We meet Petra Valenti, a young Italian photographer, with Londoner past. Petra’s photography is powerful, immediate, strong and always pervaded by an ironic undertone. She tells us about her and of this fascinating expressive medium.
When do you feel you are expressing yourself in the most complete way?
When an intuition becomes a vision that becomes reality.
Why did you choose the photography medium?
I have always been more an observer than a protagonist, and photography allows me to express myself without using too many words, which I consider superfluous in most cases. I’ve always took it a bit like self-analysis, and growing up I took notice of what remains with you over time, what you lose, what you discover and rediscover. A kind of thermometer of life that passes through all its phases which remind you of who you were and where you come from.
If you had to choose a symbol to represent you what would it be?
An old crooked tattoo that I have on my leg, a game of tic-tac-toe that ended in a draw, played with a very important person.
Overturning the rules: if you could, what rule would you like to break up?
In these times of hyper-connectivity, making us more apathetic and less inclined to get out and discover new things, our willingness to react or support our causes has faded. We have lost touch with reality and to some extent we have become unaccustomed to thinking and acting with our brains, to express ourselves independently, without rhetorical boundaries – we should all stop for a moment and go back to thinking. I think this could be a revolutionary act. What I would like to unhinge is not really a rule: I’d like to suggest a change of mindset, an intellectual revolution that each one of us can apply, an invite to awake our intelligence and our soul.
Your most successful project and your personal way of designing…
I work like this: once I have organized the fundamental outlines of the project, I let a bit of chance to guide me. I never get tired of nature and therefore I prefer to solve an unexpected event when it comes up rather than think about it preventively. My most successful project is the one I’m working on at the moment, Cockney Rhyming Slang, with photographer Pietro Cocco.
What is the material for you?
A cold marble slab that becomes a Canova.
A contemporary artist, a designer and a photographer that you consider significant, and why.
Artist: Brad Phillips | Designer: Jonny Banger aka SportsBanger | Photographer: Victor Cobo / Luca Baioni
The common characteristic between the first one and the last ones is the coexistence with their own demons and the management of those. On the other hand, I value SportsBanger which has taken the concept of bootleg to another level through a political message, sarcasm and popular fashion brands.
A short-term and a long-term project that you would like to realize.
Short-term projects that I would like to realize: a trip to Jamaica this winter. Long-term: go look for Jason’s golden fleece in Georgia.
Petra Valenti, b. 1988. She starts her career in 2007 as photographer for music concerts and editorials in London, where she lives continuously until 2014. Among the numerous publications we mention: The Guardian, Vice, i-D, Live Magazine, Carhartt. In 2014 she begins an intense collaboration with the Cesura collective, leading her to work in independent publishing and curating the Cesura Publish division. She lives and works between Milan and London where she is developing a long-term project on the Cockney language.
– Interview by Federica Tattoli
Instagram Petra Valenti