interview giulia tornari
Giulia Tornari is since 2005 editor of Contrasto where she coordinates photographers and follows their projects, many of which have obtained international awards. She is also responsible for the relations with national and international publications and currently teaches at the European Institute of Design in Rome. Tornari also is the Director of Zona, an association tha develops projects to boost social awareness.
Next January 27th in Forma Meravigli, Milan, she will be the expert of “ Analysis of the main phases to create a documentary photography project” workshop. One experience to improve your project and distribute it through different channels.
Tell us about your work in contrasto? How is the daily life of one photo agency?
My job consists in the daily management of all aspects connected to the production and distribution of the works of the photographers contributing to Contrasto.
More specifically: choosing the photographers Contrasto syndicates and support them in carrying out their short or long-term projects; proposing and managing the sale of their works on the national and International editorial market; choosing which photographers suggest for editorial and commercial assignments as well as the follow-up of said assignments.
How often is your contact with young artists?
I have many occasions to meet young talents: through photography schools, where I hold lessons, or workshops; during festivals’ portfolio readings; through emails, as I receive many from young artists contacting me directly.
I really enjoy following and developing the works of young photographers and many times I had the occasion, and pleasure, to meet young talents whose work I appreciated, and to have them join Contrasto.
I guess you see a lot of documentary projects, what is the main thing you want to discover or fell in one work? What makes interesting one work for your eyes?
The planning idea strikes me most. By saying “idea” I mean both the subject of the project and the way they plan to develop it.
I don’t mean to be repetitive but nowadays we are inundated with photo and video materials. The originality is in the approach, in the way a project plan can turn into an exhibition, a book, a video. I reckon that nowadays more than ever, the preparation of the project requires much study in order to carry out a substantial body of work.
In your workshop you will talk about how the participants need to work in different channels. Do you think now is more difficult for them or they need to put more effort in how and where they need to show their work?
Today it’s easier to get in touch with professionals that can help youth building their own professionality through schools, workshops, festivals, or even just writing emails to specific recipients.
I’ll never stop stressing how important it is the way they present their own material. They must have: a profile of their project, a selection of pictures, and a pdf file which recaps all the materials available in case of interest from a client. Moreover, it’s important to select the positions they wish to present their work to as the interest must be mutual. At this point, all of the above is part of the work of the professional photographer.
How participants need to prepare themselves to participate in your workshop?
I would love the participants to bring projects they are currently developing to discuss about it.
Transeurope wants to create a forum and one network in photography and arts visuals in Europe. How do you fell the market, networking and how the people or photography projects are connected in Europe?
It is an important project that must be developed as it seems to me that right now we are all shut in our own countries. Photographers get invited to festivals to present their works but an International network of organizations working in the field of photography and visual arts is missing. For a long time, photo agencies fulfilled this task as the background was editorial but now photography is a vaster phenomenon: we should favor the networking to conceive complex project plannings that might be of support to a stronger and unite Europe.
So what do you think is missing now in photography?
In my experience, at the moment I think that photographic culture is missing. We should work more on the understanding of pictures as sociological means for the general public. It would be useful to create a period of reflections in the schools, for example. Today we all can shoot photographs and publish them immediately on socials but how aware are we of what we are doing?
Apart of your work as an editor you are the director of Zona, tell us something about this association.
Zona is a cultural association born from the necessity to try and develop documentary projects using all the new means available since the Digital Era. As the editorial market’s crisis got deeper, me and a group of internationally known master photographers wanted to keep on working on complex, long-term documentary projects. We thought we had to change the way projects were conceived as well as look for new partners that might be interested in our ideas.
Each of our projects has more variations. We produced exhibitions, full-length films, web documentaries, video-installations.
Another important aspect of Zona is the involvement of different professional profiles such as photographers, video-makers, journalists, graphic designers, programmers. We are open to the production and the support of projects with documentary purposes. We do take into account proposals not only from photographers but also from journalists, video-makers, etc. When Zona commits to a project, we create and develop a partners’ network to support it. It’s an interesting challenge as it allows us to connect with many different realities.
Uncut project, one example to know better the work of Zona. Produced by Giulia Tornari