Diana Bagnoli began her photographic career in earnest while living abroad, in Spain. While there, she produced an award-winning reportage on the subject of cheap housing in Barcelona. In the years to come, the full extent of Spain's real estate crisis would be revealed...
Since then, Bagnoli has produced other important stories around the world. Her work has been published in Marie Claire, Le Monde Magazine, Gioia, Io Donna, The Times and many other publications worldwide.
BtF: How did you begin your work in photography? Was there a "decisive moment" when you knew it was a special medium for you, when you felt truly committed to it?
DB: When I was 18 years old, I had the honor to inherit my mother's camera—a Minolta Srt 101. I fell in love. I took it in my hands and never let go—I haven’t stopped taking pictures from that moment.
Later, when I realized that I could print pictures by myself, I built a darkroom in the basement of my family house. I spent most of my nights in there. Once I had grown up, I left my family house to study photography in Spain. At least there I had a proper dark room!
Another key moment was my first trip around Europe—just me and my new-old camera. I was seeing the world from another (focused) perspective for the first time. It was so exciting.
BtF: When you were beginning photography, were there any people, artists, books, films that served as essential inspirations? How about now—any sources of creativity you discovered recently that give you that jolt of "beginner's" passion?
DB: I was such a big fan of National Geographic. Since I was a child, I had every kind of subscription, even the weekly classes of photography which were delivered (then) by CD-ROM.
In those early days, I remember being very fascinated by the work of many radically different artists: LaChapelle to William Klein, Leibovitz and Salgado. At that point, the most important thing for me was enjoying beauty—no matter which style or technique.
These days, it's so much easier to be inspired...our imaginary world has been multiplied tenfold by the Internet and it's not hard to find interesting points of departure for new projects in a few clicks. When thinking of new project, I always do a lot of research to know what has been done by either famous or unknown photographer around the topic.
BtF: Cartier-Bresson famously said, "Your first 10,000 shots are your worst." Can you share a humbling moment that happened to you recently with regards to your photography? A moment when you realized, like all of us, that there's always much more to learn?
DB: More or less always. I feel like I'm continuously learning and I can improve the work I do every day. I find that there is no a finish line for perfection—as I grow as a professional, I find that I only become more demanding with myself. Old pictures that I loved once are now full of flaws in my eyes.
The humbling moments happen often while working on projects. The worst is that moment—when the work is already edited and published, after having put great effort into it—that horrible moment when I realize: I'm not in love with it any more. This is always a bit traumatic but then I remind myself it'll be better next time.
What I love is that photography is a means of self-expression, that means it reflects my own internal growth and the changing perceptions I have of myself.
—Diana Bagnoli, intervewed by behindthefra.me