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31 August 2011

Talented People

I'm lucky to be rounded by talented people, who are a great source of inspiration. Above them all there's Valentina Sasso, a lady who ventured in the photography field and is now slowly rocking the local Triestine scene in a very personal way.

Valentina in action

I love her unique style, the way she captures all the details we usually take for granted with beauty and elegance. I also admire her neat compositions. Everything seems to fall in a magical order and place in her photos, and that gives a sense of ease. 

She will be one of the tutors at the Photography course I enrolled to. I truly hope I'll be assigned to her group when the course kicks off in January. I'm looking forward to that.

In the meanwhile, Valentina kindly accepted to answer a few questions. I interviewd her for you, she has lot to share and I'm sure we'll hear about her some more in the future.

1. Hi Vale, tell us something about yourself.  

Hello! I'm 35, I work in publishing and I'm mom to Anna, a lively 6-year-old.  Like many women these days, my days are hectic with work, my daughter's activities, friends, who are very important for me, and - last but not least! - photography, which is both a personal passion and a professional commitment.

2. The first question is a must: how did you come across photography?

Looking back, I realize that photography has always been very present in my life. No one in my family had technique skills or was interested in it, but I haven't got a memory that isn't associated with an image taken from my parents. For me it was quite natural to begin to want to freeze the more interesting moments. What distinguished me from my friends was that I didn't click to have the memory of a trip, or of a day out, but I always tried to create attractive compositions, to capture very communicative facial expressions, to see perspectives that others didn't notice. This play with my vision of things lead me to buy an analog SLR, 15 years ago. Then I switched to digital SLR, which has amplified my desire to shoot, thanks to the thousand possibilities that digital offers.

3. Are there any experiences that influenced your approach to your artistic activity?

If we speak of artistic activity as a passion, I must say that the transition to digital was a turning point in my photographic production. Thanks also to the use of image editing programs, my imagination was able to express itself in all its exuberance. As for as my profession, I must thank the most popular social network: Facebook. By posting my photos in there, a person noticed me and contacted me for a photo shoot. Since then I work with his company in a continuos and very rewarding way. Another equally important experience for me was the photography course I took at the Triestine PhotoClub. I'm their partner now. This enabled me to deepen my technical knowledge, but also to compare myself with very experienced photographers, people of great humanity.
4. Helmut Newton says that "the desire to discover, the wish to move and the taste to capture are the three concepts that reassume the art of photography". What is your philosophy of photography? 

Helmut Newton is one of my favorite photographers, I recently saw his exhibition in Udine and certainly share his thoughts. Especially for the urge to move. When I photograph, what I try to do is to capture a detail that many don't notice, I try to create my own vision and perspective. Things change depending on the point of view from which you look. A photographer has the talent to find alternative points of view, original and personal. Therefore for me photography is proposing the reality through my eyes. 

5. What are your favorite things to photograph? 

I love people's faces, especially eyes. Just as the hands, they sometimes seem to speak. Overall I'm fascinated by all those details, in people as well as in architecture and nature. Things that are not noticed as a whole, but that are able to fascinate, when we stop to watch them. I could call myself "a lover of details."

6. What photographic equipment do you normally use for work?

My "kit" photo is not abundant, but before I purchase something else, I want to have an excellent command of what's already in my possession. I own two Nikon cameras, a D80 and a D3000. I have three lenses, a 50mm, a 18-105mm and a 28-70mm. For work I use mostly the 18-105mm, alternating it with the 50mm. This last one, I must admit, is giving me great satisfaction, makes me enjoy photography, and I think this is a beautiful thing for a photographer. 

(I must admit that I totally agree with Valentina here. I too love pics taken with my 50mm 1.8f lens. My skill is strengthned by this marvel. It forces me to compose every shot by moving and recomposing, so that you don't just take pics, you actually make them. And the result is better composition.) 

7. Is there a photo you're particularly attached to? And Why?

There are five or six pics whom I feel closely linked to, for several reasons, but the shot that is always with me, from which I feel represented, was taken to my daughter in London last summer. It was taken while she was playing with the splash of a fountain on the floor, barefoot with her dress pulled a bit not to get wet. I caught in a movement so graceful that she seems to be dancing, her fun and happy expression also gives a sense of harmony to the whole. I'm linked to this picture primarily because the subject is my baby, my treasure and a source of inspiration, then because I think I managed to find a good harmony. I'm happy with my result. 

8. Does the eye with which you capture the world change depending on the subject, or do all of your photos reflect your personal vision?

I think I have acquired my own personal style, I noticed that all my photos always have a common thread, be it the composition, the angle or the perspective. Then it's natural that I can change the tone of photography depending on the subject, but I think -and I hope- that my personality can be distingueshed regardless. 

 9. Do you do much editing?

It depends. There are photos that I retouch a lot, but in my mind they already come with the specific intent to be further retouched in a certain way. And when I retouch, I do it heavily. Not because I want to correct or camouflage, but because I want to 'paint' it, to make it look a different kind of art. To me there's a neat barrier between photography and retouching and I enjoy this last one very much.

10. If you had to photograph a celebrity, who would you choose?

I've photographed famous people and I can say that I didn't love it. Maybe because we were not in the studio for a book, but outside during events, awards and so on, perhaps because some celebrity snob amateurs, perhaps because I am not as brave as a paparazzi. Thing is I think portraying ordinary people is much more interesting. If I had to choose, I'd portray some sport celeb. 

11. What do you capture better and what would you like to improve?

I better capture details, peculiar things others don't see. I would like to improve in many things! In technique, mainly, but also in the composition. I'm very instinctive, but I would like to be able to build a set and get the same result. I'm working on it. 

12. Which photographers of the past, or still alive, have influenced the way you photograph? And whom do you admire in particular? 

The photographer who inspired me the most is undoubtedly Henri Cartier-Bresson. His way of shooting is unique, because hecaptures common moments of life also with a great emotional power. Also, I really love the pictures of my compatriot Wanda Wulz: a woman of great imagination, with a vision of reality for the modern era.

13. Which books and magazines published your images? And where can we view your photos?

Some of my photographs were published by "Twenty-Four", the monthly magazine Il Sole 24 ore, Rivacamperio Style, Il Piccolo. Through the internet you can see my picture on the website of the Circolo Fotografico Triestino, in various Flickr albums, especially the photostream of the company I work for, Illycaffe. And then I have my Facebook Page, where you're invite to browse. 

14. Would you like to choose a shot from your portfolio and tell us "what is behind" it? 

It took me a while to choose this shot but in the end, I prefer it not because it was the prettiest, or most difficult, or more elaborate. I chose it because it's part of that genre of photography that I love, photography that communicates, photography that tells a story, photography that evokes emotions. Photography is a metaphor in some way, because a still image, to be able to tell a story, must be able to evoke memories, feelings, scents. My photo was taken last summer in Cambridge (UK). I was on board of one of those open buses that tour the city when, suddenly, I saw this scene. Taking my camera and capturing the moment was instinctive. My goal is to touch people with emotions, regardless of the object that I choose, because I think that every image, seen from a particular angle, may evoke some emotion. 

15. Finally, leave a thought or some advice to those approaching the world of photography today.

Trying to capture an emotion is difficult, but with photography it can be done, because the picture is a friend, a shelter, and sometimes even a goal. The only advice I can give, from the small of my experience, is to not click the "nonsense", but think about what you want. And above all ... you never stop learning!

Valentina and her beautiful daughter Anna
Thank you, Valentina, for your precious time with us today and for these lovely words. I think they speak by themselves about your soul. The world should be more populated with skilled people like you, really! 

For more of her photographs, please view: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.


  1. Nice job Elda! And very interesting to read for another passion photographer. Thanks! (Birna)

  2. very interesting pics and interview! :)

  3. Very interesting interview Elda and what a great person she seems to be. Her pictures reveal a thousand tales and are lovely.


  4. Awww, I'm so glad you appreciate Valentina's talent! I thought hard of how to underline her skills before sendign her these questions. I truly wanted to sum up all her talent. 'Cause this woman rocks!


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