Awareness is what I want to begin with
Silvana Trevale is a London based fashion and documentary photographer. Silvana was born in Caracas, Venezuela and today she uses the power of her voice to bring towards awareness on the situation in her hometown. Striving to spark the inception for change in the lives of people Silvana creates and photographs projects as ‘Venezuelan Youth’ the experience of people, the unique story of hardship and of love.
The polarity between strong fashion photography and documentary stylistics, between aesthetics and the cry to bring about change is immense. The distance between the two approaches is reconciled and brought closer by the element of storytelling that passes between genres and is present in projects as ‘Soccer Bible ft. Adidas’.
Silvana has been chosen as a recipient of the Joan Wakelin Award to document the lives and reality of several families in Venezuela.
Hi Silvana, what was your favorite course at the University of Huddersfield?
Overall I enjoyed all my courses during my B.A., however, in my second year one of the courses was based on working on a narrative project. Personally, it was a challenge, and this course was what I could call the break between leaving behind my interest to creating work solely focused on the aesthetic rather than the concept. It opened my practice to look at work differently and to produce images I am passionate about.
Which trick do you use in your professional career from what you have learned during your B.A.?
Apart from all the skills I obtained while working in the studio and using different types of equipment, I would say that I learned when researching for a new project
it is important to look at not only photographic work but explore different forms of arts.
Also, something very important which could seem obvious, was when we had big speakers come to the university to talk about their experience, the importance of presenting yourself confidently to them, networking is key in this industry.
When you go back to your hometown which two places you would love to visit again first?
I would love to go back to La Gran Sabana, a rural area of Venezuela. I am hoping to plan a trip and stay there for a month and shoot a whole project. Also, another area called Rio Caribe which I am visiting this Christmas for an upcoming project.
Name three photographers to keep an eye on.
Thomas Duffield, Max Miechowski and Flora McLean.
When shooting fashion editorials where do you take inspiration from?
Vivian Sassen has a lot of impact on my fashion practice. Also, I discovered Alexander Saladrigas work not long ago, and I find it's beautiful. Kristin-Lee Molman has also inspired a lot of my work.
What is the best part of your profession?
"I feel blessed to have the chance to document such important stories and situations in my country. It is a beautiful feeling — to know that you are part of a change, even a little part. Also, the people I get to know in the fashion industry, there are such incredible minds out there".
What is the last book you read?
I am currently reading 'Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs' by Henry Carroll. It is a very light good read about photographs, simple with good descriptions.
How does social media affect your work? And what is the most positive aspect of social media in your opinion?
I believe that social media has both positive and negative aspects, it is an accessible platform to share your work. For me, it has been great to find commercial clients and showcase my work easily.
Which narrative of the 21st century is closest to your heart and you wish to have an impact on?
The situation in my home country, Venezuela has reached a point where there is no hope for my people. It isn’t a global issue, however, it's a situation which has affected me deeply, and it is the reason to produce the work I make. I hope to make a positive impact, awareness is what I want to begin with, and finally be able to help families personally.
You take part in many exhibitions. What is the most exciting part before, during or after your works are presented?
I would say it is during the opening night. It's an amazing feeling to see people looking at your work and see what reactions it has on the public. However, the process of printing the images and putting them up on the wall is great too.
How living in the UK changed your perspective on the subjects to photograph?
"It is hard to pinpoint an exact change in my work, however, I was very influenced by the work I was shown by my tutors and mentors here in the UK. It isn't the same work I have been shown over in my home country or in the USA".
Which element do you take from the documental photography you excel at to the world of fashion?
At this moment I am working on finding a balance between my documentary and fashion, and begin to create images which are the perfect combination of both. I started to take into more consideration space, light, the subject, and especially my process when photographing which is now slower.
What is it you are passionate about in documentary photography?
It could sound cliche, but I am passionate about working with people and their stories. I feel that photography is my tool to share who I get to meet and document it in a way that is my own.
What will be your next project?
I will be going back to Venezuela to produce a similar project about the ‘Venezuelan Youth’, however, I will be working closely with three to four families, spending time at their homes, documenting their day to day, focusing on the youth and their struggles. This project is being funded by the RPS as I was chosen to be this year's recipient of the Joan Wakelin Award.