In the first instalment of Creator Stories, Alla Chiara Luzztelli lifts the lid on her multi-disciplinary approach to documentation.
Creator Stories is a series in support of the Adobe Creator Collective, a new collaborative hub intended to inspire others. In the first instalment, photographer Alla Chiara Luzztelli lifts the lid on her multi-disciplinary approach to documentation, sharing how she seeks out quiet, cinematic moments amid the daily whir and buzz.
Alla Chiara Luzzitelli is an artist with a magpie-like fascination regarding the possibilities of visual media. Based in Turin, Italy, she has developed from an accomplished portrait photographer to a maker of poetic short films, all as a result of an enquiring mind, and a series of exciting collaborations with other artists.
It’s this commitment to collaboration that makes Luzzitelli a core member of the Adobe Creator Collective, an online creative community that connects a diverse network of artists from across Europe. The platform exists to champion authenticity, and inspire others to create: the collective regularly offer tips and advice to Adobe users, with Adobe providing free assets for up-and-coming creators to get started themselves.
To mark her involvement, Luzzitelli reveals the points on her journey, and also how her various, diverse inspirations feed into the moment of her own creation.
When did you first get into photography? Tell us about your journey.
I got into photography when I was 14 and needed an outlet for my thoughts – a means to visually represent what I saw and felt. I started experimenting with self-portraits, which allowed me to understand myself. I had my first exhibition the same year in Turin, where I still live. The project comprised 10 portraits of people I didn’t know, and the aim was to pull out the most delicate side of the subjects. At 17 I started working in Milan shooting fashion editorials. I found it difficult relating to the world of fashion at first – it’s very different from creating personal work. I had to try to combine my style with what the industry required from the imagery.
In 2019 I started studying cinema in Turin, and I made my first self-portrait short film: Tre Atti per Due Fiori (Three Acts for Two Flowers). It was a very important project for me — it felt as if I was confronting something bigger than myself. In 2020 I made my first musical short film, Procedura di Liberazione (Procedure of Liberation), which was based around adaptations of my poetry. I worked on it in collaboration with the Italian composer Mattia Vlad Morleo. We talk about silence, the passing of time, and the search for freedom.
Your approach to photography is very cinematic. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Primarily from my memories, from my desires, and from nature. The latter is essential to my life. I often take refuge in my country house, where I create and produce. The nature that surrounds me there allows me to understand the silences and many small moments of everyday life, which I can’t find in the city.
You cross mediums frequently, from film to writing to music. Do you have a different creative approach for each format?
My approach is different for each. In some ways, writing is the basis of the other artistic techniques I use. I write many thoughts: Sometimes they remain in written form and other times they become imagery or music. Photography has become somewhat automatic, while writing and music are new worlds for me yet to discover. When I write music, I try to write as if I have to tell someone my thoughts. When I film, I try to show that which is not visible — the emotional aspect of being human. I try to give a lot of space to moments that may seem boring at face value but actually hide great depth of feeling.
What tips would you give to aspiring photographers?
Try to make an idea happen before it disappears. Ideas can be fleeting, so when inspiration hits you, seize on it. Just dive in and experiment. Don’t be afraid of not being enough, because when you have the desire and the need to tell a story, you will learn from telling it. Owning your curiosity is essential.
Tell us about your favourite photographer or director at the moment.
As part of my studies, I’ve been watching Italian films from the 1950s and ’60s. I’m fascinated by the poetics of Vittorio De Sica and Zavattini, and by their ability to make ordinary people so compelling onscreen. I am also passionate about French New Wave Cinema, Godard in particular. I believe that today’s cinema needs to experiment more and to change the narrative patterns, so I don’t really have any favourites from the contemporary scene.
Could you share an artwork/photograph by another artist you have hanging in your room, and why?
One artist I really appreciate is definitely Marina Abramovic – in my room, along with my projects, you can easily realise that she is my favourite artist…. When I met her for the first time, I was 17 years old and was immediately struck by it. I think that she and I have many things in common at the level of artistic thought, but also different fragments of personal life. I recognise myself in some way.
What piece of work are you most proud of and why?
An extremely difficult question, but I think it is that of Procédure De Libération. It was born as an album of musical poems and transformed into a short film that brought me into five film festivals around the world – as well as at the Florence Biennale. I’m proud of this project because I always knew it would be bigger than me the moment I started working on it. This ‘obstacle’ allowed me to break those walls and go beyond, to study, to be more curious about many emotional aspects – and, above all, to grow emotionally.
What’s your dream project? Something you’ve not yet done.
My dream at project level is to make a film about my past in Russia; that’s a story I want to tell. Another dream would be to release some of my musical productions, a mixture of poems and ambient music.