Capturing a range of euphoric imagery and conceptual photography
I had the opportunity to talk to Italian visual artist and bilingual poet, Rossana Nicoletti also known as, Ozra Enn. In the interview, they discussed their past that lead to their career in conceptual photography and how they embrace their true self through euphoric imagery.
What is your background? What does your work aim to say?
I’ve always been a very imaginative child, and that definitely never changed growing up. I’ve always been attracted by many different forms of art, trying to find an outlet for that little world of fantasy in my head. But I only bumped into photography during my first year at Uni.
I was studying psychology, and I discovered a growing interest in human perception and its subjectivity. Finding out how partial our interpretation of reality can be was definitely eye-opening. And that encouraged me to start a journey of exploration of those things I tend to overlook in everyday life. The lens of my camera basically became the tool for studying new perspectives, pushing my own boundaries.
The main purpose of my work is to express and make my fantasy visible to the eye. And with that, to constantly question what is real.
What we perceive is, after all, just a glimpse of reality. A lot comes in the way of our senses and the world around us. It is functional for the human brain to only pick up on a narrowed version of it. And otherwise, we would get overwhelmed by the amount of information in our environment.
But living in today’s extremely stimulating and fast-paced society ended up limiting our attention span even further. And that doesn’t make us particularly able to gather more information with our senses and to see things under different lights. Most of the time, we end up getting stuck in the narrative of our minds.
So, my work aims to remind myself and others that reality is much more complex than the way our mind represents it. Nothing of what we believe is objectively true.
How does your work comment on social or political issues?
I don’t think my work has a direct connection with social or political issues. I’ve always admired those with the ability to do activism through their art. And for some time, I even tried to develop a “higher purpose” for my works.
It just doesn’t come naturally to me since I tend to be more of an abstract than a practical person. Or at least it is not what feels authentic to me. I’ve always seen art mainly as a form of self-expression.
This doesn’t mean I will never produce anything with the specific aim of addressing those issues. And most definitely, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care. In fact, I do care a lot, and generally consider myself very aware of the problems affecting the world. I get easily upset by them and sometimes, that kind of awareness can be especially painful if you’re highly sensitive.
With time, I concluded that art doesn’t necessarily have to be about social or political matters, as extremely important as they are. There are so many other ways we can do something about it.
Who are your biggest influences, and why?
I can’t specifically think of names to answer this question, because anything I like artistically becomes a source of inspiration for me. But I do recognise some main influences.
Above all, I am a big music lover. And I am particularly obsessed with psychedelic and neo-psychedelic genres, and that definitely influences all my works. I’ve always found fascinating the idea of re-creating altered or dream-like states of mind in a song or a piece of art. I love the concept of expanding your universe to infinite possibilities, by simply opening your mind to look deeper or focusing inward.
For similar reasons, any concept related to meditation inspires me as well. But also, any other form of art with a focus on those concepts.
How have you developed your career?
My career as an artist is still in the early stages. But from the moment it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue this path, I’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of time networking and actively seeking opportunities.
How do you seek out opportunities?
I mostly navigate the magical world of the internet and social media to do so. If wisely used the web can be an amazing resource. And social media are extremely helpful for people like me, who can be much shyer in person.
This statement really resonated with me by, how I always put barriers up when I am around a crowded environment. However, it does not define the artwork I want to portray for myself and others.
How do you navigate the art world?
This is a hard one. To be completely honest, I’m still figuring out how to navigate it the right way, or at least the way that works for me. I think it’s an ongoing process and can also get overwhelming.
Building a career in the creative industry takes a huge amount of your energy. I’ve only recently found out that I need proper time off my camera, every now and then.
Especially at the early stages, you take care of every single aspect of your career path. And because you care so much about it, you work extra hard and constantly lookout for new opportunities. And if you don’t know when it’s time to stop and rest this will literally burn you out.
In addition to this, I think today it’s especially hard to stand out of the crowd.
The web is a very powerful tool, but it’s also overcrowded with people who are just as talented as you are, and with the equal right to be heard. So, I guess the key is communicating your message to the ones who are interested in it in the most authentic way. And I think it’s also important to never take other people’s success as a sign of your failure, but instead, get inspired by them.
Nicoletti gave insightful information that it is okay to embrace your individuality and people are willing to hear what you are conveying through your artwork, despite the criticism.
Which current art world trends are you following?
If you’re talking about popular subjects, I am very obsessed with pictures of sunsets or the moon, which I noticed a lot of photographers, at least on Instagram, tend to gravitate towards.
What software do you use in your photography?
Photoshop is my go-to editing software.
How do you use colour theory to produce immersive artwork?
I do a lot of colour correction to create the atmosphere I am looking for, but I don’t think much about colour theory when I edit my pictures.
There’s really nothing technical or theoretical about my works, except for the basis of photography and editing. I much prefer to be guided by emotions when I colour correct. I find it way more interesting.
What inspires you to incorporate elements of nature and urban culture into your photography?
The idea of exploring my surroundings more deeply. Discovering details, I’ve never noticed before, even when I’ve been in the same place many times. Connecting with and experiencing the everyday world differently and more emotionally.
To check Rossana’s stunning photography, here is the link to their website and Instagram.