We’ve lost count of how many people we’ve met on the road who changed their lives radically so they could travel the world. But if we had to make a list of the people who turned their lives upside down by deciding NOT to travel, there would be only one: Loredana.
When Loredana arrives to London from Bologna in Italy looking for any available job in 2007, she starts from the point where the majority of immigrants does: in bars. For some time she works as a bartender, later on as a supervisor.
Searching for Herself
Right now, she only owns a simple compact camera and takes pictures for fun. One day, a friend of hers appreciates her work and encourages her to start taking photography art seriously.
So after a short course she attends a one-year course at the Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design, University of the Arts in London.
That brings her the chance to be an assistant of a well-established photographer in London. At this time she works as a freelance paparazzi photographer for a couple of agencies. Often the only woman in the crowd of over zealous, male photographers, she overcomes the borders of her comfort when she needs to literally fight for a photo that could possibly sell to agencies.
This experience makes her more aggressive but also more confident and she is now able to work in a more professional way. Her photographs are published in magazines and newspapers in UK and abroad.
A big change happens also in Loredana’s personal life. She ends a nine year love relationship which adds stress to her already challenging job.
All this takes Loredana into action and she starts educating herself with the books about consciousness, mind, ego and present. Later on, the conversation with her yoga instructor who gives her a simple tip, to learn to breathe, pushes her forward. Yoga, pilates and meditations become a part of her life and open more space for creativity and focusing on herself as a woman and a human being, too.
In August 2013, instead of traveling the world, Loredana starts working on a long-term photo project. She takes photos of strangers who choose her as a photographer rather than her choosing an object for her camera. The pictures are taken with different cameras, medium format, 35mm, digital.
She usually puts an advert online, where she offers a one-hour photo shoot to anyone who wants to be photographed, without any specific guidelines. Why just an hour, you ask? As Loredana says, she always puts a limit because, “the situation requires me to be completely present in that moment when everything happens; I need to take care of the overall feelings of being in control while using a camera”.
The people who contact her are definitely not professional models in the sense you would imagine. Very often they are ordinary people with ordinary lives.
“We always are ashamed of our body, but never of our mind”, Loredana states and that’s what you can find in her photography: courage, yet shyness, darkness, yet curiosity and sexuality, yet hidden intimacy.
The stories of the people of Loredana’s project are stories of people who need to share a burden they have been carrying for a long time. Or to face their passions, obsessions or dark thoughts they have never dared to confess to anyone.
The places where the photo shoots happen vary. It might happen in Loredana’s garden, in one of the ‘model’s’ garden or in a house, very often with simple photography equipment and with no make up artist.
If Loredana could choose the best location for a session, she would prefer a place where her models live, where she would be able to make them more comfortable and encourage them to be themselves. Loredana goes far beyond a simple look while taking pictures of strangers. Sometimes, this causes confusing, shocking, unexpected reactions, but also therapeutic effects on both sides.
Loredana’s work is often not understood and is rather misinterpreted. If, for example, you consider art as a medium which should display humans as beautiful and sinless, then you will be more than disappointed. You will judge and you might be disgusted.
Carl Jung is the one who can explain it best; all of us have a dark part inside us and the more we fight it, the more it will disrupt our lives and our relations with others and most importantly, with ourselves.
As Loredana says, “nudity for me is a state of confidence and being” and by allowing her models to be who they feel they truly are, there is moment of liberation for them, when they are understood without saying a word.
Loredana’s next projects will examine the relation between humans and the Earth and the habits of consumerism that we have developed. She will touch the issues related to human beings as products, too.
She would also like to draw inspiration for the photographs from the drawings she began to do last August as art therapy.
Loredana is also collaborating on establishing a photographic agency related to general events, interiors and portraiture. The agency’s site, flexihouse.com, will go live in the beginning of September.
Still can’t imagine what we are talking about? Visit Loredana’s website and check out her work (current project with strangers needs to updated). As you become more aware of the background to her photography, you might look at the photographs with less judgment. Or even none at all.