By SPECIWOMEN Illustration SENDRA UEBELE
“Photography has been important for me as a human being, but being a woman photographer has been a struggle.”
Who are you?
My name is Davida Carta, I am originally from Milan, Italy, but have been living in the US since 2010, between Vermont and Massachusetts. My personal work focuses on representing the feeling of home. I photograph a lot inside my home, and other people’s spaces too.
I also love the curatorial aspect of Photography, and work with other people’s images. In 2016 I created Underexposed Magazine, an online platform that shares and promotes photography made by women and women identifying photographers.
What made you pick up a camera for the first time?
I started after a dear person passed away, and continued to keep his legacy alive.
Why do you photograph?
Photography helps me understand the world I live in and its complexities, and lets me unfold and unpack its meaning in a visual way, which I think it is one of the ways I learn the best. Even when I’m not working on a particular project, I always have a camera with me.
When someone views your work, what do you want them to feel?
I want them to have a gut-reaction. I don’t necessary want them to like the work, but I do want to spark a conversation. Maybe they will remember an event, a person in their lives, and make connections with their personal experience through my images.
Are there any subjects you feel most comfortable shooting?
I like to photograph people in their environment, but also the space they occupy, their homes. Being a foreigner, at first my curiosity was about how people in the US organized their living space, and about the differences. Then, it became more about “studying” and documenting these spaces to find and recreate a feeling of home for myself. I’ve lived in so many houses, but never truly feel “at home”. It’s an unsettling mental state to be in, but creating a grounding space through photography was a big achievement.
What has been the most informative experience you’ve had as a photographer thus far?
Deciding to go back to school in the US and get a MFA in Photography was certainly the most informative experience for me. The level of conversations about photography, the tight community providing daily support, and the challenging questions were fundamental for my photographic education. After the language barrier and the cultural differences, I found that I was growing as a person and as an artist.
What are you able to convey via film that you can’t digitally or vice versa?
For me the difference between using film or digital is not in conveying a message, but more about choosing the medium intentionally. If it’s contextual or not, the choice has to be conscious.
Are you more comfortable behind or in front of the lens?
Definitely behind! I modeled before, to be empowered, but also to be able to have more empathy with what my subject would experience, and...I can recall it was not a success!
Where do you draw the most inspiration from?
What I call the quotidian, the everyday life, moments of serendipity that we all experience. Can we call it backyard photography?
I also get inspiration from music, literature, and of course, from other artists. Sometimes inspiration does not directly shows in my imagery, but it’s maybe in the details or in an evoked feeling.
Two of my favorite painters were Marc Chagall and Georgia O’Keeffe; the Democratic Forest by William Eggleston is a preferred photography book; and I particularly appreciate the work of photographers Diane Arbus and Imogen Cunningham.
What is it about photography that allows you to express yourself better than other art forms?
I am a visual learner, and photography allows me to first of all learn about the world I live in. Then it allowed me to express myself, my creativity, raise questions, propose a conversation.
What are your thoughts on social media and on technology constant evolution?
I use social media a tool. It has to be positively used, otherwise it sucks you in and it can be damaging. I see the youngest generations struggling with it, born and raised in the internet era...they don’t know what it’s like to live without it.
Why has it been important for you, as a woman, to be a photographer?
Photography has been important for me as a human being, but being a woman photographer has been a struggle. Women get less opportunities, less jobs, less money for the same job than men, they don’t get taken seriously. We always have to raise the bar a little bit. My nature is not competitive, so I easily “blend in with the walls”. It might be a cultural thing too.
All in all, what would you like to achieve for it?
I will keep promoting women's’ photography and help emerging photographers with their work. Building community is essential, especially nowadays, where individualism is pushed to the extreme, and art is not valued. I am committed to keep sharing conversations on photography, stimulate creativity and motivate each other with no judgement.
View Davida’s work here.