Updated: Mar 8
"Visual arts withstand beauty standards. The problem is that they are subtle and volatile, they change with your art and style, and they are also subjective, they are subject to taste."
Abstract and blurry photography always surprises through capturing unique glimpses of nature and landscapes and subtly adding particular emotions to them. Renato Votto, fine art photographer based in London, specializes in precisely this kind of photography, conferring a dreamlike, almost melancholic touch to his shots. His experimental, minimalistic technique offers to the viewer the chance to observe and dive in the artwork with fresh eyes and open mind, without imposing any particular interpretation or message. Just the beauty of blurred landscapes and seascapes unfolding in stillness and silence.
"Just a geek with some aesthetic taste", as he defines himself, Renato Votto grew up and lived in a small village in south Italy until the age of eighteen. He was always interested in experimenting with things and getting creative. Even if not directly exposed to art from a young age, Votto always strove to cultivate a sensitivity or a preference to objects or products of nice design and good quality and explore the beauty of the Italian landscape: "As my family ran a high end garments store and owned some luxurious cars at that time, I was surrounded by quite a few nice
looking goods, something you would call as nice design products today. With my family we used to spend the summers in Sardinia, which is known for breathtaking landscapes and also a harmonious architecture in some places, with colours, walls rendering and shapes well embedded with the surrounding environment. Anyone with a little of aesthetic sensitivity would appreciate that beauty. I also received as a gift a Yashica film camera when I was 9, which I used for casual shots, without any art intention. The process of capturing moments and the surprise when collecting the prints though are sweet memories."
With a lot of perseverance and determination, Votto managed to become the photographer that is nowadays, although the process itself was not an easy one: "Perseverance is the real must have. Picasso once said “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”". His physical and mental health were put severely to the test at the age of 25, when he suffered multiple retinal detachments in one of his eyes, that compromised his eyesight permanently. "I experimented depression. Going from feeling invincible to feeling constantly vulnerable, forever, in your twenties, it's awful. The way my affected eye sees has taken me into a new world. Once I was back to my normality, it was there that I decided I wanted to show the world the way I see. I got a reflex camera, and started experimenting.
Questioned by Artrootz in regards to the photo composition and style that he uses, the artist described his photographs as, first of all, abstract with a clear intention to depict an abstract version of the original subject, a new paradigm combining the lines, perception, shape and colours of the subject represented. Moreover, the artist intents to make his shots as soothing and calming as possible, almost like a therapeutic process for the viewer. Last but not least, the art itself is meant to be experimental, meaning that there is a clear need to experiment and create a playful process of abstraction that can trigger new emotions. The image superposition makes the viewer lose himself in the photographs and perceive them almost like paintings, in a pure optical illusion. Votto reveals that endless shots, randomness and experimenting are important factors of his artistic process: "Sometimes I surprisingly discover multiple interesting shots later by browsing. People around me sometimes think I am crazy because of the weird movements and poses I need to do to take my pictures. Many photographers can relate to this, street photographers often have to "steal" shots or get very close to an aware subject, that requires confidence and boldness. Experiment, fail and repeat, that is how you will master your technique."
Votto disregards traditional rules or conventions when it comes to the creative process per se, but less when referring to the executive and productive processes which imply certain standards or rules that he likes to approach with a clear mind: "We have a nice word for that in Italian: “canone”. Visual arts withstand beauty standards. The problem is that they are subtle and volatile, they change with your art and style, and they are also subjective, subject to taste. Balance and harmony in visual arts are essential, as well as colours management. But the opposite may work fine as well. The application of a classic standard or the complete destruction of it. All these things can define your personal style". He often perceives himself as an analytical person, who likes to bring discipline into Art, which he puts on his educational background, by having a degree in Engineering.
"Thanks for defining my work unique (smile). I don´t really know what makes my work different. Maybe it is my own personal history and the premise my photograph starts from." As to the artists or music that inspire him the most, Votto revealed the artist Mark Rothko as his inspiration, for his minimal abstract artworks, but also just having casual walks or listening to underground and psychedelic music, since he recently started producing music on his own, after playing in different bands for a while. Furthermore, living in a big cosmopolitan city like London, is a constant source of inspiration for Votto´s photography, as well as doing trips to seaside locations, as the artist himself reveals.
Regarding future plans and prospects, Votto expects several surprises, by wishing to experiment more with black-and-white photography, human subjects, as well as computer programming to discover some new ways to work with photographic art and his carefully structured composition.
Abstract photographs as limited edition prints from Renato Votto, now available on Artrootz´s online marketplace. Buy here!