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March 25, 2020


Photography by Ornella Latrofa
Interview by Melanie Meggs

The human body is an incredible source of inspiration for many different artistic endeavors, and Ornella Latrofa is one of the most creative minds when it comes to conceptual photography. Born in Rome and graduating from the Art Institute of Rome, Ornella has been passionate about photography since she was a child. Her father, who documented their family memories with a video camera, instilled in her a love of capturing moments and creating art.

When she turned 20, Ornella bought her first reflex camera and began experimenting and learning more about photography. She soon acquired a digital camera and attended classes to gain a deeper understanding of the art form. With this new knowledge, Ornella was able to channel her creative vision into her unique style of conceptual photography.

In her project ASSONANT DIFFERENCES, Ornella wanted to explore the connection between biological shapes and the power of the human body. She wanted to create images that allowed viewers to step away from reality and reflect on the interaction between nature and the human form. By creating these diptychs, Ornella has created a beautiful visual narrative that speaks to the harmony between our natural world and ourselves.

“The project started by chance. I had photographed the sand with its shades. In the following days, I asked a friend of my daughter if she would allow me to take pictures of her. I took several pictures and when I took the one with the hair down I immediately noticed the resemblance to the one I had taken days before of the sand.

Then, associating the two images, I thought that there could be other similarities between nature and human body. The more I thought about it, the more these associations came to mind. I thought: It is truly amazing how nature resembles us. Humankind constantly seeks contact with nature. A primordial necessity from which we cannot escape.”


THE PICTORIAL LIST: In your project ASSONANT DIFFERENCES, your photographs blur the distinction between the human body and nature. Why was it important for you to incorporate both images together as a diptych for the presentation of the image as a whole?

ORNELLA LATROFA: I thought that a diptych with the two images associated together would have been very powerful and with a strong evocative impact for the viewer.

TPL: How does this project differ from your previous work? Is this type of visual storytelling something you would like to pursue again in future projects? What do you think is your next chapter in your exploration with future projects?

OL: Starting from situations and events that capture my attention my idea of representing reality develops. I prefer intimate themes with which I can express my personality.

When I was on a London trip to visit my daughter, I walked around the city and started taking pictures in 'The City' District. The buildings with their mirror reflections inspired my previous project: "Between dream and reality"; Peace, silence and reflections": Another project I created, describes the relationship between man and sea. While I was shooting on a cliff, I realized how powerful is the sea. Later on I developed my project: "You are strong"; by associating pictures with poems written by me.

In the future I still don't know where my creativity will bring me, I have some projects in my mind but I still need to focus them clearly. For sure the relationship between poetry and photography is a theme that fascinates me a lot.

TPL: Ornella please tell us about yourself.

OL: I was born and grew up in Rome. When I was a child my father used to paint. He also had another creative passion; he loved to record videos to capture family memories. I’ve always been fascinated by this passion. Later on I attended art studies and I graduated from the State Institute of Art in Rome. The art school taught me the concept of aesthetic sense. At 20, I bought my first reflex camera with which I started experimenting, developing the taken pictures by myself.

Nowadays I still live in Rome where I work. I have a family that has absorbed my time over the years, photographing occasionally.

TPL: What draws you to photography and art? How did your journey into photography begin?

OL: Some years ago, having more free time, I’ve decided to resume my passion in a more demanding way. Attending various schools and studying the famous photographers’ works.

In my opinion photography is a form of art, the language I use to express my feelings, to communicate my way of seeing reality. In photography there are different languages that arise from one's mood at a given moment. The moment I take a picture I feel a sense of satisfaction, concretising in the shot what I want to express with my feelings. I like to experiment my creativity with the photographic different techniques.

TPL: Is there any advice that you would give yourself if you started photography all over again?

OL: Yes, to start over shooting earlier!!! Don’t waste time overthinking and get into your passion. Don’t be afraid of your inexperience you’re going to build your style by shooting.

The moment I take a picture I feel a sense of satisfaction, concretising in the shot what I want to express with my feelings. I like to experiment my creativity with the photographic different techniques.

TPL: Who are your favourite artists and photographers?

OL: A photographer who inspired me at the very beginning was Luigi Ghirri with his images that represent places with a new perception of reality, bringing us to reflect on the way of seeing our surroundings.

TPL: If you could just choose one photographer to shoot alongside for a day...who would you choose? And why?

OL: I would love to be able to shoot with a photographer who has more experience than me. I can't tell exactly who among the many masters of photography, but I think such an event would enrich me. The discussion with people with my same passion is always very positive and engaging. I would certainly be very happy about that.

TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length? How much post-processing do you do?

OL: I started with a Nikon D7000 and during some years I have been using a Fujifilm XT-4 with a focal length of 18-55mm, 18-135mm and 55-200mm. I don't like manipulating the pictures I take, so I do very few post-production.

TPL: When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…

OL: I am a very curious and creative person. When I am not photographing, and this is not very frequent, I go to see exhibitions, photography meetings, concerts. Everything is related to art fascinates me.

Ornella Latrofa’s captivating work celebrates the connection between our biological shapes and the power of the human body. By creating a visual narrative that speaks to the harmony between ourselves and the natural world, she is encouraging us to reflect on that connection and appreciate its beauty. We invite you to explore Ornella's work and be inspired by her unique style of conceptual photography.

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