Mena Sambiasi: “In my way of seeing, a photo depicts moments in time and a lot of wondering”

Mena Sambiasi: “In my way of seeing, a photo depicts moments in time and a lot of wondering”


Let me start with a personal note… I read a caption to one of your photos: ”there is no particular reason to search for meaning” by William Eggleston. I adore William Eggleston… I adore having “no meaning”…
My name is Mena Sambiasi. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1979. I studied advertising and media production. In 2001, at the age of 22, I moved to Spain. I worked in TV channels as a camerawoman in Malaga and as a supervising producer in a production company in Madrid for 5 years. Suddenly I felt like I needed a change, so I moved back to Argentina to study photography in more depth. During a creative photography workshop I realized that color reflections were a constant in my work and that all of my images were vertical, which is unusual coming from the horizontal world of television. Two years and a half later, I returned to Malaga, Spain, where I’m currently based.

Well, you are from Argentina, you live in Malaga and you take photographs all over the world… Are you the one who “clicks” with the camera and defines the result, or do your snapshots identify themselves?
I need to discover new places, I love to wander through the cities and find out things that get my attention. When you see my photos, you can rarely tell where they were taken, because they all focus on details, pieces of reality which could be anywhere.

Reflections… I love reflections and I think they can reset the distances between the objects and “freeze” time as they incorporate many images into one… What do reflections mean to you?
Reflections are an expression of my curious side. I love to create a story that’s made with a bunch of optical layers in only one shot. They have an interesting depth due to the texture of the reflected surface and all the layers that appear. I think that this kind of reflected photography interacts with the viewers in a level that requires them to deconstruct the image.

I’ ve noticed that most of your photos have no specific frame, they seem like they are still part of the reality around them, and this is something you have achieved with one single shot…
They have no specific frame, because they’re not structured, they are made with different perspectives, which seems chaotic and inviting at the same time. In the beginning I always needed to look for meaning and certain structure. Taking reflections was a relief because I let go of the need of things to be aligned and it became a way of expressing that creative and messy side that sets me free.

Single shots seem to me like a dive in the image, an entry into it, which I like very much…
That’s right, you have to enter that reflected universe in order to discover more. First impression changes once you start discovering the layers. The same thing happens to me. I take a photo because I love what it makes me feel and because of my need to capture it. By the time I see it on my computer I find new things and when I have the large print in front of me I find myself discovering so much more.

There are colors all over, also some allegories… Is this part of Latin culture, are they used to express emotions? 
I don’t know about the Latin culture, I just know that I love color and I need it to express myself. I take reflected photographs and also others that I call “direct”, they are poetic to me, they are expressions of how I see and contemplate life. I think that “direct” photos connect with the viewer in a deeper and different way than reflections, where viewers dive into the image, but “direct” images trigger feelings and memories. Once again these photos are details, fragments of cropped realities. They say: “can’t see the wood for the trees”… I only see the trees!

Are you a street photographer or a photographer of life anyway? 
All I know is that I love taking photos; it’s therapeutic to me. I’m a photographer who loves taking photos in the cities.

Life has no limits… What about photography? 
Does photography have limits? Only if you set them.

What does a photo depict? (I can accept “nothing” for an answer…)
In my way of seeing, moments in time and a lot of wondering.

Will you continue to go round the world… also to places you have never been before? 
Absolutely! I love going to new places, the adrenaline of new experiences is the best!

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