Caterina Pacialeo in Conversation with Noella Lopez

Caterina Pacialeo in Conversation with Noella Lopez

Caterina’s “environmental portraits” as she describes them entered a deeper dimension with the body of work ‘Elements’. The beautiful landscapes in that series are deep and insightful in their representation of the connection between the body and the elements. She introduced the human figure in communion with the elements as a deep meditation, transcending time and space.

With this new series titled Water, an extension of the Element Series, the connection between the model, the body, the element and the camera becomes more personal, more intimate, more confined. In the previous series, we were observers, left to be inspired by the beautiful natural setting and guessing at the intriguing scenarios.

This time we are given a close up of the body, a close up of its connection with the water, the light, the transparency, the lightness and wetness of the landscape. We sense the immersion of the artist into the process, the purity of the pursuit, the time abstraction, the attraction, the power and the uniqueness of the moment. 


While you were developing the Elements Series, you stumbled upon the Water Series; beautiful, soft and inspiring images. Can you tell us more about how this thinking and concept unfolded?

The concept generally unfolds very organically and spontaneously. Before I photograph any concept lots of pre-planning goes on in the background, months of preparation. I also consider the weather, water tides, models’ availability and specific times of day. In this instance, I wanted to photograph early morning for the light and it needed to coincide with the low tide. So it was a waiting game as certain elements just can’t be controlled. Mother Nature always has the upper hand. I prefer to work with nature as it is the basis of my work.

I photographed my key images in the Elements series and then worked on other options. I always tend to be really flexible with what has presented, things may not seem as you may think, so being open and spontaneous allows for “play”. The people I invite in my images give of themselves not only in the physical sense, but also on an emotional level.  I have been blessed with very patient models. I have put them through challenging situations and they have never complained only celebrated. That’s very rare.  The Water series came up towards the end of the shoot with the need to keep photographing with a different perceptive, getting close to the subject, a little raw, less staged and authentic (not saying Elements isn’t). By getting in close I can direct on a personal emotive level, whereas the image titled Water in the Element series is open, broad and inclusive, one with Nature.


With the Elements and Water Series, you have investigated specifically the relationship between the body and nature, natural cycles and their connections in depth. Where are you at with this investigation with your practice? Is there more to come?

I believe that nature will always be part of my practice conceptually. I can’t seem to disconnect my practice from nature directly or indirectly and I can’t say if that will fundamentally change. I believe I will always be connected to that concept consciously or not. An Art practice is something you create based on your observations and experience, and it’s up to you what you do with that information and how you choose to articulate it through your given practice.

If I were to break down where everything comes from, our external environment down to our internal environment - our past creates our future, all governed by cycles. Everything has a cycle Nature, Humans, economy, Life and death, animal kingdom. We cannot separate the cycle from nature, it is part of who we are whether we like it or not. I feel we tend to ignore this and that’s why we have such internal conflicts with others, ourselves and Mother Nature.

There is always more work to come. I’m in the middle of a video piece, though this has been time in the making as I’m working with Mother Nature again, and again find myself in water. Watch this space! 


How do you see your interests and how they impact on your practice evolving? Tell us more about any ideas/concepts you may be thinking of.

Well of course my interests and life experiences have a big impact on my practice. They go hand in hand. In regards to my ideas and concepts, life tends to evoke the concepts and ideas behind the work and the work is a reflection of my internal process based on my external influences. Pure observation, less reaction, more creation.

It’s a wonderful process creating, as it gives you the freedom to explore research and question. There are no limits and boundaries to the influences of your thinking, it is what it is. Sometimes it gives you a responsibility to honour that concept and to see the work through. It can be a scary place to go there sometimes. There have been many works that I have not given the light of day due to the repercussions and the response the work may attract. But I feel that’s another question and story in itself. A lot of people may not ever admit that, but I would think that true from most Artists. A good question for debate!


Caterina Pacialeo 2015





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