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Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

Interview with Paola Francesca Barone Awarded Italian Photographer

What first drew you to the world of photography, and how did your passion for it evolve over time?


It was more than a mere hobby; it was a passion embodied by a person: my father. Photography wasn't his profession, yet his talent suggested it should have been. He pursued it with zeal. During my childhood, I would leaf through our family albums, uncovering stunning photographs he had taken of my mother—scenes from their courtship and honeymoon. Through his lens, I glimpsed facets of my mother that were previously unknown to me, forever preserved by his artistry.

On every outing or vacation, my father was never without his Zeiss camera, capturing far more than the typical tourist scenes—he sought out the intimate moments. When I was about seven, he entrusted me with his Zeiss and patiently imparted the fundamentals of photography. I recall my eager fingers fumbling with the shutter mechanism and the way he would softly guide me when I framed a shot incorrectly.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


How has your heritage influenced your perspective and style in photography?


The initial experiences and subsequent studies in the humanities further solidified this belief: photography became more than just a tool for capturing the past and preserving memories; it became a way to bear witness to the fleeting emotions of the present that would otherwise be lost forever. My style, characterized by its softness, lightness, rarity, and transformative quality, seeks to evoke indefinite, non-linear, ever-evolving processes, movements, and transformations.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

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Can you describe the moment you realized that photography was more than just a hobby for you?


Deep down, I've always believed that photography was more than just a hobby, but it wasn't until the pandemic hit that I fully grasped its true significance. While many people around me struggled with the lack of social connections and the disruption of daily life, I, dare I say, found solace and happiness in that unusual phase of suspension. It was during this time that I discovered the therapeutic power of photography, a hidden source of inner strength that often goes unnoticed in normal circumstances.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

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Who or what are your biggest influences in the realm of self-portrait and conceptual photography?


From a broader perspective, the list of influences would be quite extensive as many of them operate beneath the level of consciousness, only perceived by attentive and insightful individuals. Undoubtedly, my background and personal history have been shaped by surrealism, Dadaism, Eastern European avant-gardes, and Bauhaus experiences, as well as imagery derived from classical culture. When it comes to self-portraiture, notable figures such as Francesca Woodman, Sophie Calle, Dora Maar, Ilse Bing, Florence Henri, Sam Taylor-Wood, Sally Mann, Lisette Model, and Utami Dewi Godjali come to mind.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

How did you approach the transition from analog to digital photography, and what impact did it have on your work?


I have always been intrigued by new technologies, even if I cannot fully utilize them. Therefore, the transition to digital photography felt natural to me as it offered more control over shooting techniques compared to analogue. However, I am open to the idea of returning to analogue or even exploring pinhole photography. In fact, I am the proud owner of a handmade wooden camera crafted by the extraordinary Italian artisan, Riccardo Gazzarri.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


Could you share your creative process when capturing minimalist and abstract images?


Minimalist and abstract photography represent the other side of the coin: while self-portraiture and conceptual photography embody my transverse and dreamlike thoughts, minimalism and abstraction pursue the ethical ideals of purity, essentiality, rigor, and the desire to grasp the universal in the particular. The inner chaos depicted through self-portraiture and conceptual art finds in minimalism and abstraction a calling to the cosmos. To put it in more philosophical terms (as I am an avid reader of philosophy texts), self-portraiture represents my Heraclitean side, while minimalism embodies my Platonic side.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

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The pandemic has led many artists to explore new themes; how did it inspire you to delve into self-portrait and conceptual photography?


During those years, my interest in self-portraiture and conceptual photography grew, not coincidentally. Up until that point, my focus had been primarily on the external world. My internal world, identity, sensitivity, and history were all oriented towards it. However, with the onset of the pandemic, my perspective shifted inward. Through my gaze, I began to explore my inner self, searching for a sense of self and a place in the world that I defined for myself rather than one attributed by others. Self-portraiture became a means for me to see myself, not for others to see me like a selfie. In essence, I wanted and needed to reveal myself in order to gain a fresh perspective on the world and express my thoughts. This natural progression led me to delve into conceptual photography, as I capture what I think. Despite some claims that I am too cerebral, I strive to visually convey my thoughts.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

In what ways does photography serve as an emotional diary for you, and how do you decide what moments or feelings to capture?


As mentioned previously, photography serves as a form of therapy for me. Consequently, the transference of moods, emotions, and contemplations into visual form occurs spontaneously, propelled by a sense of urgency. The Temple of Delphi held a significant inscription that has been passed down to us by the Greeks: "Know thyself." This serves as my guiding principle because, before turning our attention outward and making judgments, it is essential to have self-awareness. To achieve this, we must utilize the language and introspective methods that are most effective for us.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


Receiving numerous international awards must be a significant achievement. Which award has meant the most to you personally, and why?


I have received numerous honorable mentions and a second prize of excellence, even in prestigious international awards (which I still find hard to believe). Friends and acquaintances have made me realize their importance because recognition is crucial to me, but so is the process of getting there. Therefore, the recognitions I have received from International Photo Awards, BIFA, OneEyeland, Inoventa Awards, Monovision, Chromatic Photography Awards, International Color Awards, Rewrithers Photo Festival, Umencia, and the choices of the LensCulture curator are undoubtedly extraordinary. However, the two initial contests I participated in after the pandemic were fundamental and marked the beginning of the path I am on. In October 2020, I was a finalist for the 1st edition of the Italian contest Interminati spazi (curated by Maurizio Galimberti). In October 2021, I was among the top 10 finalists of the 2nd edition of the Interminati spazi contest (curated by Maurizio Galimberti in collaboration with the La Stampa newspaper and the Italian Camera della Fotografia in Turin) and my work was exhibited at the same Italian Camera della Fotografia in Turin.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

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Your work has been showcased in various exhibitions and publications—could you tell us about one of your favorite projects that was displayed or featured, and the story behind it?


This refers to Alambicco, which is present in the archive of the Malerba Foundation and showcased in exhibitions such as the Liquida Photo Festival by Paratissima held last May in Turin. The project is a segment of a much broader work titled "I am the place I pass through," where I analyze and represent the psychic transformation that occurs as a result of traversing or inhabiting various types of places (urban, rural, wild, natural, local, exotic, external, internal, closed, open, small, large).

The sight of the Saline di Aigues Mortes in Camargue further convinced me that crossing is never just about passing through, because every body exists and transforms through its interaction with everything that surrounds it. Places and landscapes generate a transformation where plant, mineral, human, and non-human species penetrate and alter one another. It's as if everything is present there to psychically modify us, and every place, every landscape ceases to be solely human or natural or both, instead changing with our changing perception.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone Premium Member


Of Apulian and Arbereshe origin, Neapolitan by adoption, and with a humanistic education, she has always been passionate about photography and has taught herself. As a teenager, she began taking analog photos with a Zeiss camera from the 1950s, then transitioned to digital photography. Initially drawn to architectural photography, she later shifted her focus to minimalism, abstraction, and, during the pandemic, self-portraiture and conceptual photography. Since around 2019, photography has served as her emotional diary, preserving the element of discovery and spontaneity. Her projects also reflect her inner journey rather than external factors. Since 2020, she has received numerous international awards such as BIFA, IPA, LENSCULTURE, ONEEYLAND, MONOVISION, and MINIMALIST PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS. She has also participated in various exhibitions in Italy and abroad, and her photographs have been published in Italian and international magazines including Collateral Magazine, Dodho Magazine, PENG Magazine, FIGGI Magazine, Oneeyeland, and International Photo.


Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

@Paola Francesca Barone


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Paola Francesca Barone Interview-''Don't Rest in the Shadows''-Moments Collective

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