The photographs of Rocchina are both poetic and filled with emotions. They act as memory triggers, bringing us back to family clichés. This Italian woman, passionate about photography since a young age, delivers an interview full of elegance and humility. Her work is both mysterious and subjective. It does not impose anything but opens the viewer’s imagination. She turns fashion photography into life moments and offers us her Italian subtlety, her signature.
Maison Sensey : How did it begin ?
Rocchina del Priore : I was born in a small village in Southern Italy. I lived in Bologna, a small medieval town in the North, beautiful and culturally rich, where I studied philosophy. I’ve always been passionate about photography. I’ve enjoyed this form of art since I was a little girl, since I saw pictures of my grandmother who kept them in secret.
I really started doing photography in 1997. I found my first camera at a small flea market. It was an old Russian copy of a Nikon camera, inexpensive and perfect for a student. In 2008, I gradually turned to digital photography. I use both analog and digital cameras, it is a different approach to photography. I believe that it depends on the context and on the end result you want to achieve.
Which emotions are you looking for during a photo shoot ?
I cannot quite explain what pushes me to take pictures. Sometimes, I have this strong urge to bring out an emotion or express my feelings, my life, my dreams, like a rock carved by the sea. I really believe in my dreams. I often tried to photograph them, I tried to capture them in a picture; they are just internal images.
I always love letting the viewers find their own interpretation, because I believe in art as a form of introspection, like a gift. As Jim Jarmush said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” My pictures are a gift to people who know how to make space in their imagination.
Which fashion brands would you like to work with ?
I would love to work with Nina Ricci, Rochas, Lanvin and Bottega Veneta, for many reasons… from the history those brands carry with them as inherent values, to the elegance, research, and final style that they’ve always had along the years. I feel like the final image of those fashion houses is very similar to my outlook on fashion: it’s not only about how you wear something, but also about what is worth wearing, the ideal of feminine and sophisticated elegance.
What is your outlook on fashion ?
I believe that fashion is more than just a way of dressing up, of wearing something that makes us feel comfortable and covered up. Fashion can be a form of self-expression, and it can sometimes reach a true form of art. Since childhood, I’ve always been inspired by what I found in Vogue magazine. Looking at the Haute Couture dresses that are intended to make one dream is something incredible, because it is out of reach.
And I also understood the value of the hands and minds who work to create true fabric sculptures. I love the works of Capucci, Gianfranco Ferré, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen. Those designers can be defined as artists because they create art with fabrics. They are more than fashion designers, they create “sculptures to wear”.
Where do you draw inspiration from ?
I draw inspiration from everything: a taste, an image, a smell, a voice, and mostly from my subconscious. However, my main source of inspiration remains music, I think, because it is directed like images striking hearts and feelings. Without music, I can’t take photographs.
What do you look for in a photograph ?
In my pictures, I look for a place where one can feel good. Most of the time, in the images of other photographers, I look for a common language, but above all for feelings that make me think, move, reflect, cry, make me angry or trigger questions. Emotions, all in all.
Which photographic techniques do you use ?
It depends on the result I want to get. I use a digital camera, and I sometimes use photoshop to reach a dreamier finish, overlaying images and modifying colors, using filters to get a more oneiric aspect or a very neat aspect with black and white.
Do you have any upcoming projects ?
I’m currently working on a project about women’s body and femininity, and more specifically on pain, but in a very metaphorical way, as I don’t like to use images that are too explicit in my work. I love when some elements hint to something mysterious and undefined, but when at the same time, you can very simply and directly work on such elements once you’ve seen them.
How would you describe your photographs ?
I deliver very feminine, sensual, simple photographs with images that are often undefined, evocative. I don’t like images that are too straightforward – even with naked bodies, I always try to offer something suggestive. I love when sensuality is not claimed out loud, when it is mysterious, intimate. I like mystery because life is mysterious, most of what we feel is difficult to explain with words, it is easier to express ourselves through images and music.
What would you like to improve in your work, and why ?
Every time I shoot and look at my pictures, I think to myself that I could do better, a lot better. I believe that I will never stop learning about photography, it’s like living. You live, you get it wrong, you live, you learn, you get it wrong again, you can get better at doing something and you can get it wrong once again. It’s a never-ending process, and that’s the beauty of every passion. Maybe if I ever get to have a specific form of expression I will stop creating, but I’m very afraid of that.
Do you think there is an Italian style and signature in photography ?
There have been and there still are great Italian fashion photographers, and some of them have played a part in the history of photography. I started enjoying photography thanks to Ferdinando Scianna with his pictures of Marpessa in Sicilia and of Gian Paolo Barbieri. I am very fond of Giovanni Gastel and Giampaolo Sgura.
They have very different but unmistakable styles. They have a very precise sense of research and elegance, a sense of beauty in the Italian meaning of the word. Italian people have been very fond of beauty for centuries now, despite the problems we have faced.
How would you define elegance ?
I believe that elegance is always related to inwardness rather than clothing. It comes from culture, from self-respect and respect for others, from life, from the great gift of being alive in this world. Elegant people stay elegant in any context, with any type of people. I also enjoy a more eccentric form of elegance, that of eclectic characters – it is a way of expressing intelligence and internal chaos.
What pictures of Maison Sensey would you take ?
It would probably be something that combines my idea of the Italian style with this French touch that I have always loved – something more mischievous and chicer that French people always achieve with very little effort. After all, we love beauty and elegance and we represent the world!