Photographing, for Ivana Noto, is alchemy and she said. In the moment in which she shoots, everything around her converges all the sensations, joys, pains, memories.
Ivana Noto’s photography, born in 1981, is intimate and introspective and gives us the feeling that it happens naturally. Her artistic research passes through the bodies and faces of young women who become the mirror and the medium through which Ivana discovers and rediscovers herself.
There is no exasperation, every element we see is exactly as it is and it is their simplicity and authenticity that makes them extraordinary.
A selection of shots by Ivana Noto will be on display for Ph.ocus – About Photography in the “Please, Take Care” section. We took the opportunity to ask her a few questions and let her tell us more in detail about some aspects of her work.
What is your first memory of photography?
My oldest memory related to photography can certainly be traced back to my mother and her constant desire/need to immortalize every moment of our family since I was a child and the hours we spent together browsing, cataloging and remembering through our photographs.
How would you define your style and how did you achieve it?
Mine is a very intimate, natural and introspective style. It is not a constructed photograph but something that happens around me and that as soon as it arouses my interest, I recognize and try to immortalize. I’ve always been fascinated by photography and its more classical meaning, which for me is reportage; I started by photographing on the street, I’m curious about the world, the way people move around me.
Photography for me is a matter of empathy, I have always looked around and I have always pressed the shutter only when it was like that around me… as I was.
Then finally I realized that I was photographing the emotions and moods of someone else but that they belonged to me almost as much as they probably belonged to the other person.
Tell us about your photographic project “Tell me about myself”. How was it born? What do you want to convey with these shots?
“Tell me about myself” was born from the awareness that at a certain point you have to learn to live with yourself, which is perhaps the most difficult thing, and to accept what you have inside and also to learn to forgive yourself sometimes; trying to imprint on paper what is most important to me and has a deep weight in my life has become a sort of “cure”.
«As soon as I feel the absence of the camera […], just then do I shoot.»
I need to look myself in the face and I do it through women like me, women that I choose carefully and with whom I somehow feel a bond, empathy. For me the shooting phase is the simplest, what really makes the difference is the knowledge and the degree of intimacy that I try to connect with each of them.
I contact them attracted by something that I can’t explain well what it is, then I get to know them… a coffee, a dinner is enough to let me enter their world and to let them enter the mine. As soon as I feel alchemy then I organize the shooting phase, I choose the location and the time when the sun can help me to better impress that state of mind which is mine and which will be that of the person who has most transmitted it to me. In my photos, there are always natural elements, the sea, the countryside, the sky, this gives me a deep sense of freedom and brings me back to my childhood.
There is always my mother, my mother when I was young, the clothes are what she wore when I was little. I always shoot in silence so as not to disturb and make myself as invisible as possible, music is my companion in my work and movement is the common denominator of my shots.
As soon as I feel the absence of the camera and I see my family, my emotions, my sorrows, my joys, my anxieties, my life in front of me, just then do I shoot.
In your work, we can see an alternation between warm and natural colors and black and white shots. How and when do you decide which style to use?
I am Sicilian, mine is a warm land, it is the land of a thousand shades and a thousand contradictions, shadow and light are the masters, there is good and evil, black and white and there are colors, the natural colors of the sky, the sea, the barren countryside; and I have a thousand different Ivana inside, to which I decide to always give free rein without labels of any kind, there is an Ivana open to what the earth with its natural colors gives it and there is one closed in its shell to which this does not matter.
Is there a photograph to which you are more attached? Tell us about it.
“Abissi”, this is the title of the photo I want to talk about, was taken on 26 May this year, after almost three months of quarantine spent in a hotel room in total solitude. They were weeks of total apathy and more or less lucid reflections on my life.
I was exhausted, I felt myself sinking.
When I met Beatrice I didn’t have many stimuli and I had no idea what we could do together but I felt the need to snap out of it. In the end I photographed that abyss into which I had descended and from which I was perhaps asking for help.
And that was the way I had experienced it.