A Pure Sun-Kissed Romantic Photography
Arianna Genghini - a creative soul and a fashion and portrait photographer from Milan, she has recently graduated with an MA in Fashion Photography. Arianna creates a meaningful connection between fashion and nature, capturing beautiful landscapes, exquisitely playing with the lights and shadows on set. Her goal is to discover the human being behind the person working on the set, and she succeeds to create a unique experience for the beholder.
Arianna tells us about her spots archive with places already discovered for the future photoshoots and her inspiration from the natural element.
We speak about working with light on set and the preparation it takes before the actual shooting to learn the scene, about the importance of thought through moodboard, and the connection with the family. She describes her aesthetic as a ‘pure sun-kissed youth with a romantic glance’ and describes the unique way she approaches photography.
"My aesthetic is pure sun-kissed youth, free in movement and posing, diverse and genuine, and intimate with a romantic glance".
Hi Arianna, tell about Milan and how is it for a photographer to be involved in the creative sphere of the city?
Milan is full of inspiration for what concerns fashion, art, and culture. Every day I discover new photographers and designers based in Milan. I love how the city inspires people to start in the creative sphere. Milan welcomes anyone with ideas. Itʼs amazing and surprising. It still feels to me like a child in a big city, but Iʼm getting to know it and how to move into it. Itʼs not that simple to be a groundbreaker in the Milanʼs scene, but there are great chances for everyone.
You shoot a lot on location. Where does the search for the right spot comes and what was your favorite location to shoot at so far?
I feel an incredible connection with nature. Fresh air and greens fill my lungs as daylight does with my pictures. I love spending time surrounded by nature and exploring new places in the mountains or beside lakes. These are in the nearest area outside Milan, sometimes it takes just an hour and a half by car to discover paradise.
Iʼm always in search for beauty, for a special light ray or for a spot where I feel my heart and soul fulfilled. Those are the places I swear I would love to shoot in. I take some phone pics and write notes about how to get there and timing for light, like a sort of spots archive. My favorite spot, for now, is the shore of Lake of Annone, which is the wildest and most unknown of the Lake Area which links Lecco Lake and Como Lake. I shot an incredible editorial project, but there are so many places I would love to shoot in for future projects.
The thought one knows there is behind the right balance of shadows and light in the frame is striking in your works. How do you prepare and overcome the challenges a professional faces with weather, light and technical aspects of shooting outdoors?
Every weather situation has its pros and cons. I just take some time before shootings to study location and how light hits and creates shadows on things and on humans. I think I have an eye for light management by nature. I always look for the right not so much contrasted balance between light and shadows.
On location, I use a 5in1 reflector which helps me a lot like a softbox when light is too harsh or as a light reflector when I have too many shadows. Itʼs so simple anyone could use it. Also, Iʼve began appreciating the use of mirrors as a way to convey rays of the sun: they can help you create incredible light playing on the modelsʼ faces. Last to mention, besides mirrors, is the prism and the crystals which reflect light and create magic. Generally, I use them to give a twist to pictures during cloudy days, when light is soft and flat. Weather could be your best friend or your worst enemy. If itʼs raining, I keep an eye on humidity for lenses, and I try to be in an open sky so thereʼs full light. I never shoot from the bottom, and I try to convey as much light as I can on the model. If itʼs midday, then light could be incredibly harsh. I already shot in this particular daytime, and I knew that shadows would have been really hard and contrasted. While shooting in direct sunlight, I try different angulations for portraying faces and use the 5in1 reflector; also I try not to take pictures backlight.
Graduating from the Politecnico di Milano in Fashion Design and Accessory and Jewelry design how do you think the knowledge you gained in this sphere helps you in creating fashion photography?
First, when I started Uni, I used to see fashion campaigns and editorials featuring collections in the magazines. I had a sort of hunger for fashion images which began when I was a teenager. But then I developed it into something bigger. I think that the best gain from the Uni is the acknowledgement of how the creative process and inputs for collections and designs are thought through. It all starts with keywords, inspirational references from cinema, art, cultural movements, and with feelings.
Moodboards, which are the first step in designing collections, are based on visual emotions. They contain clear and concrete references to follow consistently. Photography needs the same approach, in my opinion. I applied this method to my creative process in the field of photography, and I think it works quite well. I adore researching historic references and getting into a mood board deeply, giving an idea for every single detail like makeup or set.
Who are the most inspiring fashion designers in your opinion and what is unique in their approach to high fashion?
I love how Gucci revolutionised brand identity and how Alessandro Michele put his visionary way of thinking in fashion communication. I also follow some emerging fashion designers like Marine Serre, who introduced some dance/circus inspired rompers which feel to be a second skin with tattoos. They look so groundbreaking and new. I love how she collaborated with photographer Estelle Hanania to shoot a gymnastic inspired campaign. She put a feminine body in a whole new light. Talking about a circus, I loved SS19 collection and runway by Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior. She has done an incredible job at the Maison as the first woman head designer and creative director. Subtle femininity and the feminist approach combined perfectly with the fine elegance of the heritage. Her collections are always so inspiring for every woman on Earth.
How would you describe the aesthetics of your works and how technically are you creating this feeling?
My aesthetic is pure sun-kissed youth, free in movement and posing, diverse and genuine, and intimate with a romantic glance. I donʼt use much calculation, I simply go and get to know the soul of the model. I always say that happy models make a successful shoot, so I try as much as I can to get them comfortable with me and to make them laugh. I love to let them be free, to pose as they want, and then I follow them and direct them, converging it with my own aesthetic. Shooting in nature helps a lot getting in the mood for a shoot, but Iʼm enjoying experimentation in the studio too.
What is the main theme you most care about that you express in your works and how does it help you develop it further?
Diversity. I love shooting diverse models because itʼs always a challenge to find their peculiarity which makes them more interesting to me and to shoot according to their personality. Personalities, as much as faces and bodies, are the most interesting thing for me when I do shootings. I love to choose models personally, and I love to do castings personally at go-sees. Iʼm in the constant search for diversity in models, collaborators, and new shootings. It feeds my curiosity.
"Personalities, as much as faces and bodies, are the most interesting thing for me when I do shootings".
How did you come about the vision for the photo from Photography: Mastered featuring Bianca who very sensually eats blackberries as if she cannot get satiated?
Basically, it was all about the vibes Scotland gave us. My best friend Bianca and I were having a summer road trip in the Highlands when we got in touch with the landscape and folklore stories people still tell. Scotland is imbued with drama and legends. Its nature and inner beauty helped us get in the mood when we stopped by a blackberries bush during a rainy day. We picked up some kilos, and while tasting them, we had the idea.
What is the most important and critical element to get a portrait shoot strong with the right gaze and emotions?
Connection with the model and with the environment. I couldnʼt shoot a perfect portrait in an urban environment if I donʼt feel inspired by the spot. Light is important too, especially right before sunsets. That is the most magical time in which I love to shoot.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you do not work with a camera?
I travel and watch films. I wish I could visit more art galleries but Iʼm a little lazy. I also love fitness and leading a healthy life.
What is your happiest moment from childhood you can share with us?
Family lunches: they were full of laughter and food. Iʼm part of a big South Italian family and my grandpa is our most beloved mascotte. My 7 cousins and my sister have been my best friends since then. Every festivity and every birthday were the right time to reunite and eat a lot. Traditions and roots were and still are very important.