by Simone Bandini
“If the world were how we see it – and not what the world has of us – we would perhaps be more reserved”. (Carmelo Bene)
It is said that to understand an artist it takes another artist. So let’s try to enter Francesca Donatelli’s world with the tools of the trade – since it is immediately clear to me that, in order to talk about her and her photography, it is necessary to understand her aesthetic orientations. Today we are in her studio in Ponte a Poppi, surrounded on the walls by those ‘beloved supports’, photographer, testimonies of life. Intimate, real, just as it is.
Nothing could be further from social ostentation, showing off oneself in order to appear: “Even though these modern tools allow for experiments of a certain interest”, he tells us, the mechanism that leads us to use them is often perverse and alienating, and we agree. It is the construction of another self thing, a projection for third parties with honesty. Photography is another thing: epiphany, revelation, manifestation.
“After all,” she reveals to us, “photography is the most humanistic of the technical disciplines” … Ҫa va sans dire, she experienced the same ambiguity at university – when she studied architecture, a faculty which is more humanistic than scientific!
“I began from artistic, conceptual photography, even if the professional coding made me discover aspects of my work that I would not have imagined … I love, for example, the services for weddings – which condense and exhaust in one day the entire repertoire of the sector. : fashion, reportage, storytelling, art and scenography “. The obsession with having a unique marriage often leads to an outcome far from expectations: “Better to be yourself”, says Francesca.
“I don’t like McCurry photography”, she clarifies, “I like travelling but I don’t have this documentary obsession. For me it is essential to create worlds. And photography is precisely the means to manifest my artistic essence in this self-centred hyperbole ”. In fact, Francesca loves self-portraits, candidly admitting that she has a gigantic ego! “Only I know how to make the scene perfect by using myself”, the greatest sense of being ‘actors’ – moving in reality.
As for her work, in addition to events and ceremonies, the Casentino artist promotes family photography and souvenir photos in her studio, “in a world where one is overwhelmed with images without retaining one”. The press is a perfect example of this and I, is absolute testimony – and I, as an old-fashioned publisher, fully agree.
Less is more. A professional is able to make a photographic synthesis of images, eliminating what is disharmonious and superfluous. Hers is a classical vision of the ancient imago: “Once I have taken the right shot, I prefer to innovate on media rather than investing in the mere appearance of social networks. An intimate bond is created with my ‘models’. They feel protected, finally considered ”.
The success of a photograph is really a matter of charisma and confidence – which must not be minimal or excessive, it must be natural but convincing: “The relationship that is created with the subject, the intersection of our egos, certainly helps him or her to be photogenic!”. “In order to preserve the spontaneity of the poses, I don’t systematically use photo editing, I hate filters that distort the image”, she explains. The post-production can be seen instead in her representation, which is faithful to the truth of the images.
Francesca talks about herself as a village photographer, who punctuates the fundamental moments of the life of the valley. She is there, never merely appearing. In an impermanent logic extraneous to the modern, the virtual, she is dispensable.
Among the photographers who inspired her are Paolo Verzone, Gilbert Garcin, Francesca Woodman and Sara Lando: “I am fascinated by the performative, metaformic part of photography – even in its collage-like drift”.