Amanda Montenovo

One To Watch

Tell me about your work, how would you describe your photography?


I would say I’m obsessed with the present and with recording what’s going on around me. I’m a compulsive shooter, I just can’t help it. I had this impulse towards “recording” what was happening since I was very young and this translates into my work. For instance, I also take notes of things I see or conversations I heard.


Who or what inspires you the most?


What I find inspiring about photography itself is the ability to capture a moment that won’t happen ever again, that perhaps just you noticed and no one else did. But what inspires me the most generally speaking are cinema and great stories. I would like to experiment with film making too one day.


How does your location, where you live, influence your work?


I’m originally from Italy but I spent 6 years in London during my studies and I did notice some differences. In London I go crazy with taking pictures, I’m much more impulsive. Thankfully I was lucky enough to have a group of friends there that didn’t mind the constant noise and bright flash of my camera, as I took photos of them basically all the time. When I’m back home, in Italy, I usually slow down. I’m more selective when taking a photo, it’s a completely different experience.


Have you ever been discouraged or affect by a creative block, and if so how did you get out of it?


I went through the typical quarter life crisis after graduating. I wasn’t completely sure I studied what I actually liked the most, where I was going and what to do next. For a few months I didn’t produce any creative work and felt completely direction-less. If I forced myself to work on personal projects all I was getting was the opposite result, nothing done. Then I didn’t do anything in particularly except from reading books and watching my favourite films over and over in my free time. I took it very slowly and then gradually and naturally I started writing and taking photos again, like nothing ever happened. I think you just need some time to stop and actually reflect once in a while. Stressing over how unproductive you are definitely doesn’t help.


Your images have a very personal approach, is this something you do purposefully or naturally?


It all happens very naturally to me when I take a photo, I usually don’t think but rather just shoot what I’m seeing, what’s happening. Although for the last project I worked on, which is on the portrait side, the approach was more thoughtful and less impulsive I must say.


What projects are you working on next?


Recently I have worked on a very personal project in Italy, consisted of portraits of my younger cousin wearing different kind of shirts. It was shot at my paternal grandparents and great aunt’s home, where both of us spent part of our childhood. The house is now uninhabited and I haven’t entered it in years, not even prior to shooting as I didn’t want to over-plan it. I didn’t know what to expect really. The project itself relies mainly around the memory of my great aunt, which was a seamstress and tailor specialised in men and women's shirts. This project also marks my first ever shoot in medium format, which I am planning to use again during my trip in the US.


What is the best advice you have been given?


I have been told by a friend to always take photos, of everything, because with time they become more important. Not just to me; their emotional and artistic value increases. Maybe now the photos you take can look common and boring but in 30, 40 years time they will document a different era. Places and people will change. I’m personally driven by this while taking photos, it’s like I am already nostalgic of the present, if that makes any sense whatsoever.