Elena Cremona (b.1991) received a Bachelor Degree in Photography from the prestigious Arts University Bournemouth in 2015. She has lived in Germany, USA, and UK and has travelled extensively to work on social documentary, environmental portraiture and landscape reportage. Her landscape images featured here are atmospheric and display the ethereal raw beauty of Earth, unaltered and unaffected by human greed or activities. Elena also shoots very impressive personal and commercial projects and I especially liked her series Limitscapes. Here’s more from Elena with a selection of her silent faces of Earth:
My name is Elena Cremona, I was born in Munich (Germany) to a German mother and an Italian father. I have been fortunate enough to experience a variety of cultures with my upbringing by having lived in California, England and Germany throughout my life. My dream is to continue to move from place to place and engage with different people and societies. I deem it important for my life to get to know cultures outside of my own knowledge and experience. My passion is the environment and how we, the people, treat it.
Through my daily observations of the places I encounter and am surrounded by, I am oddly captivated by my dislike towards mundane geometrical and architectural spaces, which depict the shapes and constructions of our built environment – a world manufactured entirely by Humans. These structures are a symbol of the destruction of Nature and Man’s ability to crush and destroy vast areas across the world. My work mainly focuses on natural structures and I am interested in the architecture of spaces. I portray the natural world and ask people to really pay attention to something I consider overlooked.
I think my work could fall under a lot of classifications. I studied Fine Art Photography at University with a style of documentary photography as I mostly depict the landscapes and the environment that surround us. For some of my work, which needs an extra depth of meaning, I will experiment with different methods that classifies my work as more fine art. It really is up to the viewer on how they identify with my work and what emotions it triggers with them.
Images that depict Nature and the environment, as well as how human interference has affected the way we see and interact with Nature.
Tell us about your method(s) or critical approaches of shooting? How much of your work is carefully planned vs. spontaneous?
It honestly depends on the project. As my work is mostly self-funded and self initiated, it is more spontaneous. I like travelling to different places in the world and just shooting what I see. Depending on the outcome of my project, I will experiment with different methods of altering the image to convey my message better.
I turned to analogue photography as an act of rebellion against my home-town and their obsession with perfection. I grew up in a culture where you would be judged upon your looks and how you presented yourself; I always set myself apart from this stigma through my photography, allowing me to control my own settings and outcome. Shooting film allows me to rebel against the so-called ‘perfection’ society forced upon me and recreate a world I deem to be beautiful by all it’s mistakes, grains and imperfections. Digital, as well as commercial ideas of perception are irrelevant to me.
I own a couple of 35mm cameras, which I use for street photography and candid shots, whereas I only shoot Nature and the environment on my Mamiya RB67. By shooting film instead of digital, I feel more involved in the process. It’s almost like a journey until the finished image whereas with digital, you shoot and that’s it. Unpredictability and flawed outcomes are two intrinsic elements when it comes to shooting in film; I love the excitement and satisfaction this brings when I develop the images. Modern society has given rise to the digital medium of photography, which lacks the hands-on involvement and creativity that analogue photography brings to the table.
I think contemporary photography can be classified in various different ways. Unfortunately I personally don’t think much of commercial photography such as fashion, advertising etc. – I think it’s only money based. I think the concept of social media is great, it gives everyone the opportunity to reach out to a wider audience, as well as be more connected to different parts of the world.
What I really don’t like though is the use of photography in social media (such as selfies) – I think it’s a very narcissistic and vain concept.
To me, art is a powerful movement to bring ideas across to the rest of the world, photography especially as it can document a truth. Some people choose to create pretty pictures that speak to the fashion industry and consumerism ideas, I think that such a powerful medium as photography should be used to educate and school the world.
What are your future plans/projects, ambitions, inspirations etc.?
My main focus and aim is to raise awareness for Climate Change through photography. My main environmental concerns are the destruction of our irreplaceable landscapes and extinction. The melting of the Arctic ice is leading to an increasing amount of absorption of heat on our earth – this changes the whole dynamic of our planet. Climate change is recognized as a major threat to our biodiversity and environment and it will lead to the extinction of thousands of species within the next 100 years. Nature will have its revenge on humanity.
Working in the field I do, promoting awareness for climate change and other issues that are wrong with the world, is not only something I do to educate people, it’s something I do with a huge passion. My work is an expression and even an extension of myself, so yes, I do get very emotional about my work, as I want others to understand it’s more than just a pretty picture – it’s a way of communication.
At the moment I am part of an exhibition called ‘YOU WILL END BY DESTROYING THE EARTH’ which runs at Metro Imaging Front of House Gallery in London from the 2nd of December – 9th of December with a closing event on the 9th (6:30pm – 9pm). It is a lens based exhibition that focuses on bringing the issues around Climate Change into focus.
My favourite photographers are James Balog, Edward Burtynsky, Richard Mosse, Henri-Cartier Bresson, Ansel Adams, and Elliot Porter.
Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the Earth. – Albert Schweitzer
My favourite book is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
Something to say to our readers or aspiring photographers (or random words of wisdom):
Always be true to what you believe in.