one of the most beautiful things about photography 摄影最美丽的事情之一
Ahead of her debut show, Sandra Cattaneo Adorno discusses her work：
“This is one of the most beautiful things about photography: to evoke feelings and situations in a way that is unconscious and a bit magical”
Where did your love for photographing people in public and on the streets first begin?
I started photographing eight years ago, when my daughter took me to my first photography class as a present for my 60th birthday. It was the summer of 2013, and the course was given by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb in Barcelona. “Oh God,” I replied to my daughter Gwen when she asked me to go, but I went for the fun of it. I had no idea how to use the camera and I was obviously the worst in the class, but for some reason I don’t know,
I really found it fascinating. It was very funny. I had never thought of doing photography, but something just clicked and I loved it.
Your images have such a consistent look. What is your favourite type of light to shoot in?
Visually, I am drawn to strong light and bold colours. I love the way strong light and harsh contrast transform a scene and layer it with mystery as much as I appreciate the strength of bold colours and the immediacy with which they can communicate emotions. I enjoy photographing in strong light because of the way it transforms the scene and loads the images with poetry and mystery through very graphic effects. I also enjoy the light at sunset because of its soft golden tones and the long shadows it creates. In my book on Ipanema, ÁguasdeOuro, the golden light was the predominant visual element, whereas for my new book, THIS PAGE: (Top) Sandra’s latest exhibition takes in Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema Beach. (Above) Her photos capture the beauty of everyday life. (Bottom left) Sandra takes us on a journey through the remembrance of things past.
ScartidiTempo, I played with reflections and colours to enhance the mystery and mood of the scene.
How do you remain so undetected by the people you photograph?
I normally use a zoom lens, which allows me to photograph people from a distance and be undetected. I think being a woman helps, too, as people might feel less threatened by me, and they might accept my presence more
than that of a male photographer. While photographing on Ipanema for Águas
deOuro, I got closer to people and noticed that some of them were a little self-conscious at the beginning, but then carried on doing whatever they were doing without paying too much attention to me. Some other times, people were probably wondering what I was doing taking pictures of windows of shops and restaurants, and didn’t even realise I was capturing their reflections!
If you could carry one lens around for the day, which would it be?
I am drawn to situations both close to me and in the distance, so I use a 24-300mm zoom lens, which gives me a lot of flexibility. I feel comfortable using this lens, as I know what it can and cannot do, so photographing with it has become automatic. I can then be attentive to the scene around me and be more ready to capture moments.
Many of your photographs have quite an abstract feel, like slow shutter speeds, reflections and so on. Is this something you like to try?
For me, a photograph is good not because of what is in the frame, but because of where it takes you. I think this is one of the most beautiful things about photography: to evoke feelings and situations in a way that is unconscious and a bit magical. I do not have control over where the photos might take the viewers, so I think of my images as open-ended and free to be interpreted. That is why I try to increase the enigmatic quality of my photographs by experimenting with reflections and creating abstract images. The photos in Scartidi
Tempo are mostly reflections and composites for this reason.
What advice would you give to someone going out to shoot on the streets for the very first time?
To follow the light and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I think that often, people put too much pressure on themselves when photographing, and almost forget that being on the streets looking for that special moment is an immense joy. I know it can be tiring and frustrating at times, but witnessing the beauty and poetry of the world, framing it with your own personal vision and sharing it with other people are gifts that we should never take for granted.
• Sandra Cattaneo Adorno debuts her first solo exhibition at the 6th edition of Personal Structures, which runs parallel with the 59th Venice Biennale on 23 April-27 November 2022. www.sandracattaneoadorno.com/ aguas-de-ouro
THIS PAGE: (Top) Sandra is fascinated by the way light, shadow, colour and form can create optical illusions.
(Middle) The colour plates (scarti) are separated into cyan, magenta, yellow and black. (Bottom) Through her photography, Sandra feels like she is accumulating “scraps” of time.