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This week's focus: Marina Sersale

5 years ago

Marina Sersale grew up in Rome and from a young age was fascinated by the visual arts, yet it wasn't until she was 20-years old she first picked up a camera. After pursuing a career in documentary filmmaking, Marina embraced a change and became a perfumer but her love for images – particularly photography – stayed with her. In late 2012 she took up iPhone photography and she now has 78,000 followers on Instagram and is represented by Ilex Gallery, in Rome. 

Marina is taking over our Instagram feed for a week (March 10-16, 2019), sharing a collection of her graphic monochrome street images. We caught up with her to find out more about her photography.    

How key is the camera you use (an iPhone) in influencing your highly graphic, monochrome style?
I use an iPhone because I find it easy to use and I like its immediacy. I love that people don’t find it threatening or take it seriously. Occasionally somebody asks me what I’m doing but normally I’m invisible and nobody pays me any attention.  The phone is with me all the time and if I find myself in an interesting situation and I have time, I can just stop and photograph. It’s less of a statement than a camera, both to myself and to others, and that’s what I like about it. I feel invisible with it and it helps me work. 

Have you ever tried using a different tool to take pictures? 
Yes I have, but I'm less confident and above all, less fast. Speed and confidence come with practice but I find myself more comfortable with the iPhone so that's what I normally use.

How has Instagram benefited your photography and if yes, how?
Instagram can be a great source of inspiration, I follow many truly excellent photographers from whose work I learn, daily. But there's also a risky side to it because people tend to adapt their style to what works on Instagram and that's not good: Instagram is a platform on which everyone can find an audience and I think this is a major, unmissable, opportunity to be truly original and the best you can. 

What do you think is hot right now in the photography world?
Instagram, it has revolutionized the way people experience photography. 

Alongside your photography you're a perfumer and own a number of fragrances under Eau d’Italie. How has creating this brand fed into how to you capture pictures?   
With my husband, we created two perfume brands, Eau d'Italie and more recently
ALTAIA. I find there's a lot of synergy in doing very creative jobs in completely different fields. I don't know how to explain it but while we were developing our newest brand ALTAIA I was already deep into photography and the creativity that came out of one field fed straight into the other and vice-versa. I could feel it at the time and it was really wonderful, like being on a creative high all the time. I think the more sources of inspiration you have, the more inspired you are.

What photo project are you currently working on? 
It's a project about a place I used to go as a kid in summer and I've been working on it for a few years now. I still go there every summer for a few weeks and that's mainly when I work on it. 

See Marina's portfolio on her Instagram feed