A conversation with Italian photographer Benedetta Falugi on her beach series “A Summer”. How the project came to be, and how her passion for photography came about.
Hi Benedetta, thank you for sharing your work with us. Before we get to the questions about it, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how photography started for you?
Hi! I’m Benedetta, freelance photographer from Tuscany, Italy. I love books, music and going to concerts of my favorite artists when I can. This is one of the things that makes me feel really happy. I also enjoy summer and going by bike to the beach (better if solitary beach) with a good book of course. I have loved water (sea) since I was a child, and I feel that I have a special relationship with this element. I have a super great friend/love in my life which is my dog Mio, a Vizsla of 3 years, you can’t imagine how lovely he is! My passion about photography started around 10 years ago and then it became my job along the way. I find inspiration in my passion in everyday life, in emotions inside me and for sure in many other artists’ great works. Usually what I portray is what I am.
Where were the pictures in this set made? Is it always the same place?
Yes and No. This is not the same place every time but all the beaches are part of the Maremma area (which is a coastal area of Tuscany). I live in the north of Maremma (my town, Follonica, is in the middle of a bay, just in front of Elba Island) but I love to go exploring the coast upside down.
So what is your connection to it? Why photograph here?
Well when I was young I escaped away from my town. The province seems so little when you’re 17/18 and I wanted live in a “real” city with many more interesting things to do and discover. I went to Pisa for a while for University; and then I went in Florence for further study and work. After almost 15 years away from home I began to really appreciate the beautiful places from which I came from. I was physically in need of them and so I came back to Follonica. I had missed the sea and the nature so bad! Also, the beach belongs to my childhood and I have always had a special relationship with the sea and have been attracted to it strongly as far as I could remember. Once back home, I began doing very long walks by the sea and carrying a camera with me, always. So the series started in a very natural, instinctive way, shooting the places that I missed so much and the people living there.
What do you hope to say or to document with these pictures?
I don’t shoot with the particular intent of documenting or saying anything. As I said before, mine is a very instinctive way of shooting, and I’m very humoral too so I think you can find also a lot of my feelings in the photos. At the end I shoot places and people in which I find something beautiful or they evoke some emotion in me. Everything starts from my gut before my head.
Let’s talk a little gear. Are the photographs made with film? What camera/lens/film do you use?
Sure, absolutely film. I love analog photography and I use digital only for my commercial works, when I have to. I have many 35mm point and shoot cameras (a lot of them, almost half broken...I’m a little bit heedless and many of them are vintage cameras that I buy throw the web) To name some: Yashica T5, Contax T4, Leica Mini II, Ricoh 500RF, Vivitar ultra wide and slim (but maybe it is really dead, this time) and others including plastic underwater toy cameras. I also have 2 or 3 reflex but my preference is the Olympus OM1. I’ve got something very cheap for 6x6 but I didn’t use it often. As for film, I shoot with Fuji Superia 400 almost always, and I would set the camera on 200iso.
That’s an incredible list! Let's go back to the pictures before we finish up. Over what period of time were the pictures in this series made and do you still go back?
I started making photos by the beach from the very first time that I found and enjoyed photography back in 2007 (OMG, feels so long ago!) And yes, I still shoot by the beach but not so often, I have to admit the last two summers I forced myself not to bring the camera with me because I was sick of making the same “kind of” photos. But they keep coming out of my archives like zombies, literally. I find photographs taken years ago almost every week and often I find something nice that I had not noticed before. I really must have shooting like a crazy in past years!
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