Rebellion, research and reunification with one’s identity. These are the three inseparable elements that make Ilia Da Lozzo the photographer of the soul, a “portrait artist”, as she defines herself. The career of the artist from Pordenone (Sacile, 1977), represented by FineArtX (www.fineartx.com) and protagonist of the interview, stems from the imaginative aesthetics instilled, drop by drop, in a child Ilia, dedicated to eternalizing visions, gazes and bodies liberated then, by a more mature Ilia, placed behind the photographic lens. In her works, visceral portraits merge, composed of unconscious narratives that reveal the multiple inner labyrinths of the human dimension, in which one can get lost or find oneself through simple representations, devoid of convoluted structural drapery.
Antonella Buttazzo: When did you understand that art was the key that would “liberate” you from that world that kept you away from the same art that has now become your work?
Ilia Da Lozzo: I started taking pictures at the age of five, when I was “locked up” in a religious boarding school. I took many images in my mind, of everything I thought was important, beautiful, ugly or that I simply liked or disliked. I didn’t always shoot what was real. Sometimes I shot what my imagination wanted to see. I didn’t know the meaning of all this and if it had one, because to shoot, in the usual sense, you need a camera. But I had so many images in my mind. I’ve always kept everything to myself because I was a lonely child and few approached me, because they considered me strange, not suitable, not capable, a dreamer, a visionary. It is still like this today, before the final shot with the camera, the image appears clear in my mind and, at the exact moment I see the image, it is as if I weren’t there, as if I were absent, lost, all around me it disappears: I enter a state of concentration which makes it seem to the world that I am absent.
I found the nickname you were given very interesting: Portrait Artist. What is the meaning behind this epithet, which could at times recall Alessandro Baricco’s Mr Gwyn?
They didn’t actually give it to me, I attributed it to myself. I don’t feel like a real photographer, or rather, I don’t feel like just a photographer. I tell life stories and I try to do it in an artistic way because I don’t know how to use editing programs (I only use basic Lightroom and sometimes some watermarks) to embellish the image and, therefore, I do it using and creating something manual, real. I see art works in every story. I’ve always done that in my life. I embellish everything with imagination and art, creating a world that, even if sometimes painful, is beautiful. I don’t want to take away the pain, suffering, hardness of life because they are its essence as much as joy, happiness and light-heartedness. I just want to beautify life because beauty will save the world. I try to capture the essence of each person’s story, developing a suitable and targeted path only for them, therefore, there will never be two identical photographs. This leads me to see each one as if it were a unique and unrepeatable art work. So we can define Ilia as unique in a 2.0 world, a “back to the origins” so as not to forget. It’s a gamble, if you like, not to use editing programs, but I’m convinced that beauty is not artificial but real and that’s why, my photography is so powerful and intense.
And, therefore, what is the purpose of your art?
I really like this question. The aim of my art is to show the beauty of each of us through the life story we have traveled, even if this has been hard and unkind, because our experiences make us beautiful, true, real, strong. And I try to do it with a delicate, elegant, artistic shot. Coming to me for a shoot means facing a journey that takes place together, and the final shot is only the result of this journey. And this is where phototherapy was born. The beauty of my photography is that anyone can recognize themselves, not identify, but really recognize as imperfect as, after all, the human being is. Humanity needs something to identify with, but above all something that can be achieved. And here is that imperfection, sometimes desired and sought after, makes us all human and not “2.0”. Seeing yourself perfect isn’t the solution to life’s frustrations, but seeing yourself beautiful is.
Why did you choose to express your artistic vein in photography?
Let’s say that photography chose me. I rejected, denied, not accepted it on several occasions, but in the end I gave in to it courtship because it was tenacious and it never left me alone, even when I thought it was gone. It never insisted, it was never mean and arrogant, it knew how to wait because it knew I’d get there at the right time, even though until now I’ve always been afraid of not being up to it.
How is your relationship with the public? How do people react to your photographic works?
I would like to answer this question with the comments of some visitors: “I had to sit down. You are better than a show”; “Well done Ilia you have always been a person out of the ordinary… Original… Exactly like your talent… Continue to be confident and determined and you will only be able to achieve all your goals”; “You are a GREAT AND WONDERFUL person and deserve only the best”; “Spectacular! I really like it. I am happy for your success and I am proud to be able to say: I know Ilia. Never give up”; “Your empathy, your good cheer, your smile at life despite everything, your stubbornness, have made you an artist from the heart. This is what sets you apart”; “Don’t give up, you have all my respect”; “You deserve everything you are collecting because you are very good”; “I wish you to improve the world with your photos”. With me the impossible becomes possible. People recognize themselves in my photography because it is real, true, intense, without processing or digital-virtual realities which, however beautiful, are not real. The world needs to go back to reality which, even if not perfect, is the one that makes us feel good and makes us human beings.
After obtaining the high school languages diploma, she continued her studies graduating in Art History at the University of Salento, with a bilingual thesis on the Pre-Raphaelites. Since then, she has been actively contributing as a columnist and collaborator with national blogs and with local magazines and TV programs.