We had a lovely chat with Italian-raised, London-based photographer Claudia Guariglia about her love of the lens, her subjects and the general power of photography. You can see more of Claudia's stunning shots in issue 2 of Lodestars Anthology, due out in March next year.
What do you love about photography?
I like capturing instants. I love how photography makes it possible to freeze something as a picture and keep it forever. It’s just an image, but still whenever I look at it, it will tell me something about that particular moment of my life, what I was feeling, maybe bring to my mind something I forgot. Time scares me a little, somehow, and with photography I feel like I can stop it every now and then, and get to keep memories, both of important steps in my life or just those everyday little things that maybe made me smile, or simply stop and think.
Digital or film - which do you prefer and why?
Definitely film. I do like digital of course, it’s convenient and quick, and allows you to do all sorts of things that I cannot do with film (considering I don’t develop it by myself).
Still, the feeling with film is completely different. I wouldn’t know how to explain it. I've tried many times but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’m just so much happier and satisfied with my film pictures as opposed to when I shoot digital, I feel like they convey better my own vision of things. There’s something romantic to it, like film could actually really capture the atmosphere of every different moment, and this is actually particularly obvious with polaroids, as the colors tend to change depending on the temperature in which the pics develop. So, if for example you’re shooting outside and it’s winter, you’ll get colder colours, and that’s such a nice touch to it. It just adds some more value to the picture.
Can you remember the first photograph you took?
Not really, but I remember that when I finally got my own first camera, I was about 12. I used to take a lot of pictures of clouds. And the sea. Not very original, for sure, but I was born and grew up by the sea so I always felt some sort of connection with it.
Before that, I used to steal my dad’s camera whenever we went out just to look through the lens and play a bit with it, but it was so heavy and I was so little. I don’t think I ever did more than just that.
What inspires your work?
It depend. What I like most is taking simple, natural pictures, true depictions of what surrounds me, so I’d say I’m inspired by everyday life. I love capturing light, and I like interiors, so I’m inspired by new places - other people’s houses and the different way natural light acts in different environments or times of the year.
I also like fashion, so sometimes I’m inspired by that. New clothes, shops windows, something catches my eye and I either just want to capture it or feel the urge to create something out of it. I don’t always follow the same pattern.
How would you define your style?
True, I guess. I like taking care of composition, I like looking for the perfect framing and the perfect light, but at the same time I want my pictures to look real, true. The pictures I usually like the most (which are not necessarily the ones other people prefer, it goes without saying) are the ones I didn’t even plan to take, and they’re usually film, so there’s no post production.
I like taking self portraits, so those are important to me as well, but I have a different approach when it comes to taking pictures of myself. I still try to convey what’s going on through my mind and in my life, but they’re, obviously, less spontaneous, there’s more work behind them. Still, what I always try to have in my images is simplicity.
What do you love to photograph most?
I like taking pictures of whatever catches my eye. What I love are details, tiny little things that would maybe normally go unnoticed. So whether it be a portrait, still life, or whatever, I try to focus on those little things: hand gestures, maybe the particular way someone sits, details in the window of a shop or house, that tiny crack on a mug. Photography makes me focus more on what surrounds me, and I always had the weird habit of noticing apparently useless things. Capturing them in an image makes the picture alive, it helps telling a story.
How does travelling influence your work?
I’d ask “how does my work influences travelling”, actually. I probably give too much importance to taking pictures while visiting a new place, some people might think I don’t really enjoy myself, that I’m too focused on photographing everything rather than living an experience, and maybe they’re right, who knows. But I think photography helps me take in everything I see when I’m travelling, especially if I’m alone. I love taking my time to observe everything, slowing down when I want to, shoot some maybe useless, maybe not, pics, and so on.
Travelling is so inspiring, you get to see places that look nothing like the ones you’re used to, meet different people, generally take in something that’s new and exciting, and that somehow changes and enriches you. If I had the chance I’d be travelling all over the world non stop, and possibly I’ll be doing so sometime in the future.
Have you taken a particularly memorable photograph while travelling?
All the photos I take while travelling are memorable for me as they obviously remind me of a beautiful and exciting experience. The most memorable ones though usually have little or nothing to do with the place I was visiting, rather they focus on what I was doing or who I was with.
This photo (click here) for example, is a pic I shot in Seville, and even if it was a couple of years ago I still like it and find it an important and memorable picture as it reminds me of a certain, not necessarily amazing but still important moment in my life. Yet, I could have shot the same picture anywhere. Same goes for other pictures I took in England, Scotland, or other places I’ve been traveling to. It’s totally subjective, completely personal.
What is your dream subject?
When I say 'if I had the chance I’d be travelling all over the world' I mean it, so I guess my dream subject would be the whole world? I know it sounds silly and very generic, but as I like taking pictures of real life. I’d love to be able to travel the world, meet people, visit their houses, maybe taking portraits of them in their personal spaces. Seeing something new everyday, stop every now and then in a cafè or a small restaurant, capturing and making mine everything around me, carrying around just a film camera. That would be simply amazing.
Where can we see more of your work?
I have tonnes of pics on my Flickr page, even very old ones no one would probably want to see. You can find them here. I also have a tumblr, that I try to update as regularly as possible and a small portfolio on cargocollective.