Subject Matter Art


Subject Matter in conversation with: our artist Alice Marinelli (Part 1)

In this interview one of our youngest female artists, Alice Marinelli, tells us how she fell in love with photography and how taking pictures became for her a therapeutic act of self- exploration…

Subject Matter: So, Alice, can you tell us when you became interested in photography?


Alice: My interest in photography increased throughout my childhood by observing my dad taking photos. I have always been impressed by his stunning pictures, especially by his pictorial landscapes and his insightful portraits, and I have always admired the fact that his photos have a strong identity. His passion, his enthusiasm, and his talent aroused my curiosity for this medium and prompted me to learn how to use the camera. I wanted to express myself through photography, and yet at the beginning I felt unable to find a visual language that could really convey my insights and my perception of the world. I struggled until I decided to experiment, to defy the camera, to challenge the idea of the “right”, perfectly focused, sharp picture in order to represent instead either an inner or an outer dimension that is constantly changing, that doesn’t stop, a world of sensations.



Subject Matter: When did you realize you wanted to become a photographer?


Alice: It happened in the very moment in which I found my aesthetics. I was going through what I can define as the hardest year of my life, a really sad and arduous period in which photography became my remedy, a sort of therapy through which I could look within myself. That “photographic self-analysis” resulted in my series Misguided Ghosts, a confrontation with, and eventually a defeat of my ghosts. By meeting myself in front of the lens, I discovered a way to set free what I felt trapped within, a way to express the overwhelming whirl of emotions that I found myself unable to deal with otherwise. In this moment I realized how important photography was for me, and that I wanted to keep using this art as a personal and insightful visual language.



Subject Matter: How does your Italian background influence your artistic practice?


Alice: I grew up in Rome, surrounded by its extraordinary art. This culturally rich environment undoubtedly contributed to my passion for artistic expressions of any kind. I grew more and more interested in Art History, up to deciding I wanted to study it at University and to work in this field. While I love studying art, I found in photography a way to put theory into practice, to materialise the ideas and impulses raised by looking at the works of other artists and to communicate in the first person, through my images. I definitely think that this environment provided me with a way of looking, a passion for creating, and an abundance of ideas that allowed me to find a way to express myself in an artistic practice.



Subject Matter: Which photographers inspired you when you started your career in photography?

Alice: The photographers who inspired me the most are for sure Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Francesca Woodman. I admire Doisneau’s humanist photographs since they try offer an optimistic picture of 20th century Parisian life, to bring back light among the darkness left by the Second World War, and by doing so they teach how to look at what makes life beautiful. Bresson inspired me for his concept of the “decisive moment”, the unrepeatable now and there that make an instant exceptional and unique. I always keep in mind his teachings, his patient waiting for that something, that coincidence, that makes a moment decisive, a picture unforgettable. Finally, Francesca Woodman deeply touched me with her intimate and surreal self-portraits in which her body blurs, becoming one and the same thing with its surroundings. Her pictures, more than those of any other photographer, made me think about photography as a tool to explore the innermost, invisible sides of the human being, including my own ones.


You can see more of Alice’s extraordinary work on her own Instagram page and, of course, on the Subject Matter website.

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