Alessandra Chemollo


Where and when was this photograph shot?

It was shot outside the Marco de Canavezes Church (Portugal), designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira, on April 4th, 1999 (Easter Sunday) around noon.

What were the condition on site?

It was Spring, there was Sun and perfume.

Are there any technical aspects about the shooting that you would like to point out?

This photograph was shot with Silvestri 6×9 view camera (Italian brand), analogue, movable. It is a simplification of a view camera but it shares the fact that the stages of frame selection and shutter are two different moments, it is necessary to remove the support to see in the glass the reversed image of the reality that you want to register, and replace it with the pack that contains the film. It means that when you shoot you are not looking through the camera. This kind of introduces a new element on scene: the photographer, whose face is normally covered by the camera, and relates to the subject depicted in a frontal way. The camera on the tripod will only shoot when the photographer activates the shutter.

How did this opportunity happen?

By commission. It was a work I did for “Catalogo Electa – Alvaro Siza – Opera Completa”.

Had you been there before?

I had been there a few days before for the project briefing, and I then decided to go there again for Easter Mass, which is the only occasion in the year where the whole door is open.

Why did you select this image?

I chose it because I believe that what I decided and what fate decided both perfectly met at the precise moment adding a new sense to the architectural project through the photographical contents.

Is there anything particular about it?

I must say that everything portrayed in the image is absolutely true and unintentional, no one was posing for the photograph.

Was there anything that you were trying to communicate through it?

On this I should step back and let who know better than me: “If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera” Lewis Hine

Alessandra Chemollo is an Italian photographer.

The image and interview selected are part of the editorial project “1 Photo(grapher)” and originally published for Scopio Network.