Venice seen from a smartphone

Anyone who has shaken a social network’s bulletin board in the past decade will surely have noticed two paradigms: that not all photos taken with a professional camera will be works of art (as evidenced by the photo shoot albums taken in 2010 between friends with Canon and then uploaded to Facebook) and that all those immortalized with the mobile phone camera will be immortalized, be it a picture of a kitten, a salad ordered on Glovo Express or a selfie for a slightly dirty mirror uploaded to Instagram. The astral conjunction that allows a photo taken with a mobile phone to become a work of art is rare, but it is believable if the device is a Xiaomi 12 Pro and Lady Tarin is holding it. Photographer from Rimini, based in Milan, has for years made her photos, tender investigations into women and their sexuality on film, recognizable, as can be seen in her latest photo book Innocent released for Nfc Edizioni. His photos have been exhibited in museums around the world, a documentary about Sky Arte is dedicated to them Next Girland appeared at the bottom of a collection of Seletti cups.

Before this year, Lady Tarin had never photographed with her mobile phone, “just those pictures of kittens that you upload to Instagram and that’s it”, she almost only shot some advertising campaigns digitally, “like the one for Giorgio Armani in 2020”. Putting a Xiaomi 12 Pro in her hand, she took the pose of a reporter to explore all the possibilities of digital, turning to Venice during the final days of preparation for the Biennale, where she happened to meet the friends she always shoots ., then others new ones, which he shot at very different times, day and night, some are happy and put themselves in a nice pose, others exhausted, in bed, accustomed to the camera or clumsy, caught wandering between the pavilions . We mainly meet in front of the Italian Pavilion, of which Xiaomi is a sponsor. The recordings are now on display in the Merignana Arte Project Room, a small exhibition space in Venice, as part of the project of art stories, where they can be seen until June 6.

There is a surprising continuity with your personal project exploring the sexuality of women, given the theme of the Biennale chosen by Cecilia Alemani, The milk of dreamswhich, in a sense, aims to restore female artists forgotten by history.
I don’t know whether it was thought of as coincidence or destiny by the client, but for me it was certainly even more special to rediscover there many artists at that time who were totally ignored in life or only rediscovered very late, such as the surrealists, at whom she was assigned an entire capsule in the central pavilion. I also found it incredibly circular, this strong female presence at the Biennale in continuity with my project. Then by chance here in Venice I also met some of the muses that I always photographed, also involved in the preparation, so I photographed them right away. Initially it was supposed to be a simple reportage of the Biennale and the preparation of the Italian Pavilion, but it eventually became closely linked to my personal project.

Why do you always want to photograph the same people?
The most important thing for me is the relationship with the subject, and over time I realized that I could express my idea of ​​a woman’s sensuality when one belongs and lives by photographing the same women. Over time we change and at some point I realized I was more interested in following the path of some women which is essential to make the message even stronger as it becomes more powerful when there is understanding between me and the photographed subject.

Is it a bond that you managed to maintain here despite the fact that the means of expression was the mobile phone?
My personal project on the female nude is all on film because I believe that the skin should be photographed on the skin. This project is completely different, people have been inserted in a sense in the context of the Biennale and its events, so in my opinion the technique was perfect for the situation. The Xiaomi is a very high quality medium, it can shoot in Raw and has a really powerful night mode. At the same time, it is invisible and light, just the way I like it. I think it is important that the medium is not perceived directly and that it is as practical as possible. In addition, I can say that Xiaomi did not allow me to have a single moment that I regret not having immortalized: every photographer has that unused photo, which remained in our minds because at that moment we did not have the camera behind us. And he did it without compromise, as a low-quality photo taken with another cell phone might be.

If you usually shoot in film, so are used to inaccuracy, blur, what effect did you see in the final rendering of the photos with the Xiaomi, so sharp and perfect?
I think it’s about anticipating the final surrender. As with painting you can choose between acrylic or oil, so with photography between film and digital they are two different languages ​​and you have to think about how you want the photo to come out. For example, I don’t like the defect in the digital, like the blur or the grain that was created on purpose. I like it when the image is very soft or blurry or has film defects because it’s all natural because it’s collateral for the physical medium, which I think is always necessary to let it speak. On the other hand, what I require from a lightweight device that you should only use for calling and therefore always have your back, is to get the most of its potential, and that’s a lot. I was surprised when I saw them printed, the resolution, the colours: I didn’t change anything. It was natural to make an art project when the quality is so high.

Has it happened to you with the phone to take a hundred thousand photos and then choose the right one? In a way, with the phone you lose the idea of ​​the perfect moment.
In my opinion, taking a hundred pictures is something that belongs to those who are not professional photographers, who instead manage to get few but good pictures because they have a trained eye to look for the perfect moment. Of course you shoot more in digital than in film. It is not this time that I have photographed the same subject many times, but I have really taken more pictures than I am used to, in full reportage mood, since besides the means of expression another challenge for me was to do a report. I wanted to resume the dynamics of those days of preparation, the day, the night, the performances at every moment of the day, the different pavilions, all the people who were there, chaos in short. I think I have returned the energy that then flowed from people and events: a desire to return to life, after all.

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