Photography of Federica Sala

About me : I am Italian, of class 1988 and currently London-based. I have no photography background of any sort, and even though I took up my father’s Minolta and started taking pictures at a very young age (mostly for the sake of it), I still feel like I have just taken the first steps into this world.

Although my father had been an amateur enthusiast with his own self-made darkroom, I haven’t been exactly encouraged to take photography further than what he had always thought of it – a weekend passion that wouldn’t really bring you anywhere, and that’s exactly how I treated it in between high school and early university years.

After graduating in Japanese studies, I moved to Tokyo and found a job as an assistant curator for an independent photography gallery, having the chance to work with old masters and emerging talents of Japanese photography. It was then that something finally switched in me, that I thought “That’s it. That’s what I like, what I want it to be.” and I decided to keep travelling that route, to learn and experiment with my own pace and for my own goals.

My statement and preferences, etc. : I am on a constant hunger for stories, narratives of people and places. I take endless travels, meaning both physical trips and emotional journeys. I am interested in the junctures and interactions of humans and their personal environment, of mundane and extraordinary; I am deeply aware of the perception of time and space, and I would like to reflect into my photography.Rather than spending lengthy chatters on my projects, I like to let viewers elaborate their own meaning around the images, by identifying in or pushing themselves away from the feelings that I try to put there.

Equipment-wise, I shoot both digital, film and instant. Despite not having a full frame camera, I try to push my best out of my Nikon D-7000, while my film camera of choice is a simple Pentax K-1000 with a standard 50mm lens. I am not afraid to explore even the possibilities of a smartphone, when the right idea comes to mind: I am pretty open to any method of expressing yourself, as long as it enhances your creativity.

My projects : I have tons of pictures of Asia, of the places I lived in while in Japan and the travels I took to other countries, which I have bound together in a sort of a still documentary series. As a spin-off of the colorful, calm and bright atmosphere permeating those images, I shot the pictures of “Neighbour Walks” on a black and white film with heavy contrast, when I spent three some months in Tokyo living in an all-foreign household, experiencing all the difficulties of a reality that didn’t really wanted to integrate us. It was a bittersweet period of my life – there were friends, work, relationships, alcohol and custody battles. Travel and personal experiences often mix together in my photography.

I am currently working on a series I started during months of severe clinic depression, when I started losing hair and going to bed wishing I wouldn’t open my eyes the next morning .

On future projects, I would like to focus on the human body, conceptually and in context, and I would probably resolve to use my own flesh as training ground. Working mostly with friends and family as models, I often find difficult to go down a certain route because I want to make sure they feel comfortable in front of the camera - even if that means detouring from what I originally had in mind.

My influences and favorite stuff : I heavily admire the warm and neat aesthetics of some contemporary young photographers, such as Alessia Leporati, Nick Prideaux and Regan Brantley. I am absolutely in love with Japanese black and white photography from the 60s and the 70s and deeply involved in the new experimentations of female photographers of different ages and nationalities (Tokyo Rumando, Juno Calypso).

As I mentioned, I love narratives and I am a voracious bookworm, and many of the pictures I took throughout the years come from as the expression of a flow of words that I might have read, written or only thought about. I am still struggling to find a pattern that defines my work, and maybe I don’t even really want that: my mind has always been a clusterfuck of ideas, passions, focuses and styles, and I am starting to think I should not be ashamed to let it slip into my work as well.

Federica Sala : Website | Instagram | Flickr