Romualda meets calabria by Luigi Testa

Luigi Testa is a talented photographer from southern Italy, passionate about beauty and photography and the magical developing process behind this art. Inspired by the French New Wave cinema since he was a child, the art of Matisse and Gauguin and the hypnotic dance of Pina Baush amongst others, he has taken our collection to his homeland, the coast of Calabria, creating a stunning summer story by the Mediterranean shore.

“It was love at first sight, an accessory I had always underestimated, but in this case, there was something more, an evolution, an accessory that becomes a work of art. I love what’s behind it all, the attention to detail, dedication, originality and hard work. To me, Romualda is not just a clothing brand; it’s a container of experiences”

Tell us who you are and where do you come from?
I'm Luigi Testa, a photografer born in 1989 in Cosenza, a city in southern Italy where I still live today.

How did you start with photography?
I have been interested in photography for a long time, but I started shooting only 5 or 6 years ago, once I discovered analog photography. It's an art form that has always fascinated me. Initially, I saw photos merely as images without delving much into what or who was behind them. Over time, I've acquired many books and visited numerous exhibitions, but I never became too passionate about the practical act of taking pictures; it always seemed too complex to me. Thanks to a new path of studies (Cinema, Photography, and Performance) that I embarked on after completing my law degree, I began to develop a more hands-on approach to photography. I started developing my first rolls of film, and I became increasingly passionate about the process behind capturing an image on film.

What and who inspires you?
My inspirations primarily stem from cinema, my greatest passion since I was a child. The French New Wave with directors like Rohmer, Godard, Truffaut, and Vadim has always influenced me. Of course, there are many other sources of inspiration. Renowned photographers like Eggleston, with his vivid colors, and Claude Nori, with his spontaneity in capturing everyday life moments, have had a significant impact on my vision over time. I draw inspiration from art in general. I've never limited myself and have always kept the doors open to any form of expression that moves me, whether it's from painting (as with Matisse or Gauguin) to dance (as with Pina Bausch), theater, music, and last but not least, nature. I am a lover of islands and Mediterranean landscapes, but I could go on for hours about this.

What is your artistic process like?
My artistic process begins with inspiration, the desire to create something specific that I can envision before I even have to take the shot. I start working on my projects with some advance planning, carefully mapping out all the shooting phases—not just the shots themselves but everything surrounding the final image. An essential part for me is location scouting. I consider the location as vital as the choice of styling or selecting models. I view the location as a backdrop that enhances my clients' creations or, in any case, showcases my work to the best advantage. I always like to incorporate a piece of the environment in which the subjects are immersed, contextualizing and creating a narrative.Once the setting is determined, I aim for the shooting phase to be as straightforward as possible. The act of capturing the image is essentially reaping the results of all the work done beforehand. I choose to shoot on film precisely to be as efficient as possible. I take few shots; there's no need for an abundance of photos. Once they are sent to the lab for development and scanning, I aim for them to be as close as possible to the predetermined outcome, making only some simple adjustments on the computer if necessary. Then, my work is complete.

What is your favourite place in the world?
I believe that my favorite place in the world is yet to be found. Nevertheless, Ibiza is a place I really like up to now. It holds a special place in my heart, where I have spent and continue to spend a lot of time. I appreciate the lifestyle of an island that is a microcosm, where you have the opportunity to be whoever you want to be, day by day. The chance to get to know various cultures without having to travel thousands of miles each time is unique. As mentioned, I love islands and the sea; it makes me feel good and brings me serenity. I'm sure I can say that when I find it, my favorite place will be by the sea.

What do you find special about the Italian coast?
The Italian coastline evokes mixed feelings in me. I love it because it feels like stepping back in time; many things have remained unchanged for years. It's genuine and authentic, and there's an immense emotional connection. We've been spending our summers there for generations, so there are many memories tied to those places. At the same time, it's a place that saddens me. I wish there were more care and attention toward our nature and culture, which, left to its own devices, is not destined to last forever.

What do you like the most about Romualda?
Of course, I know Romualda thanks to her marvelous hats, it was love at first sight, an accessory I had always underestimated, but in this case, there was something more, an evolution, an accessory that becomes a work of art. This sparked my curiosity, and I was catapulted into a world that I love, a family working in harmony with a passion and creativity that engulf you. I love Romualda's creations, all of them, the vintage references, sometimes psychedelic, the hand-painted pieces, and the unique items in her pastel colors. But, I also love what's behind it all, the attention to detail, dedication, originality, and hard work. To me, Romualda is not just a clothing brand; it's a container of experiences. It's what every brand should be, a reflection of itself and what it wants to share with its customers.

Tell us a bit more about your beautiful shooting with our pieces
The photoshoot for Romualda was a significant test for me, and I put my all into a project that I could manage autonomously. I was undoubtedly assisted by the great support on the other end, which is why I thank the Romualda team and Carla, with whom I interacted during the preparations. It was a beautiful experience for me to bring a project like this to Calabria. We shot on very hot days, so often between one outfit and another, we would take a dip in the sea or a refreshing shower at the beach. We stopped for lunch in Scilla, where we ate the characteristic swordfish sandwich. It was great to explore and then showcase places from my homeland that aren't often seen on social media or the web in general. Romualda's garments blended wonderfully with typically Italian locations, and it was a bonus to work with a team of friends from the area. I believe it added more spontaneity to the shots. 

What plans have you got for the future?
My future plans definitely involve taking many more photos than I do now. Continuing to pursue my dream is my top priority. I love what I'm doing, and I will keep nurturing and feeding this great passion. There's certainly a desire to move away from Italy. I would like to live in Spain, at least for a while. It's a country I love, and it has given me the opportunity to express myself. Of course, I would like to continue working with Romualda, explore new job opportunities around the world, meet new people to share interests and passions with to expand my cultural horizons. I believe connections are the foundation of our human and artistic growth. This is what I hope to achieve in the near future, not that it's a small thing, but time is never enough.

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