I am your mirror’ is the awareness of seeing yourself, ‘Love sex & relationship’ represents the process of beginning to love yourself and ‘The Theatre of the Mind’ is imagination, comprehension of the self and the beginning of the creation of a new world.
Where we can buy your art?
I don’t know yet. I am trying to find out who is interested in who I am and what I do.
What are your ambitions?
Be myself and be paid to be me. Be able to express honestly myself throughout my work, create a new concept.
Find new ways to improve myself and learn as much as possible. Life is a process; my aim is creating questions, doubt everything inside our mind and everything that is created outside. At the end everything and nothing are part of the same façade.
Do we know ourselves?
Website – http://www.loredanadenicola.com/