Story telling is my inspiration for my photography. It takes me to places that are real but can also be turned into dreamlands. I use both staged and real events to discuss the blurred boundaries that exist between reality and fantasy. At first, the photographs may tell a story that is real, until one discovers only gradually that they contain elements of fiction, or vice versa.
Romance was born in Venice, described as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man” (The New York Times). The City is mysterious and mystical with its lacework of canals, its domes and gilded spires, and its kiosks with straw gondolier hats. But once a year, the City is transformed into a continuous theatre of joy and playfulness- all in masks to celebrate the charm of a world of dancing, jokes, exclusive galas, and romantic encounters. For these few days, individuals from all backgrounds, social classes, and ages enjoy the fantasy of a society where everybody behind their mask is equal. Romance is their stories and dreams.
The excitement of their many months of costume design and preparation culminate when they first arrive in Venice and meet up as groups and friends. More often then not, it is likely their first dress rehearsal, a true delight for the eyes. Next, they get into the spirit of the event and their characters. Their daily lives are left behind and everybody embraces the utopia atmosphere.
I chose to make images of these characters enacting their feelings. The scenes in the pictures are constructed around emotional expressions and the action remains minimal. I was interested in how the characters liberate themselves from their daily grind, and how much energy they exhumed day after day to live their dreams. Few words were exchanged during the photoshoot to respect the character, but brief and deep eye contacts got me closer to their fantasy.
Romance is a story about real people in a real place embracing their fantasy.