Simona Forte is a portrait photographer with rare skills when it comes to bringing out the natural beauty of her models. Never overdone, her photos appear with a simplicity that makes it look so easy. But as as always, looks can be deceiving. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview. You will find more photos in the end of the interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
Overall, I think of myself as a mother, and I love my family. I have worked for many years in a bank, but recently I chose to change to a part time occupation to devote myself to the things I love. I’m not a professional photographer but, to me, it’s like I am. It’s a part of my life that let's me focus on my mind and my soul and understand myself as I never did before.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
My life has been a journey full of emotions, not always positive, but undoubtely formative. There have been moments in my life when I couldn’t express my feelings and react properly to what was happening. Probably, the flow of time has brought a light to those feelings and photography represent the way I express my true identity.
What first attracted you to photography?
I’ve been attracted by the power of photography itself. It’s something immortal, unique and so very personal if made passionately…
Many people say that light must be captured. I think to let it free as a living being so that it can bring emotions with it. But photography has certainly captured me and probably for ever.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
To me, the most important thing in a photo is how powerfully the subject is exposed and, therefore, the light is fundamental. Technically, the first thing I try to do is use the light to it's maximum potential and then focus on all the other particulars. In general, my photography is purely soul.
Your portfolio is extensive and covers many photographic subjects, what is the subject that fascinates you the most and why?
I think portraiture is a wonderful way to express the inner part of the subject through their body. This can only happen when both the photographer and the model give a part of their intimate self to each other. Obtaining a nice mood is one of the thing that makes me feel more satisfied.
What is more important to you, the story behind an image or the technical perfection?
Both technique and the history of the picture are very relevant. A photo must have it's technical value and it must be well composed but it’s clear that the expressivity comes from the history of the picture instead of the technique. It is also clear that in some genres technique has less importance, like reportage photos or street photos. In my case, what I'm really is looking for, is to obtain a powerful expression and mood that make my portraits different from common portraits.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
A good relationship is fundamental, not only in photography, to obtain an optimal result. Esteem, respect, patience and motivation must be common elements between the subject and the artist. Don't forget to include plenty of smiles!
What is your most important advice to a beginner in portrait photography and how do you get started?
Everyone has a different personality so it’s difficult to imagine two people walking the same “route”. The important thing is to have the desire and to believe in it. Have clear ideas about your own style and don't let other people’s ideas influence your work too much. In portraiture, the feeling that forms between the model and the photographer is very important. It's essential to trust each other!
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I don't have a favorite photographer. I like every kind of photography because I like beauty. It stimulates me. Photography is an art and it’s a pleasure to live it.
Is there is any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a big deal and why?
There’s not any photo in particular but there are genres and techniques that I surely admire. As I said before, photography made with a certain quality is always an inspiration.
'Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
Surely, I’m intending to improve myself in every aspect of my photography. As they say… “we never stop learning”. The more we grow the more we want to learn. I have a lot of projects I want to realize.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you ?
My favorite picture, is my daughter’s portrait done in Carnival when I was only a beginner. It’s value is purely emotional. The fact that I could produce such a good portrait of my daughter fills my heart with joy.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I wish everyone good light. Overall… In their hearts. 1x is my point of reference and I’m honored to be part of it.