Interview With Carlotta Roda from Italy

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Carlotta Roda

Carlotta Roda is a professional photographer from Italy who has a passion for photography since childhood. She learned with a semi-professional camera at age 6 and later graduated from the IED in Milan with a degree in photography. One of her most important photos is one she took of a woman dressed in white against the sea at sunset.

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

My name is Carlotta Roda and I was born in Como Province, Italy. My father has given me a passion for photography since I was a little girl. In fact, at the age of 6, I received my first semi-professional camera. I still remember it. It was a compact Canon and I used it for many years, before moving on to reflex cameras as a teenager and then mirrorless cameras.

2Where did you study photography?

When I was 19, I decided to make my passion my job. I enrolled at the IED in Milan and obtained a degree in photography in 2021.

3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
When I was a child, I remember that as a "model," I always used my dog Lilly to experiment and always learn new things. These are the very first photos. There is a photograph that, however, marked my life and made me understand that photography would be my life. I was 13, it was sunset, and I was on the beach with my dad. Several people were photographing the sunset, while I was the only one photographing the opposite side of the beach. There was this girl dressed in white and I had a flash of an idea: to take a photo with long shutter speeds to create the velvet effect of the sea and at the same time recreate the ghost effect with the woman. I can call it the first professional photo of my life.
4What equipment do you use?
Currently, I use a Canon R5, usually supported by three lenses, the Canon RF 15-35mm F/2.8L IS USM, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (sometimes joined by the Canon Extender 2x).
5What do you hope to achieve?

What I want most in my life is to be able to produce photographs that can leave a mark on people. I would like people to feel emotions in front of my photos and keep them in their minds.

6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?

The compliments that help me the most are from my family. They are the ones who motivate me, who give me the strength to continue in my career as a photographer, and without whom I would feel alone and lost.

7What inspires your unique storytelling?
Focusing on both the intimate and the grand, my goal is to evoke a sense of awe and reflection in viewers. With the camera, I feel the need to search for meaning beyond evidence, and I use photography to evoke imaginary realities, as an infinite universe of research. I intend to put man before himself to ask questions about his existence.
8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
I think my photography style can be described as dreamlike, thoughtful, and fascinating.
9Congratulations! As the winner of the New York Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

I think it's a beautiful achievement and it's worth a lot to me. I honestly didn't expect it. I had to reread the email several times to understand that I wasn't dreaming.

10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 New York Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

In this competition, I decided to present a project that I care about a lot and that I think I will continue to do for the rest of my life. I brought a series of images taken in New York at night from above, the main theme of which is light pollution. I wanted to participate in this competition because I wanted to show viewers from all over the world the wonder that night can offer, creating fascination in the viewer to discover how much light there is in the darkness.

11How has winning an award developed your career?
Winning an award makes you stronger and more confident. I'm a girl with low self-esteem and seeing my work being appreciated by someone makes me think, "So maybe I'm worth something."
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Many photographers have inspired me during my photographic career, including Peter Lik, Luca Fornaciari, and Paul Zizka.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
The best advice I have been given and which I also recommend is never to give up. I know it's a phrase that may seem obvious, but often there are negative periods, and the idea of giving up everything crosses your mind. We have to be stronger than our head and knock it down because if it knocks us down, it's over.
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

The advice I can give to a starting photographer is to start without setting limits but rather experiment as much as possible. Today I'm mainly a night and astronomy photographer, but just three years ago I would never have thought this would become my niche. We need to try out as many photographic genres as possible and gradually leave behind those with whom we feel less comfortable and continue with those we feel are ours. For me, forcing myself into a specific genre right from the start can be limiting and doesn't always allow people to realize themselves.

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I think my greatest strengths are determination and passion. Thanks to this, I can achieve my goals and be ready for new stimuli. Another important aspect is the desire to continue to discover and always want to learn something new. The world goes on without man. Man must be able to keep up with the world.

16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
I always like to be on the lookout for new things to discover and learn. I'm usually a very curious person. My study trip certainly didn't end the day I received my university degree certificate, it's a road that will never end.
17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
It was a pleasure to answer these questions. I would like to express my gratitude to the New York Photography Awards and the jury for selecting my photos for the award.

Winning Entry

Lights in New York | 2023

I am an astronomy, landscape and nocturnal cityscape photographer and I offer fine art images to international art collectors. My photographs celebrate the wonder that ..…
(Read more at New York Photography Awards)

Carlotta Roda

Carlotta Roda is a professional photographer from Italy who has a passion for photography since childhood. She learned with a semi-professional camera at age 6 and later graduated from the IED in Milan with a degree in photography. One of her most important photos is one she took of a woman dressed in white against the sea at sunset.

Read more about this article of Ru Fang Dong, the 2023 Gold Winner from the New York Photography Awards.