When two bloggers meet through their works on the web, interesting conversations start. That the case with Federica Valabrega, freelance photographer, same age as the Snowdrop’s freelance writer, and we were both born under the sign of Cancer. I loved this interview and I’m sure it will be the same for you. ‘Cause we all love Art. Check her portfolio.
Photography by Federica Valabrega
F.M. Young Photographer, Yoga practitioner, Globetrotter: what’s your favourite identity?
F.V. I have always tried to answer this question for myself, but I have never been successful in finding a single definition that could include all that I am at the moment. What about being all of them in one? I am a globetrotter, or wanna-be one, when money allows. I tell stories wherever I go and the best mode for me to do so is through the lens of my camera. But, I would not be able to travel the world and keep my calm, adventurous attitude if I didn’t have a ‘yoga addiction,’ which pushes me through anything. My life is full of adventure and incredible encounters with the most random people, but yet sometimes it can lack the proper structure one needs to keep life livable. This is why I do yoga and also run as much as I can. I feel this defines who I am, but also gives my crazy photography life a more defined structure where to move from.
F.M. What lens do you prefer in photographing? Black and white is your favourite mood when you want to count a new story?
F.V.I love my 35mm lens, but I do not only use that since for assignments sometimes we need wider angles or more proper zooms for close-ups. Yet, the 35mm is the sharpers, more precise lens one could desire. Black and White is my choice because I love dark shadows and very defined edges, yet colors if mild and mostly accompanied with a dim light are very pleasing to my eyes as well. I am just much more compelled to the old feeling of a photo and to the concept of mono-tone as a form of art in itself.
F.M. How would you describe your mission as a photographer? what are you looking for when you make a picture?
F.V. My mission as a photographer is to show you what I see. Sometimes I see the obvious other see as well (not everything has a double side, not everything is compelling and extremely interesting). Sometimes, I am surprised at myself to see what I did not see before and those are the times where the best photos come out. You may photograph something a million times and always see something a bit different about it. I guess my mission then is to capture those something-else times where nothing is defined and everything is a bit harder to figure out. I think I am moving more and more from a less “action” photography to a more “conceptual” type. Not every shot has to be super clear. Not every photo has to show you the whole story, but it can show you just a little part of a bigger puzzle. I like to create puzzles with my photos. I never want them to be too obvious, this is what I look for when I take a picture.
F.M. Tell us about your latest project in Israel.
F.V. Let’s just say I was supposed to spend a month and half there and instead I came back after four months and trust me I did it only because I was running out of money, otherwise I would have stayed much, much longer. In any case, I went to Israel for a photography book project on religious Jewish women that I started two years before in Brooklyn, New York. I wanted to compare and contrast their lives, their families, their religion across countries, but mostly, I wanted to live and breath Israel for a while as an adult (last time I was there I was 16 and I vaguely remember it). I wanted to see if the reason I was to go back was a pure photo-journalism one or a more subtle, spiritual one. And, after four months, I have discovered, it is a mixture of both. This has been much, much more than a simple photography trip abroad, this has been a life-changing experience. To know more about the project, you will have to come see the exhibits and buy the book…dates soon to be decided.
F.M. You practice Yoga and you have a Blog dedicated to the subject. Why did you decide to open it?
F.V.I have started Yogaville this year during the Dharma Mittra “life of a yogi” teacher training back in Sept. 2011 because I felt the necessity to write loud and clear the amazing things I was learning about myself through Sri Mittra’s teachings.
I also wanted my students to see what their teacher’s life was all about and later I also added a Retreat link to the yoga workshops I am planning for next year, so to invite readers to sign-up. So I guess there are two reasons to my Yoga Blog: One is purely to share my thoughts, my readings and my learnings of Yoga(poses, ancient wisdom and diet restrictions) with the outside world and second of all to present my students with my Yoga Retreat plan.
F.M. What’s your next trip and goal?
F.V. I live without plans, therefore I have no idea. Maybe Israel again?
F.M. I heard you planted some trees in memory of your grandfather. Would you like to re-experience the planting for other occasions? It’s a social, deep commitment
F.V. My planting of trees in the forest of Nachon was a symbolic gesture in the memory of my grandfather Vittorio who recently passed aways on February 24, 2012, but also a celebratory gesture to commemorate my middle sister’s Paola who is graduating from Medical School on Thursday Sept. 20, 2012 and who is also going to be a doctor as my grandpa was.
Lastly, I also planted one tree for my mother, my grandpa’s daughter and also a doctor. So the 3 doctors will all have a tree in there name in Israel where there is never enough trees. There was no social commitment and no other intention than just, I guess, a selfish one of wanting to remember someone you love. This was their year, and I wanted to celebrate it this way for them!