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00047 Valeria Tofanelli Eyeshot

Valeria Tofanelli and the Roman Coast on the edge of abstraction

Valeria Tofanelli is an Italian photographer based in Rome, Italy, where she was born and raised. She approached photography to escape from the routine, starting to shoot without a specific idea but simply photographing anything that caught her attention. In a short time, she realized that she was fascinated by the ordinary life that surrounded her, because photography allowed her to reinterpret it as she wanted, in a completely free way. Through linear compositions and intense use of color, she creates representations of reality bordering on abstraction.

Together with Lorenzo Catena, she is co-author of “Mareterno” published by Eyeshot in 2022. The project tells about the slow discovery of the Roman coast, Ostia, especially to question many prejudices that have long affected this territory. Over the course of a year and a half, the two photographers had the opportunity to explore a territory that, although close to home, was not well known by either of them. The in-depth knowledge of this area of Rome has been possible mainly thanks to the interaction with the people they met by chance during their long walks. It is mainly thanks to the experiences lived with these people that the two artists realized that it is possible to give a vision of Ostia far from prejudices.

This view is confirmed in Valeria Tofanelli’s beautiful shot included as a Fine Art Print in the Black Edition of the book. In this picture, the classic summer version of the lido is transformed into a dreamlike place and we asked Valeria Tofanelli a few questions to gain a deeper understanding of all the details behind this composition.

01 Fine Art Frame 30x40cm Tofanelli

Tell us more about the Black Edition shot. When and where was it taken? What experience does it portray? 

The photo was taken in January 2020. I walked on the empty beach of Lido di Ostia, it was very cold, but I was very fascinated by the place in which I was, definitely different from the summer scenarios I was used to. I felt immersed in the context, so I decided to photograph it. 

Why did you decide to capture that precise moment? What drew you to it? 

I was struck by the presence of a large wooden platform in the middle of the deserted beach and I immediately imagined a photo that involved all or part of that structure. I remember that I did not have the goal of seizing a decisive moment, also because there was almost no one on the beach. I wanted to realize a personal vision of the place that could convey a sense of alienation but also a strong involvement with the context in which I was. 

What do you like the most about that photograph? 

Personally, the scene’s surreal context prompted me to take the photo. The clear presence of the red color is due to a gel that I put on my flash to strengthen the bond with the colors of dusk. I think this helped to amplify the suggestions that I felt and that I wanted to convey with this photo. 

What camera and what lens did you use? What Diaphragm, shutter speed and ISO, and why?

Fuji xt20, f 4.5, ISO 800, shutter speed 1/30, and a flash, because I wanted all colors to retain brightness despite the lack of natural light.

As in Lorenzo Catena’s shot, we cannot help but be transported by the dreamlike photography of this artist, who gives us a new interpretation of an overlooked place with a thousand hidden facets. Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go and discover them all together in the limited edition book “Mareterno”!

Catena Tofanelli Black Edition 1