LomoWomen 2020: The Dreamlike Photography of Emanuela Cau


In celebration of International Women's Month, we chose to reach out to incredible photographers with a unique talent: Emanuela Cau is an Italian artist who uses the value of the image to create something new, she has impressed us for with her authenticity and originality that she brings to her pictures. We talked with Emanuela in order to understand better her work and her photography art.

© Emanuela Cau

Hello, Emanuela! Welcome to the Lomography Magazine! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

First of all, I would like to thank you for this interview, I’m glad to have the chance to talk with you about my work.
I’m born on an island, so I developed a profound bond with natural elements, especially the sea. I worked for several years as an actress and director in both movie and theater environments, but for a few years, I prefer to express myself through photography.
I have a son who has a strong sense of humor.
I live constantly in between reality and absurd :)

Did you study arts in school? If so, was it photography or another medium? What inspired you to pursue photography?

Since I was a young girl I felt the necessity to experience, know and communicate through different means of expression. I attended an artistic high school, focused on the technique of drawing and painting. After the diploma, I started the artistic path with photography, video and reciting.

We noticed Emanuela’s works and really enjoy the authenticity and originality that she brings to her pictures. Please tell us more about this

It’s difficult to explain my artistic work in a few words. It’s similar to the gardener’s work: it starts with an inner desire, a vision that is not yet very clear even to me, but I feel the necessity to let it emerge, germinate like a seed. So I have to prepare the terrain, protect the area around the sprout and gather everything that can help me to fertilize the land of my imagination. Only when I feel I have fed enough my confidence, creativity, tenacity, and goodwill I can start with the shooting.
In this artistic process, I’m gardener and seed at the same time, indeed most of my artworks are self-portrait.

© Emanuela Cau

How would you describe your style?

I’m not looking for a precise style. At the opposite, I try to constantly change, attempting to something new. That not happens for a rational reason, but it’s a needing: I need to take new routes, ever looking for the unknown.
My experimental work involves all the moment of creation, starting with the shooting and continuing with post-production and printing phases.
In my work is not important the perfection of the photo (it doesn’t satisfy my artistic needing). What is necessary is to realize something that can communicate with people.

In your pictures, the leitmotif is always a woman. Are you always the subject in all your pieces?

Usually, I’m the subject of my photographs. Anyway, since I learned how it feels to be inside my artworks I’m fascinated to enrich my work with different subjects.

Through your pictures do you want to enthrall others into the 'other world' that belongs only in one's imagination? How do you achieve this dream-like atmosphere while retaining the photos’ authenticity?

While I work on my photographs I live in another reality and the camera becomes a discreet witness of this artistic experience.
I don’t mean to take people into my world: I live inside the creation process, never trying to project myself out of the artwork or thinking about the effect on the audience.
But when someone, looking at my art, recognizes something familiar but inexplicable that can make him/her fantasy run, I understand my work is completed and I feel happy and satisfied.

© Emanuela Cau

What do you want to express in your pictures?

I would like to express courage, humility, dedication but also magic, beauty… the unknown…

Which camera and film do you use to shoot your pictures and then how you produce them? What’s the technique do you use?

I use a digital camera with only manual settings, high-quality images, and high dynamic range imaging. I’m not a good learner, I’m a self-taught artist and I prefer to learn through my own mistakes. It’s difficult to explain my work technique since I achieve my artistic goal in very different ways. As I already told you, I like to experiment and often I work on similar artworks with different techniques.

When you start creating your image, do you always begin with a blank slate or you have a clear idea about the final work in your mind?

My work starts with some props (those are necessary to gain momentum). Then the work is fueled by my interaction with the environment, the objects around and my inner state. I let things surprise me and I avoid the expectation of a certain result or a determinate image. The image in my mind that encouraged me to create is constantly transformed and adapts to the reality and the vitality of the moment I’m living.

© Emanuela Cau

Finally, we can’t wait to see more of your work! Do you have more plans for the future?

I’m very glad I started to work together with Ivana Salis, a careful, brilliant and talented art curator. She will curate my next solo exhibition.
At this moment I’m interested in reportages (especially social reportage) and portrait, so I’m now focused on this kind of artistic research.

It was a pleasure to talk to you! To know more about Emanuela and discover other projects, go on her Instagram . If you are curious about her dreamlike pictures you can find more on Facebook


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