Ornella Mazzola (b. 1984), an Italian photographer from Palermo, Sicily, is an artist who focuses on an intimate and human look. Her series Females is a portrait of women in Mazzola’s family, but it’s also broader than that. What started as a personal diary, ended up being a poetic yet strong revelation of relationships and hidden secrets between women in general.
This family portrait touches on all generations and roles. It depicts Sicilian women who are headstrong and temperamental, but at the same time fragile: a complex universe of souls.
Females is a long-term project made up of fragments, intimate scenes, details, emotional discoveries, moments of calm or deepness, quiet and introspection. It’s a way to bridge the distance between photographer and subject, in silence, on tiptoes. Not only do these images depict the power of these women, but also that of the medium of photography, and its ability to go beyond the surface and connect with unknown people.
On the background there’s Sicily. Here it’s represented by interiors, curtains, laces, flowers, light, shadows, bridal veils, summer.
By photographing the universe of these women, Mazzola realised she was giving shape to her childhood memories, as well as giving a form to an evolving connection with the women around her. What started as a personal vision and visual diary evolved into a more universal standpoint, portraying generations evolving over time. Seasons change, bodies transform, and yet something underneath stands still in a poetic and delicate journey.
Text by Maria Teresa Salvati