Fabio Interra: Soul Searching
Italian photographer, Fabio Interra is his own artist and uniquely his own subject.
By: Abby Zirzow
All images featured have been contributed by Fabio Interra Photography
Italian photographer Fabio Interra is looking to find peace after pain. The dark, cloudy hues in his photos are a reflection of his inner turmoil and a desire to start over. His rich use of pathos is demonstrated in the lighting of each photo. A pale, coiled up nude figure illuminates much brighter against a shadowy, heavily wooded landscape. A self-described dreamer, Interra’s work explores the complexity of dreams and the way that they highlight real-life feelings such as longing and suffering.
Inspired by fashion photographer Tim Walker as well as manga animation, Interra fuses creative elements of the art he admires with his own vulnerable, harrowing visual perspective. As he is the subject of his own works, they are a wholly honest depiction of his essence. Amongst the gloomy aesthetic appearance, his nude figure expresses a primal fend for survival, as if he is finding his bearings in a new realm. Despite his own personal intentions behind any piece, he understands that art is seen through the eye of its beholder and can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. At their core, Interra’s photos are soul-bearing depictions of the artist’s emotions that lie beneath the surface, eager to be revealed to the world.
Where are you originally from? Where are you currently located?
I am from Italy and I live in the north of Milan in a little and nice city surrounded, literally, by woods. I like it so much because I usually get inspiration from what I see.
Is there a specific location(s) where you do most of your shoots?
Yes, of course, I love so much to shoot in the woods, lakes, rivers and so on. I love everything that is nature with natural lighting.
How would you describe your style?
Well, first of all, I want to say that my style is a collection of experiences and feelings that have helped to grow my photography and the way I see things. I am trying to translate my everyday emotions into dramatic pictures. I create my photos whenever I experience deep emotional pain. If I should choose some adjectives to describe my works, they would be: emotionally charged, dramatic, and gloomy.
Would you describe this pain as a dark and pervasive pain, a lighter pain that is inspired by hope, or somewhere in the grey?
Everybody can understand their own condition. My pain is dark and I can't stand it anymore. It's terrible living like this, living a life that does not wish to live. I cannot find peace and sometimes my photography is not enough. I remember when I was a little child, there was such a sense of being carefree. And I guess thinking, “so, this could be happiness?” But now, I have forgotten that sense. I cannot remember it. When you grow up, you have to look at life in the face and know it for what it is. Lately, I feel more confused because I think I feel something for someone, but I'm not quite what it is. Maybe it's a feeling akin to love, even though I don't know very well what love is. We can't always have who we really want.
When did you get interested in photography?
I've been always interested in photography. I remember I always had a camera. I took so many pictures and I bought so much film too. But the ”true” photography came into my life after a summer holiday, 2009, spent in a beautiful place, La Conquet, in Bretagne. The magical place, the amazing light, and the atmosphere enchanted me. So, once I returned home, I decided to get a masters and enter the photography world. My passion for art grew after I attended an evening class at the "Italian Institute of Photography" in Milan. Since then, I've never stopped shooting.
What ideas do you explore and what ideas do your images explore?
I'd like to speak to as many people as possible through my pictures but it's not all about ego. Taking pictures, it's just like a cure for me and I was surprised when people started to thank me by direct messages for what I am doing with my photography because some of them are going through a similar moment. I mean, they wrote to thank me and I can’t believe it. Incredible! I am happy because some of them started to take some self-portraits too after seeing my pics. I am very grateful for the kind words that people write to me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support.
Who/what are some of your greatest inspirations and muses?
I have always loved the photography of Tim Walker, I think he is awesome at what he does. I am so impressed by the way he shoots; the ideas, the general mood, the locations, and of course the details. Everything is so perfect. I also love Paolo Roversi, Eugenio Recuendo, Kirsty Mitchell and Annie Leibovitz. But at present, my greatest inspirations are nature and my misery. I like so much walking in the woods, especially during the cold season. Unfortunately, l have not lately because it's so sunny here and this winter it was so warm. I also find inspiration from music and movies.
How is the inspiration of Manga present in your work?
I love the creativity of some manga illustrations so much and I take inspiration from some of the details and use them for my pictures.
Why do you think you are attracted to fantasy? What do you connect to in it? Are your daydreams tinted with fantasy?
Basically, I am a dreamer and all that is dreamy and wonderful gets my attention.
What is one dream that inspired a piece?
In most of my dreams, I am suffocating, but not physically. It's just like a feeling, I don't know how to explain it well. So, I am trying to express this feeling with some pictures in a metaphorical way, for example using a glass Cloche.
Are you more interested in conveying a sense of magic or a sense of metaphor in your photos? Or both?
There is a deep sense of metaphor in most of my pics, at least I am trying to do this. But you know, I guess it depends on the people who are watching. Each of us has a different way of looking at something.
Any advice for aspiring and growing artists?
“Never stop believing in yourself." Even if, for example, you will have some people against you. I am speaking from personal experience. Be surprised by all the small things. And even if things get heavy, be proud of what you do. And of course, you have to “work hard” to get results. Do be led by your emotions.
Is there anything about the “art world” or “art culture” that you find frustrating or would like to see improved?
Well, speaking of the “art world”, it's very frustrating how also in this area, most of the time, you can work well if you have some recommendations and maybe you are not so good and do not have great skills. Also, unfortunately, social connections are a double-edged sword.
Are there certain people or organizations you would like to work with?
I've been working on myself for about half a year and for the moment, this is my personal project. Actually, I never thought to work with any organizations.
What shoot has been the most memorable for you?
I don't have a memorable shoot in particular. I have beautiful memories of all of my projects because, in each of them, there is a piece of my heart and my emotions.
What has the experience of photographing yourself, creating conceptual self-portraits taught you? How have these experiences affected you?
I've learned about my body, my fears, my limits, and especially I've learned what I can bear and how to survive.
What are the benefits of studying art in an academic setting?
Actually, I cannot answer precisely because I didn't study art at school, I studied accounting, which was my parents’ choice. But I think being in contact with art every day for the whole day could be amazing and may develop a great sensibility, but this depends on what you have inside.
What is the most fulfilling part of the creative process for you?
The result of all of my efforts. Maybe not everybody can understand what's behind all this, but seriously, I put my entire soul, time, and all of my energy into my self-portraits because some situations are very extreme. I love shooting in cold, rain, and snow.
What camera do you shoot with?
I have a Canon 5D mark IV as my main camera with 24-70 2.8 Canon, 85 1.8 Canon, and a 70-200 2.8 Tamron lens.