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"I want to tell people to think about themselves, to understand themselves, to understand each other, to talk, to cry, to scream, to do everything in order to feel alive."


Paolo Barretta is a multitalented artist. Photographer's heart with a musician's soul. The artist lives and works in Italy, where the pandemic has ravaged a community. His work, stillness that depicts a sense of isolation we can all relate to at this time. Making us aware of what it means to feel alive. 

Paolo tells us about the artistic community coming together in Italy and what he wants to do when we get past this difficult period of time. 

You currently live in Italy where the pandemic has had such a massive impact. How is the artistic community holding up in this period of time?

Yes, I do live in Italy where the situation is very hard and I'm afraid that it's only the beginning. We are facing something very big and we are trying to be as strong as possible. The artistic community is doing a lot about that. We are connected to each other, talking in order to destroy the distance and this feeling of being lost like never before.

I really believe in this, because no one wants to be alone, and it's very important to know there are so many people like you out there. People who want to be heard and not to be scared.

Hard time for the world, can't deny it, but we need to be strong every single day, because we are in this together.


Why is creative expression so important in times like these?

Creative expression is always very important. I'd say indispensable, but in hard times like these I think it could be something more. It's a way to make the world different, to let everyone know that we're alive, here and now.


We are giving you an open platform. What do you want to tell the people out there?

I just want to tell everybody: you are not alone. I want to let everyone know that even though we are going to live something never ever faced before, we'll face it with courage and sacrifices. Because we are the real power in this world, and all together we can do something huge. I want to tell people that I feel lost too, that I'm scared, that I would love to come back to my life waking up from a very bad dream. But I also believe that when everything is finished, maybe we'll be a better version of ourselves. I want to tell people to think about themselves, to understand themselves, to understand each other, to talk, to cry, to scream, to do everything in order to feel alive.


Your medium is photography. What drew you to this type of medium?

My medium is photography and music. Music comes first. Playing the piano is like therapy for me. I can really escape from here, traveling in the abstract spaces of my mind. Music is my obsession, photography is my passion. I think I'm so attracted to photography because of the way it makes me feel when I create things I have in my mind. It's like giving a part of me to any picture, and when I create something about me for the world I feel complete. As if all my pieces were back to the right place.



What are the important elements of a good composition?

Well, there are so many good elements to make a good composition. I think geometry is very important. I really appreciate the mix between good geometry and good light. Composition is important (and I am a composition soldier haha) but it's more about what you wanna tell through it. I think being honest is the best way possibile to start taking pictures. To tell "your" stories instead of what they expect you to do.



Who are some of the photographers that have influenced your work over the years?

To be honest, I've never been really influenced by other people. It's more about my feelings. But for sure there are some of them that I really appreciate. Gregory Crewdson for example, I really love his work. He's was very inspiring when I was younger. The painter Edward Hopper as well. I think he's been crucial for me, because I found myself in the way he blocked the human being in the silence of the time.



If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?

I think I don't have an answer to this question. So many people and no one at the same time.



When we get out of this pandemic, where is the first place you’d love to go?

Out. Out there. I don't care where, I really don't. I would go out and I think I'd just love to hug someone. I'd go by the sea, breathing and feeling parts of the world again. I would scream with my friends, with the people I love so much and I can't see right now. I would go back working, meeting new people, talking and drinking, dancing and kissing. I would drive with the windows down and I would try to catch the air with my hand. Some good music on feeling the sun on me. I would have parties, I would go to the cinema, I would sleep with someone next to me.




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