When you go through Bettina Pittaluga’s work, you can only see truth and a deep sense of humanity. There are no poses but real emotions, which express the most intimate side of margined people and those who are under-represented by gender, age, or race. She gives them voice and visibility, so they can be authenticated somehow in our society, or at least, to include a wider variety of models and roles. “It is very important for me to do everything to continue to deconstruct this hegemony, and I will not stop invoking all these fights until they are won,” she explains.
Bettina was 14 when she was first introduced to photography. Her uncle gave her his film camera, and she instantly wanted to know how it worked. “By that time, I was living in a small town in the south of France. Every week after school, I learnt how to develop my own black and white shots in a dark room that was made available by the local council. I started taking pictures 24/7 – I captured my family, my friends and anything really that caught my attention.”

When we ask her why she likes photography, she stops and thinks for a moment, replying that this one is a tougher question. “I can stay drowned into something I find beautiful for a long time. I think photography is what allows me to preserve that emotion. I know I can go back to it by looking at the picture and still be in the present moment.”

This year, Bettina was shortlisted by Palm* Photoprize. “It was an honour for me to be shortlisted in such a prestigious contest amongst all those talented photographers,” and she confesses that she’s thrilled at the moment, because there are a lot of things coming up as she is working on music video projects and documentaries that we’ll hopefully enjoy very soon.
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You can see through the essence of the human being, there’s nothing about posturing, but real people. Sometimes their eyes reflect emptiness, sometimes tranquillity… What kind of emotions interests you the most?
Real ones.
You capture the intimacy between couples but also different kind of solitudes at home in a safe place.  Where do you feel safe?
I feel safe around love. There is a lot of love in my house and also anywhere and everywhere with my family and friends.
Have you made the most of this crisis we are living for your work? Has it been difficult to find motivation?
I think this wasn’t the right moment to think about being productive. I believe it was a time to focus on civic responsibility. Since the end of the quarantine, it only strengthens my struggles.
Photographs can be the voice of a generation. How would you describe your voice?
I feel like I represent those who are under-represented and keep fighting the objectification of individuals in the media.
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Some of your images make a subtle contrast with the background in a detail or a colour. Do you prepare the scenes?
I studied sociology and also worked as a reporter. It's therefore really second nature for me to compose with what is already present and existent. It’s in reality that I find inspiration. Authenticity is what conducts my life and my work. I never really prepare anything, I arrive on the spot without even knowing it. And then, I trust my feelings and let myself get attracted by colours, lights, and most importantly, the things that inhabit the person.
Which camera do you use? You do B&W and colour indistinctly? Is there any resource that helps you to get so expressive and powerful images?
I only shoot on film and usually in medium format. I currently use a Pentax 67. Thinking in colour or B&W isn't the same exercise at all for me. My only resource, if I have one, is the confidence and relationship that is built between me and the person I shoot. It’s a shared creation.
We can feel affection and sorrow for marginalized people or those who have gone through a lot in their lives. Your photographs include all type of genders, ages and races. Why do you represent them?
I very strongly think that the omnipresence of whiteness, youth, heterosexuality, the cis man, thinness, wealth, etc. in the media is a huge problem. It is a completely unequal vision of the human race. And I precisely think that this unequal representation is largely responsible for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia until the rejection of old age.
It is very important for me to do everything to continue to deconstruct this hegemony, and I will not stop invoking all these fights until they are won. There is no affection and sorrow, they are not marginalized people, this is not fetishism; all these words are violent to me and are at the heart of systemic racism.
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