In addition to many awards from art festivals and competitions, Italian photographer and artist Paolo Iommelli also has many degrees under his belt. After studying art and photography, he graduated from the University Federico II (Naples) in Philosophy of Language, with a thesis on “Myths and Symbols”, and obtained a Master’s in social photography. He is also specialized in Visual Anthropology.
His recent body of work which features mannequins in unlikely places and semi-surreal portraits emphasize the point of view that “no one can really know the others”.
What follows is artist’s reflection on the process of developing his ideas and his creative statement in his own words.
We often find ourselves in front of hidden, masked figures that hide their inner beings. In other words, throughout history, we certainly can’t understand people just by their appearance. “The mystery is the banality that unites all things and all our visual interactions”.
The main aspect of my professional research is that I have never been interested in a complacent and indulgent photography, but I am passionate about issues that involve me emotionally. Photography before being made with eyes and lights, has to be envisioned with the heart.
…The mystery is the banality that unites all things.
Because of my educational background, I am interested in the ancient world and the surreal dimension of the world around me. Magritte paintings also inspire me a lot: In those artworks there is no man but everything speaks of his despair and his abandonment.
The scene of my photos is always deserted, immersed in silence, there is rarely more than one human figure. If there is more than one, a dramatic lack of communication between the subjects seems to emerge.
My photographic subjects seem extraneous to the environment in which they are immersed. I like to photograph silence. My characters are wrapped in their desperate thoughts, with their eyes lost in the void, transmitting solitude, expectation, AND inaccessibility, and a psychoanalytic dimension.
The images have bright colors but do not transmit liveliness, the spaces are real but in them there is something metaphysical that communicates to the viewer a strong sense of uneasiness. “I do not photograph what I see, but what I feel”.