Written review by
Editor-at-large for GUP Magazine
Portrait photography can have many utilities. They can be used as support to an article, for example. In that sense pictures are mostly informative. Or they can have a more aesthetic objective, as singular objects or as a conceptual series. Every approach comes with certain expectations on the quality of the work. In general, however, it can be claimed that all portraits should at least hint at the personality of the sitter.
Carlotta Cardana seems to have chosen for a conceptual/documentary approach. But some of the images have more impact than others. I belief that image no. 013 (Mauro), 012 (Luca Gabriele), and 002 (Andrea Orlando) better succeed in intensity and in that way grab the attention of the viewer better than the others.
A photographer does not have to hide the fact that he or she is interfering in the process – we all accept that there needs to be some instructions and staging – but pictures need not to point to that process. In fact, it would frustrate somewhat if this was too obvious, as it distracts and maybe even spoils the pleasure of looking.
In some of these portraits the photographer failed to lift the moment from the mundane and it that sense does not manage to create a higher awareness, a focus on the personality behind the mask that every sitter keeps as a protection.
They pose to hide their actual selfs, and it is in the quality of the photographer to gently lift that mask in order to show the actual person behind it. Or at least let us, viewers, think that we have that privileged look.
Finally, I think that image no.15 is most outstanding in quality. Maybe this is also what makes it awkward within this series. There is more intimacy and tension, and the picture leans more to the aesthetic approach when compared to the others.