Your latest project Oyster Dreams is centered around dolls and dreams. Tell us the concept behind behind it.
As with many of my ideas, Oyster Dreams came from a preconscious thought. I did imagine an Oyster and the pleasure that an Oyster can give, both as food and as metaphoric image and meaning. Then I thought about the dreams that an Oyster can have. An Oyster may have erotic and passionate dreams while she’s waiting to be eaten.
Can you give us a history of how you chose ball-jointed dolls as your primary focus?
It is an hard task to communicate feelings with a doll, and I love doing this. While you are trying to give them a feeling, you know that what they will express in the pictures it is only what you forced them to express. A doll can not move by herself, cannot smile, cry, change the position of her body, the expression of the face and so on. So, it’s you that will do it for the doll, and the doll will become the way to express your feelings. It is you doing all these things in her place, so she can be simply an object in your hands (and with object we can consider the meaning of this word in a psychoanalytic way… a person other than the self ) or a self extension.
Are you an active member of the ball-joineted doll community and follow movements like Super Dollfie?
I do not use Super Dollfie dolls but most of all Sybarites, AvantGuard, Numina and Deva dolls.
How large is your personal collection of dolls and have share a personal relationship with them?
I’ve never counted how many dolls I have. I’ve some dolls and I like them all. That’s all, nothing more.
Describe your process for casting a certain doll for a particular shoot?
I’m considering my works as a kind of secret diary where instead of writing my feelings, dreams and my life events, I freeze frame them in a picture and instead of locking them and hiding from other ones’ eyes, I expose them. So, it’s not a particular doll that leads me to take a picture, but the thought that makes me desire to take a picture. Of course, I have some preferred dolls and when I have the inspiration I grab one of them and then I shoot. I shoot when I have the feeling that it will be represented by my pictures. That is the reason why I can take many pictures in the same period and then refuse to take a single shot for weeks. As to say that the model is important but fundamental is the passion I’m feeling in that moment.
You try to convey emotions, desires, pleasures and feelings within your photographs. Obviously, on the surface these things seem like they’d be easier to capture with real models as opposed to dolls. However, you successfully communicate emotion in your work. Explain the process that goes into each photo and the how you evoke feeling so well with the dolls.
To use a human model can be easier. I do believe that me being good in photographing them depends on the passion that I use in doing every picture of mine. I don’t use anything more than passion and if the passion is strong enough, it can reach the viewers… if the viewers are ready and not afraid of feeling it. In my pictures, as in my real life, I always refused the perfection. Perfection is so terribly cold. Freud said that if you scratch the surface of every virtue you will find the vice, and vice versa. I simply show my vices (real or just imagined) so someone can, scratching them, find my virtues. Love, passion, sadism, masochism, sorrow, pleasure, hate, hunger, rage, regret, fetishism… they have always been with the humans. Maybe the external frame is changed, but the inner feeling is always the same. So, I take inspiration only from my preconscious and to and with the preconscious, I’m trying to talk.
I tried to give these dolls
my soul in every picture I’ve taken.
There’s indeed one emotion of
mine or one of my own experiences,
and I do like to think that someone
else is recognizing the desire that lies behind.
So, from time to time, the doll is
nothing more than my alter-ego,
or better to say the alter-ego of my feelings,
passions, pleasures, desires and
from time to time the teller of my
own history and of my own experiences.
Talk about the overall narrative structure of your photographs and how details like wardrobe & set design play into your story.
I have some preferred items that I love to use: lace, ribbons, pearls, and the almost nude body. The details I love to use are body language and lights. I always found much more important an expressive body language especially with all the limitations that a doll’s body has than a frock. So, because the focus of my pictures are feelings, I prefer to use few wardrobe items, and the wardrobe items that I really would like are still unmade (as fetish items).
You say that “sometimes the dolls are my alter-ego and sometimes I am the alter-ego of the dolls.” Please explain.
I tried to give these dolls my soul in every picture I’ve taken. There’s indeed one emotion of mine or one of my own experiences, and I do like to think that someone else is recognizing the desire that lies behind. Every picture has a story behind it, and every picture is a moment of the story. So, from time to time, the doll is nothing more than my alter-ego, or better to say the alter-ego of my feelings, passions, pleasures, desires and from time to time the teller of my own history and of my own experiences. But at the same time, when I have to take a picture I must be the alter-ego of the doll or I would not been able to pose her and photograph her in the correct way. The thought that is behind this alter-ego game is that a doll can be as a woman because the doll can represent the feelings of a woman. And, a woman can be a doll if loved enough and well cared for as a doll could be. There’s NO polemic intent in this. Dolls have always represented an object to love, to cure, to take care of, to desire. It’s my own concept of doll. There’s no space for polemics in desire.
Are you looking to work with live models in the future or will you continue to expand on your work with the dolls.
My project for the future is to use much more pictures of myself (made by myself of course) and to mix and confuse them with the doll pictures. Just to underline the previous statement, doll as a desiring woman and woman as a loved doll.
Tell us what other projects you are currently working on and what should we plan to see in the future.
I’m working on some exhibitions that will be held in the very near future in Europe, Berlin, Milan and Bassano and I’m planning to partially paint some of my pictures. But as always, my ideas come from the passion and inspiration of the moment, so who knows?
I’m considering my works as a kind of secret diary where instead of writing my feelings, dreams and my life events, I freeze frame them in a picture and instead of locking them and hiding from other ones’ eyes, I expose them.