Interview with Alessia Glaviano, Brand Visual Director Vogue Italia

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the distinguished Leica Oskar Barnack Award, Leica Camera AG have launched a new, nomination-based submission process. Seventy world-renowned photographic experts will be part of the nomination process. A select jury will then consider all the nominees and choose the winners from among them.
In the coming months we will introduce some of the expert nominators and ask them about their ideas and commitment: we start by interviewing Alessia Glaviano, Brand Visual Director of Vogue Italia, who is among them.

How important in your opinion is the Leica Oskar Barnack Award compared to other photographic awards?

LOBA is definitely one of the most prestigious photography awards. It’s incredible to look back at its history, which – considering the talented award-winners – is like looking at the history of photography. I have a problem these days with awards that don’t take into consideration the photographer’s background; in other words, awards given to images without knowing anything about who took them, without knowing the photographer’s story. It’s important to know how their background can influence their vision, potential bias and prejudices, etc. I know it’s sometimes difficult to change the rules of certain very important awards, but as the world changes those rules should be changing too.

I feel that LOBA is very different with its process: the photographers’ stories and their motivation is valued – and that’s so important!

In your opinion, what has LOBA’s international reputation been in the past and what should its future look like?

I think its reputation is outstanding. For sure, we can all improve in what we do and maybe there should be more of a focus on under-represented subjects and photographers. The world is finally recognizing how important it is to value diversity, so I feel awards should also reflect this.

Can you give us an insight into how you will go about selecting your proposals for LOBA?

I actually worked hard on it, because if I take on a commitment I’m very serious about it! What guided me was something which is at the core of everything I do: the common ground between ethics and aesthetics, and a strong belief – as I inferred in my previous answer – that there are a lot of incredible photographers out there, who don’t fall into the “white heterosexual male” category and whose work should finally get the deserved attention.

“The world is finally recognizing how important it is to value diversity, so I feel awards should also reflect this.”

What advantages do you see in a pre-selection by international experts?

As my friend Fred Ritchin said, I think we need curators to filter the overabundance more than we need legions of new photographers. In order to curtail the “like” culture, we have to emphasise the increasing importance of the editor’s work: it brings clarity and makes use of his or her experience and professionalism, separating what is authentic and worthy from that which is not.

What would you advise young photographers to do in order to become visible and get support?

Be persistent, work on projects that are important to you. When you edit, think about what are you editing it for: is it for a website, for social media, for Instagram, for a book, for an exhibition? Because your edit should vary, as every platform has different rules; and don’t forget that we live in a time where we are economical with our attention! It only takes 0.05 seconds for people to get a visual sense of what they’re looking at!

Finally, a question about the future of photography: do you have hopes and wishes?

To be increasingly aware and ethical.

Thank you very much and good luck for your nomination work.

Alessia Glaviano

Brand Visual Director of Vogue Italia and Director of the Photo Vogue Festival

Born in Palermo, Italy, she is now based in Milan. She has a degree in Economics from the Bocconi University in Milan, but has always been passionate about photography.

Besides curating a series of interviews with the Masters of Photography for the Vogue Italia website, Glaviano is also responsible for Photo Vogue, an innovative platform where users can share their own photographs. In 2016 she directed the first edition of The Photo Vogue Festival. Besides her editorial activity, Glaviano holds lectures and conferences on a regular basis.