Meet the photographer keeping Renaissance art alive

Romina Ressia is known for using anachronisms in her work.

She has been described as one of the most influential conceptual photographers of our time and has won many prices, including the Photographer of the Year award in 2017 by the International Color Awards. But Romina Ressia’s artistic background is shadowed by a business training.

“I come from a totally different world because I graduated in Business Administration and Accounting. Not for passion, life took me for those ways. I’ve always been an art lover, since a very young age I knew that was my passion, but coming from a traditional family I was convinced that it was a very difficult career to make a living and to pay the bills in the future, so I did what I was supposed to do.

“I graduated in record time with honors and started working in the Financial Area of the biggest International Company in my country. However, once in the Business’ world I felt so unhappy and an outsider. I did never really enjoy that life.”

She started taking photography classes as a hobby, a mere distraction from her day-to-day activities in the financial world. “It was super-fast that I decided to quit my job and to try with Art. I’m not the kind of person who is afraid of changes, on the contrary, I could be a bit unconscious sometimes. Fortunately, this was a great decision.”

Romina’s work has been featured on some of the most prestigious magazines, including Vanity Fair and Vogue Italia. From fashion photography, she gradually ventured into Fine Arts and mixed media and her works are now represented by many galleries around the world.

In June, her series How Would Have Been?, was featured at the HOFA Gallery in London, making this her first solo show in the capital. “I’ve been represented by HOFA for more than a year and we thought it was time to show more of my work and to make something special. And the result was great! There were a lot of people and interest about it. Around 300 people came only to the opening, that we literally had to go outside for some moments as the quantity of people was overwhelming.”

Her aesthetic is undoubtedly influenced by artists such as Rembrandt, Leonardo Da Vinci and Velazquez. “I can’t explain why but I’ve always felt attracted by the great masters and the Classic Art. When I was a child, around 6 years old, we used to go to my father’s aunt house for lunch on Sundays and she had a big reproduction (or at least I remember it big) of Las Meninas by Velazquez in the dining room and I remember myself looking at that for long time every Sunday and to make questions to my mother about it.

“I love Art in all its expressions since it’s the deepest way to understand a bit more about the world and the human being’s mind but even today I feel especially touched by the classics paintings.

“Having said that, and of course accepting the huge influence of it in my work, I must say that my art is about the present. It doesn’t pretend to talk about the past but to create a bridge that allows us to talk about the present and contemporary society.”

Her photography cleverly explores contemporary issues by including objects that can be considered important or that are present in our modern life. “It’s almost impossible that someone hasn’t used or at least seen one of the objects in the pictures,” Romina tells me. “All of them help to communicate the concept and idea behind the series.

“My work is the result of personal explorations and questions about ourselves, including women’s role, the society parameters to define what is good and what is bad. I’m influenced by the classical art but the inspiration for the ideas doesn’t come from there, my main inspiration comes from daily life. I’m very observant and always like to analyse people’s behaviours and ways of act and think, and from there I get the main resources for my Art.”

Now, pieces from the How Would Have Been? series will be shown at the HOFA’s gallery in Mykonos. What’s next in store for the fine art photographer? “I’m working on three different series. One is the Family Portraits that I started some months ago. One is inspired by women, beauty and the new role in society and the other is related to the How Would Have Been? series but with a different twist. On the other hand, I’m also working in some textile pieces with handmade embroidery, but it is still in process.”

  • words Alice Ierace all images

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