'Meet the Collective:' Davide Padovan's Captivating Portrait Photography

By Ellen Clipson - 6 min read

As part of 'The Collective', Davide Padovan represents EyeEm's emerging creative talent. Davide's film photography and portraits capture raw emotions and the beauty found in everyday moments.

With photography as his main art form, Davide’s work aims to visualize social contradictions, highlight subtle stereotypes and initiate progressive discussions. In this ‘Meet The Collective’ feature, he shares his insights on facing nerves, creative motivation and how to speak to a diverse audience.

Bringing a Refreshing Approach to Film Photography to ‘The Collective’ Platform

During the last year of high school, I started taking pictures, to copy them with drawings on canvas. In the end, I realized that I was more interested in the style and process of photography – it was quicker, and more instinctive.

I grew up a lot behind the pictures. In a way, the picture itself can simply be an excuse to meet people you are supposed to meet, or be in a situation where you’re not supposed to be. In this way, I’m often more interested in the performance of taking pictures than the pictures themselves.

Throughout my work I have found many unconscious references to works of art that I had previously studied. I always want to go beyond sexualizing the body because with the studies that I did in the history of art, and so this influence has made it more easy for me. I like the intimacy that nudes can create, and also, that they can underline a lot of contradictions that exist in our world that derive from stereotypes.

When you meet a stranger and invade his or her personal space you can see the different kinds of behavior that they have. I usually try to shoot people in their own homes because I want to see how they develop particular behaviors. Together we are pushing the boundaries because we are both outside of our comfort zones.

The first thing that I try to do is to not sexualize the body. One of the first stereotypes I have been confronted with throughout my photography, is that ‘nakedness’ equals ‘sexulized’. The interesting thing is to shoot people in film, as they’re not able to see themselves during the shoot. I think by having models unable to see the images immediately takes the pressure off me as the photographer. Instead, you need to wait for the developing process and so by the time that you get to see the pictures a few weeks later, all the concepts and the stereotypes are gone.

A lot of people’s told me that my work is pornography, and so of course, I have learnt to deal with these opinions. This issue talks more about the reaction of the audience, that it does the images itself, or about sexuality.

I have realized that photography is just a reflection of what we are as a society today. I want my work to show an alternative point of view, or a way of encouraging people to talk about it, and so I am happy if that happens. I don’t want to give an explanation, I prefer to give people doubts. In that way I prefer my work to create a conversation rather than a solution.

I belong to a collective of people and photographers called AllFormat Collective, and so I use a lot of film to shoot my series. Our aim is not not to say that film is better than digital, but simply that it suits some people better and is a great way of stopping the oversaturation of images.

Sometimes the photographs are better than expected, and sometimes they are worse. A lot of times the people I shoot are just normal people, and so I can feel a little bit of fear at the time. Therefore, the things that I see in the viewfinder, are often distorted by my own mind. As it is a process and a meeting of emotions from both sides, unique differences between each photograph are created.

I always carry the camera around with me because every time that I don’t do it I regret it. I shoot a little less because I am looking for new things, but I have learnt that bringing around my camera everywhere I go is the best way to fight these moments of no motivation.

Shooting with a phone can be interesting, and is part of the everyday process of making images, almost like a sketchbook. I see it as another kind of language and I think that as a photographer, as someone who speaks with images, being able to speak or use every kind of language is important.

With the project called ‘Common Sense of Disorder’, the title came to my mind when I was taking pictures on the streets and I heard these guys say it. So it’s not my title, I just heard someone say it, and knew it was perfect.

The other one I am trying to develop about my homeland A Quiet Noise on the Background. I tried to go to local social events like religious parades or groups of people on the lake, and there was always some kind of sound in the background that followed me everywhere. This project aims to get the audience to hear this sound through my pictures.

In the end I want to create a good balance of information, and that’s what I am trying to do. The process is so slow, just like when you get old – you don’t realize you are getting old until you see a picture of you from 10 years ago.

Davide is part of ‘The Collective’ which showcases EyeEm’s most exciting and upcoming talent. Want a glimpse into their outstanding work? Take a look here.

Check out more of Davide’s work with his online portfolio or his Instagram.

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