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Interview: Irene Tondelli


An interview with Irene Tondelli; a photographer and art director from Italy.

Photography: Irene Tondelli


Can you tell us more about your background? 

I graduated in photography and got a masters in art direction. I started to work in advertising agencies and at the same time, on interior design photography. 

What influences your photography the most?

My cultural roots, reading, childhood memories and at the same time the masters of Italian photography of the 70’s and 80’s. I think every photographer has in themselves a cultural background made of images, traditions and colours that unconsciously appear in their own work. 

What professional work have you completed? 

Several reportages in Italy and abroad, some related to my relationship with nature, others aimed at documenting realities that intrigued me, trying to describe them with my language and my photographic style. It’s important for me to give a visual continuity to my work. In the commercial field I have worked on design catalogs, private shoots and services for magazines. 

What is your favourite location to shoot? 

Isolated locations surrounded by nature or a megalopolis with skyscrapers. At the moment Scandinavia and Northern Europe in general are my favourites. The glare and light in those places is incredible. I have a lot of countries to visit yet and I am attracted to everything that is on the outskirts both physically and conceptually. 

What is your favourite style of photography? 

I think that talking about a style today is anachronistic, I see really good photographers working on disparate fields. What I enjoy most about landscape and travel photography is giving meaning to the places I visit and feeling the rhythm of silence. 

What was it that attracted you to landscape photography in particular? 

I came to the landscape photography almost by chance. It was a stormy period in my life, being in the outdoors relaxed me, made me feel good. But I had never photographed anything like that. One day I thought that there might be a direct link between my mood and the landscape and I started trying to capture it with one click - translating it into images. 

Which images would you say have been the most significant for you in your career so far? 

None of mine, many of other’s. Hoppers’s geometry and silence, the theatricality of Bacon's paintings. But I do not believe that famous images are necessarily the most evocative. Sometimes it’s enough to see the warm light of the afternoon sculpting the room where you are.

What items are in your must have kit?

A paper map of the place I’m visiting. I am a mess with apps and I always get lost. My red beanie - I am a fan of Cousteau and Wes Anderson, it is a good luck charm; a talisman. In terms of equipment: I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II or a Sony Alpha. I also often shoot in film with my Pentax ME. Extra batteries and memory cards, a pocket torch and a rain cover are a must. Weather is never kind to me, but I strongly believe in the motto that says “there is no good or bad weather but only good and bad equipment”. 

How would you say social media contributes to your work? 

I am not contrary to their use in the professional field. As in all things, they should be used intelligently. In my case, at times Instagram has brought some jobs on other occasions absolutely nothing. But I think they are useful, in a certain way, to share extemporaneously my work. 

Where would you like to travel to in the future? 

I would like to travel more often in the Asian continent. From a professional point of view I have found there is a lot of respect there for my work, which I struggle at times to find in Italy. 

What places would you like to photograph in the future? 

I want to witness the Northern Lights. I'm planning a trip right now and I hope to be lucky. I think it's one of those shows to see at least once in life. I don't cry very often, but I think that in front of that I could do.


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