Little Box conversation 


Orietta Gelardin Spinola

 by Ximena Echague and Céline Pannetier

Where are you from? 

When someone asks me where am I from, I need to take my time to explain the mix! I was born in Madrid to an American father and an Italian (Roman) mother. Moreover, I studied in a French school in Madrid and then abroad (Florence, London and New York). On the contrary to what many people may think, I sincerely have never felt this mess as a complication and yes as an advantage! It has definitely helped me open my mind in every other way and I have always tried to make the most of it! 

I’m divided into three, for good and for bad, even though, due to the enormous influence my mother has had on me throughout my life when I think about what I feel the most, it is Italian (although funnily enough I count in English and am quite sure I also dream in English!!!). I don’t exactly know if this mix has influenced my way of thinking and probably of seeing things too, or if it is just a genetic or learned influence. What I do know is that on the one hand my passionate/impulsive/intuitive side clearly comes from my Italian and Spanish side whereas the more organised/perfectionist/pragmatic side, from the anglo Saxon.

What triggers your interest in your photography, what inspires you?

I have always been triggered and inspired by a certain type of aesthetic, scenario and even genre (street photography). My graphic design background as well as my unconditional love for the Bauhaus have practically always driven me to seek some kind of order and organisation in my photography. I also love people and their expressions. I am very attracted to imagining what is going on in their lives. Probably this is a result of my huge curiosity which has even made me imagine what people do for a living, or what they are like at home in their everyday lives! 

However, I have had an interesting turning point in my photographic world due to this terrible situation that we are all going through. I have been put off with not being able to see facial expressions because of masks, etc. So lately, I somehow -instinctively- have been attracted to people-less scenes both in cities and in the countryside or seaside. I don’t exactly know where this will take me to (I don’t really care!!!), but at the moment I am very entertained and excited about this new phase, which on the other hand could very easily change to something else or back to square 1!!! This is the greatness of photography, coming and going with whatever makes your heartbeat! 

What other arts/artists especially inspire/influence you?

I’m very much influenced and inspired by any other form of art. May it be a painting, a movie, a book, a dance, etc they each, in their own way, have an impact on me consciously and, I would say even more so, unconsciously. 

Here are some examples of just a few of many iconic films that strongly inspire me over and over again: 

Paris Texas (Wim Wenders); Three Colors trilogy (Krzysztof Kieślowski); 2046 (Wong Kar-wei); Nostalghia (Andrei Tarkovsky); La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni); Jules and Jim (François Truffaut). 

Regarding some of my favorite painters, I of course would mention many of the old masters such as Vermeer, Caravaggio, Tiziano, Tintoretto, Raffaello, Velázquez, Goya, etc. I also have a special interest in the Pre-Raphaelites’ movement. In the more modern/contemporary scenario: Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Alberto Giacometti, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Joseph Albers, Sonia Delauney, Alexander Calder, Sean Scully, Giorgio Morandi, Lucio Fontana, Cruz Novillo, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama and many others. 

It is actually extremely difficult to point out all the artists that influence or inspire me, as the world of the arts is so vast and so very fascinating. I have quite a big collection of art books and even though I have had to donate many of them to my daughter’s old school due to severe space problems (!!!) I have kept those that interest me the most. But furthermore, I truly believe that visiting a gallery on a weekly (or at least monthly) basis is a must for all of us. I think it is visual education and not only is this good for the brain but, even more so, for the spirit too! 

How do you usually shoot: instinctively or intellectually? In short, are you a hunter or a fisher? Please, explain to us your method.

Actually, I shoot both instinctively and intellectually, why choose one or the other when one can do both! However, I truly rely on my gut feeling which is probably one of my assets not only in photography! I have a crazy intuition, I sometimes think I should have been a detective!!! In any case, the fisher mode is also very interesting and depending on my mood, It’s also lots of fun to wait for something to happen but again, even as a fisher, instinct here too plays a very important role in order to get the exact moment in a scene. Also, I am very nervous and impulsive, so fishing may sometimes make me even more so and take me back to the hunting mode where I can release my adrenalin! Whereas when just wandering around I feel less pressure, I let things happen without expecting anything and above all, I just go with the flow!

You can see more of Orietta's work on her instagram account