Graciela Magnoni – Nosotras
The photographer’s long-term project is rather like an on-going exposure of the differences and, above all, the commonalities between girls and women all over the world. For Magnoni, photography is her passion and a part of her true self. She uses the camera to capture everyday scenes, in which she sees aspects of herself reflected.
Her LOBA series has been given the title “Us” in Spanish. The pictures were taken in seventeen cities in thirteen countries. “I believe this itinerant way of life was the precursor to my curiosity towards different cultures and places, as an adult. Somehow photography was the perfect match for this kind of life,” Graciela Magnoni says, speaking of her approach. Working with a camera is something she taught herself, and photography has always been an important element in her existence; it is the foundation on which she stands. “Photography is my hobby, my work, my therapy, my love and the structure of my life. It sets me free, because I can do it anywhere and anytime, on my own terms. It’s my tool to explore the world in a personal and intimate way, without rules or prerequisites. It’s a small window to a magical world,” she explains. It is the window through which she looks for the commonalities in women's lives. The connection she feels, as a result, is also the motivation that keeps her exploring facets of herself.
“As somebody without a clear cultural identity, photography became my identity. It defines me and keeps me grounded.”
An experienced photographer, Magnoni knows all about the potential frustrations of her work. The street photography genre is a field that requires a lot of patience. “Control and familiarity with the camera help; but scenes, people, and moments we encounter on the streets are beyond our control, which makes street photography very challenging most of the time. The rate of success for obtaining good images is quite low, so it can be quite frustrating and discouraging at times. This is why it’s best to enjoy the process, rather than focusing on the result. Self-motivation is fundamental to keep going.” When asked what meaning she gives her images, Magnoni says: “I would not call what I do social documentary; I would call it personal documentary or personal narrative. I don’t believe my photos show or tell a factual truth. That does not mean they are fake, but they do show a selective interpretation of the world.”
Graciela Magnoni was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1961. “My parents led an itinerant nomadic life and, as a child, I went along with them. Today, I photograph on the streets of every city I visit.” Magnoni is a self-taught photographer. She holds a BA in Journalism (Brazil), and an MA in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota (USA). She worked for several years as a staff photographer for Istoé, a news magazine in Brazil. She is based in Singapore. Her latest book, titled Watan, about the Indian state of Punjab, was published in June 2021.
Portrait © Silvia Hagge