“Light as a Second Skin” by Manto Prestipino

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Hi Manto, welcome on FramePress Magazine. Tell us a little bit more about you.
Hello and thank you for this opportunity!

I’m Manto Prestipino, I am 24 and live in Palermo, the city where I was born, and that took me time to learn to love. I have been photographing for a few years. I have started to truly appreciate it in my teenage years: being an introvert I found a chance to express my most personal feelings. I have recently started to develop a passion for movies as well, thanks to my partner.

This photos are analogical. Could you tell us more about the camera and the films you have used?
I have used my Nikon FE with a 50mm f1.8 and Kodak Ultra Max 400 films. I have discovered this camera thanks to a dear friend, who gave me one his father was no longer using. I’ll never thank him enough, as it is thanks to that camera that I discovered my passion for analogical photography. I was always fascinated by it but my experience was limited to single use cameras – plus two very unlucky attempts at point-and-shoot cameras…both broken and both times I found out only once the film was over! -.

Why did you choose film instead of digital?
OI have been working with analogical photography for the past few years as I am sure it’s the medium that is able to convey my vision of reality in a better way. I was also planning to use very intense lighting for this photo shoot and I was curious to see how the combination light-film-skin would turn out.

What’s analog photography for you and what do you feel when you are shooting?
Photography has always been my companion, it helps me to understand better both myself and the world around me.
Analogical photography in particular it’s what allows me to go beyond the surface, I feel like it helps me explore deeper within myself to a point I couldn’t reach with digital.
As a digital native I have experimented first hand how our reality started to go faster: if some feel the need to conform to this pace, it is also true one can choose up to what point they want to do it. That’s why I took a step back from the digital and chose the analogical, because it suits more my personality.
The passage has been gradual, with time I was more and more aware of my choices and of the reasons that pushed me towards analog photography. Furthermore I have realised that I do prefer the texture of film to the almost flawless definition of digital photography, so I don’t deny that there is also an aesthetic reason.

The picture in “Light as a Second Skin” are really eye-catching due to their strong colours.
What made you create such defined contrasts?
With this series I have tried to push myself a little bit forward from what I usually do, so the tones reflect that a lot. Usually I prefer warm, pastel tones but in this series I have used stronger colours and bolder contrasts to create portraits with a great visual impact. I dare to think that the atmosphere in these pictures reflects Antonio’s personality, like a silent provocation.
In my portraits I always strive to stay true to the subject: I hope that when they see their picture they are able to see themselves on a deeper level, that the narrative created by the pictures is coherent with the subjects themselves. My biggest goal is to make the models see something new about themselves, although more realistically I probably just give them the chance to see themselves through my point of view.

Most of the time females are the chosen subjects for in portrait series, but you picked a male one. How come?
I had imagined a male as a subject for this series from the very beginning, in order produce sharp shadows and interesting contrasts once the model hit by the light. I also had been wanting to shoot something with Antonio for a while, and he turned out to be the perfect person for this project. I remember I felt very satisfied by the shooting and of the atmosphere we created even before seeing the outcome.

How come did you pick “Light as a second skin” for publishing?
I think I really put myself on the line with this project, despite having thought for a long time that portraits were out of my league: I wasn’t really satisfied with my previous experiences. This series helped me to grow, to prove something to myself and to remove a self-imposed limit that was there because I was afraid of failing my model’s expectations (and mine!) and not be able to fully portray my vision.

Are you already working on another project or are you thinking about one?
At the moment I would like to keep on working on portraits, I really like the creative process that happens with another person on the other side of the lenses.
Furthermore I had the pleasure of working as a director of photography for a music video with Undo Videolab, a videomaking collective in Palermo. It was my first experience in this role and it helped me discover how fascinating it can be, so I don’t deny I would love to work on this more in the future.

All images © Manto Prestipino / Instagram: @heymanto
Translated by Claudia Russo

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