Written by Monica Camozzi
Photo by Marco Glaviano
The question in the title is provocative, but not overly so. Can photographs change the world? Looking at Alessia Glaviano raises this question. An endemic, minimalist sophistication with a barely noticeable fashion flick.
An aesthetic code that does not disregard the long hair gathered in chignons and pendants that recall the folklore of exotic cultures. But behind the classic face, the measured manners, lies the iron will of someone who uses the power of images with a precise intent.
She, Head of Global PhotoVogue and Director of the PhotoVogue Festival, is a nume tutelare -yes, we use this definition without divine meaning but with awareness- of photography.
By training, family background, passion, role and experience. What makes his work extraordinary, however, is the strong perceptive capacity of the social fabric that overcomes geo-political barriers to become, quite simply, human narrative. Without excesses of emotional ‘saturation’, with a measured but powerful narrative. She expresses more with a picture than a treatise on cultural anthropology.
Fashion and social issues seem really tense and antithetical, perhaps because the former is considered the reign of the superfluous. Can the language of aesthetics be used to raise awareness?
Things have changed a lot in recent times, fashion is no longer elitist and unapproachable. We live in a more inclusive world. Fashion is a language, as is photography, and through fashion and photography many different stories can be told.
Your vocation to see -using the eye of photography- people and social dynamics is evident: do you think that inequalities will diminish or will human nature in your opinion always create divisions?
My professional intent is to combine ethics and aesthetics, this is what guides my choices. ‘I believe it is possible, through art, to shift people’s gaze on society’s issues’ I wish I could leave the world a little better than I found it.
How do you select the talents of Photovogue? What makes a project worthwhile?
Authenticity and above all vision. These are the qualities I believe a talent must have. The images that ‘pierce’ are those made by those who truly believe in the project they are working on.
You have a degree in political economy with a mathematical focus… that seems to lead away from photography…
Not really! Mathematics is like philosophy, it takes you into a creative world, much more than rational. I studied both, mathematics and philosophy, I had chosen economics with the desire to work for developing countries. In the end I combined the two, the artistic soul and the social objective.
I have always wondered how I could use my role to try, in my own small way, to make reality better.
Your vocation to see -using the eye of photography- the people and social dynamics of what we arrogantly call the Third World is evident: do you think inequalities will be mitigated or will human nature in your opinion always create divisions?
We at Condé Nast believe in the power of change and a more inclusive world.
In the last edition of the PhotoVogue Festival, one of the exhibitions was dedicated to the most inclusively powerful covers of all the different world editions of Vogue.
Similarly, many fashion designers are committed to this. Of course, there is still much to be done, but we have made great strides in recent years and are heading in the right direction.
Certainly there are those who do it for a blind profit motive, with a sham and opportunistic façade alignment, but in the end the result is important. If things change, then there is no going back.
The thinness of models has also changed a lot in the last 10 years, fortunately there are now also many curvy girls walking the catwalks and populating the pages of fashion magazines.
The most beautiful photo you have seen and the most beautiful photo you have taken.
Impossible to answer. Assessments change depending on the day and the mood. The artists who have influenced contemporary life are so numerous that it is difficult to identify a single image.
Why are there so few women taking pictures of women’s bodies? Are we still in such a male-centric perspective?
Things have also changed a lot here. In 2016, I curated an exhibition, The Female Gaze, dedicated to young women photographers who have revolutionized the female gaze, because in the past, the way of photographically representing women was mostly objectifying, predatory.
There had been a few artists capable of turning the scenario upside down. One above all, Bettina Rheims, in my opinion a giant for her ability to take the message far beyond objectification.