• David Spadavecchia


Updated: Dec 17, 2019


When one thinks of the female form, art inevitably comes to mind. Since opposable thumbs first learned to grasp tools and scribble, the history of human culture has recorded the female essence through a myriad of artistic platforms.

For Italian photographer Kiara Rossi Consolandi, women are the protagonists” for her visual tales. “I love the female body,” she explained to InSpades.

Comparing herself to a sculptor, Rossi Consolandi extracts the raw spirit of her female models and reflects it on their exteriors.

“Caryatid”, a self-portrait, connotes the era of classical Greek sculpture. Traditional in its elements yet contemporary in the subject’s positioning, Rossi Consolandi’s piece is an evocative visual ode to ancient Grecian culture.

Clutching a draped sheet, her slender limbs maintain a sense of motion within the still image, while her foot grazes a stone pedestal. With her hair shrouding her face, Rossi Consolandi seems to both invite and reject the viewer’s gaze.

“I’m not a photographer, I’m a visionary storyteller.” Rossi Consolandi’s collection “Mnemosyne”—the title again recalling ancient Greece with the reference to the mythological goddess of memory—creates the narrative for a heritage home within a series of images featuring model Roberta Falardi.

Set in an old Italian house, where “memories of a mysterious past” are preserved in the sombre atmosphere, Rossi Consolandi explores the potential tales and history contained within the setting. “I do not photograph what I see, but what I imagine, stories of parallel worlds.”

In one image from the “Mnemosyne” series, shadows from a window pane divide the subject’s face, casting warped rectangles of light and dark across the scene. In another, the subject’s stiff and vertical sprawl against a wall leaves the viewer feeling uneasy. Stringy hair conceals her face, obstructing the viewer’s attempt to ascertain the subject’s expression; here, the instinct that humans habitually rely on to assess a social situation is denied, thus enabling viewer vulnerability. Despite the apparently simplistic positioning of the scene, the viewer is left feeling unsettled and haunted by the subject’s eerie pose in the starkly vacant house.

While Rossi Consolandi’s past interests included travel photography and visual reportage, she now indulges in the photography of human subjects placed within an “unusual context [that is] dreamy, visionary.”

“Water Dream”, reminiscent of Ophelia’s dainty demise in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, presents a woman submerged in a water, flowers in hand. She wears nothing but a translucent slip, soaking between waking and sleep, the bouquet incarnating her “dreams of flowers, blue.”

While Rossi Consolandi considers photography to be her “great passion”, it has lately evolved into a profession. Rossi Consolandi’s work can now be found in homes, the result of her collaboration with a studio of interior design.

Immersing herself in the visuals arts force that Italy is known for, Rossi Consolandi stands apart not just for her ability to capture the curves and miraculous forms of a woman, but for her skill to gently coax a woman’s essence from the body and through the lens, draping it over her form and making her being visible to all.

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