Arianna Lago’s photography gives viewers a unique perspective into her world. Her shooting style is very distinct and often deliberately composed. She has periodically used the obstruction of the body, and embraces colour in her recent work. Lago’s images have the compelling ability to draw you in; they are an amalgamation of art + fashion, clearly motivated by her own interests.
01 Magazine chats with the Italian born artist about growing up, living in London, and the next location she plans to call home.
Portrait of the artist by Jennifer Latour
Interview by Redia Soltis
Where have you lived?
I am from Northern Italy between Venice and the Dolomites. I moved to London after high school and lived in East London for the past 18 years. I attempted to escape the UK a few times but for some reason or another London pulled me back in. The longest I succeeded was a sabbatical year in Barcelona in 2012.
What is your favourite place that you have travelled to?
My favourite place that I have visited was probably India. I have only seen a very small percentage of the country, but I loved the cultural shock and the intensity of everything…the vivid colours, the smells, the climate… and at times also the discomfort. I think it’s important to feel slightly uncomfortable when you travel. It helps you question things.
Do you remember the first photo by a photographer that captivated you and influenced you to be one?
What comes to mind right now is my fascination with Priscilla, the mystery girl on the Dinosaur Junior’s album cover of ‘Green Minds’. I haven’t inherited much at all from the style of Szabo’s visual language but I remember how seeing that young kid with the cigarette in her mouth really spoke to me, and made me interested in discovering the power of imagery.
How did your career in photography start?
I started taking photos like most people during my travels and observing what surrounded me. At some point I also got involved shooting for friends who ran their own small fashion labels. One day an agent saw my personal work on a blog and asked me if I wanted to be represented. I obviously went for it and I have continued on this path.
You just did a shoot for the Evening Standard in Vancouver. I heard it was quick and fast. Any nice memories from the trip?
Yes it was an incredibly quick 2 nights and 3 days in Vancouver. I loved shooting and hanging out with Jennifer Latour (photographer) but I must admit it was pretty much all work and spending time in the hotel room for me. We had extremely limited time. The little spare time we had was used to find various locations for the shoot. It was strange noticing the huge drug addiction problem in Vancouver. I think that’s all I could think of when we left and something I kept noticing while I was there.
Lately you have been taking photos of nudes. I love these series of images because there is an artistic honesty to them. Can you talk to us more on what inspires you to do this type of photography?
This series of nudes was for the latest issue of ‘the September issue on ‘Seduction’, and a lot of the inspiration came from surrealist art. I loved this project, it was an opportunity for me to interpret and play with the idea of female sexuality. It’s great to work with the female body, the way it can be abstracted but also the purity of nudity where fashion is not the focus anymore.
What kind of camera do you prefer to shoot with?
I use Nikon SLR cameras both in digital and film.
There is a lot of creative use of colour in the images that you take and it also compliments the composition of the work. Can you talk more about your use of colour in your photography?
Since I was a kid I loved colour and painting. For me colour is a strong part of my language. The coordination of colours in my photography is quite a priority. With colour you can totally set a mood or an emotion. To me that is one of the most powerful elements in visual photography as it has the ability to trigger an emotion.
Do you listen to music while you are editing?
Music is a huge part in my creative process as I also come from a musical background. I am constantly researching new artists and responding to my mood with playlists. I am working on playlists all time time, music sets my mood and always accompanies my work .. I could talk and geek off about music for ages.
What artist’s can we hear on your playlist?
Grouper, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Joseph Shabason, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Justin Walter , Szun Waves, Sam Gendel, Christina Vanzou, Chihei Hatakeyama, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Bohren and der Club of Gore, Bill Nelson, Dirty Beaches, Ian William Craig ….
Where was the last place you went to?
The last place I went to was Vancouver! And before that I was LA in June where I stayed for about a month. I was also in Kenya and Sri Lanka recently for work. If you are asking me about leisure my last trip was in 2016 in South Africa.
Where are you going next?
I am in the middle of applying for an artist visa for the US. After 18 years of rain and grain skies I am ready for a new life chapter in LA with a different kind of light… let’s see how that works!
Tell me what is your favourite things about living in London?
What I love about London is the amount of energy it has, and the culture available at your doorstep. Sometimes I stay in my Dalston neighbourhood for weeks without ever taking public transportation and I just love walking where I need to go.
Also I love that everything is constantly in movement and mutation. If I leave for a couple of weeks when I come back I notice changes in my neighbourhood. It’s hard to keep up… a new coffee shop or a new music venue etc … I love it but it also frightens me as everything feels transitory. You meet a lot of nice and creative people in London who came to make some sort of dream come true but not many end up staying.