Giulia Zingone
  milano  :  venezia  :  trieste  :  cortina  :  parigi  

studio | Valentina … take one

It all started many many years ago, one cold afternoon, in an art shop in Paris’ Saint Germain. My love for the blissful illustrations by Anne-Julie Aubry, the French artist who draws while dreaming. The first card I bought, La Sorcière Noire, stayed with me year after year in my Moleskine … and in my heart. And it was on a flight back from the very city of Paris, last autumn, while I was searching my journal for the boarding pass … that I came across that beloved card once again  and I got the idea.

The first time I saw the woman Anne-Julie creates from the darkness and brings into the light of her surreal worlds … I was mesmerized by that sense of wait, and the feeling of suspense it gave me … because that's exactly what I aim at with photography, in my own fashion. After all, what is a photo, but a way to leave something hanging in time … and in silence … forever ?

The second time I saw the woman Anne-Julie brings to life, inspired by her own dreams and by the exquisite, creepy, charming symbolisms of nature … it was when I met Valentina. Not only does she remind me of the girl in the illustrations, but she also possesses an extraordinary ability to express the playful side which is in all of us, and the fierceness to show our pensive, dark side at the same time.

That was how I came to the idea of a shooting based on Anne-Julie’s acclaimed work, and specifically on some of her wintery subjects. So when the time came to discuss her shooting, I proposed Valentina to portrait her as the center of that fantastic universe I so admire in those drawings. She loved the idea, and I am so grateful to her for allowing me to try experiment something new. And while the atmosphere and the lighting in an illustration are of a very different nature from a picture, I loved the challenge. Even if it meant working with studio lights  that some of you may know I’m not a fan of, and will use only when I am forced to. Even if it meant having to deal with the quietness of the winter light – so different from the bright sun which I use in my backlit portraits, but still very interesting as it calls for softer, more posed photos.

So … a big thank you to Valentina !!! for entrusting me with her portraits, and for taking this tour around Anne-Julie’s fantasy with me. I can’t wait for the second round of the shooting in a few weeks, and for more photos … more dresses … more dreams … and more of those laughs she has that burst from her heart. Warmly echoing around the studio. 

L'Eventail, 2007

 Il Ventaglio, 2013

Blackbird, 2006 – Merlo, 2013

La Sorcière Noire, 2008

La Strega Oscura, 2013

And now, to the much heartfelt credits …

… for the incredible hair & make-up, the strength and flexibility, and the general fun around the set : Paoly ®

… for the beautifully crafted frames : Bubola e Naibo —The Italian Frame

… for her amazing work, her inspiration, her kindness : the artist, Anne-Julie Aubry, whose fabulous products you can find at The Nebulous Kingdom


  1. slbarto Rispondi
    LOVE these!!! Would LOVE to see you do some of the reds - especially the queen of hearts!
    • Giulia Rispondi

      I love the Queen of Hearts too !!! And you're right - her bright-red subjects are so beautiful. And powerful. You know, like I said I'm new to this type of photography and hardly ever shoot with artificial lighting, so it may take me some time ... but I do hope to photograph more and more from Anne-Julie's work in the future, and I'll keep your suggestion in mind for sure ! 

      Thank you so much for visiting !!! and come back for the second round in a few weeks if you wish !

  2. Ana Maria Sanchez Rispondi
    I have often wondered what the girl in Anne- Julie's Illustrations would look like in real life. You have certainly captured her in your amazing work. Absolutely stunning! Have you seen the art dolls of Du Buh Du Designs by Christine Alvarado? These dolls remind me of the girls in Anne- Julie's work. All of you are so talented!
    • Giulia Rispondi

      Thank you !!!  You know, as a portrait and wedding photographer I'm quite new to fine art, so I was a bit nervous about this project ... and I'm so glad you all liked the photos !!! 

      Those dolls you mention are gorgeous. And you're right - there is something about them which reminds of Anne-Julie's girls. The pensive eyes ... the flushed cheeks ... the slightly washed-out looks. Beautiful, thank you! I'll keep that in mind ;)

      We're doing more subjects inspired by Anne-Julie's art over the next weeks, so please feel free to visit any time you want. I could use some company on the English side of my blog!

  3. Michael Bruce Rispondi
    These are wonderful Giulia. If I were to make a request it would be for you to photograph Anne Julie's Little Red Riding Hood. I havea friend who would adore it. Whatever you decide to do I will be reading your blog from now on. Thankyou, Mike
    • Giulia Rispondi

      Thank you for your comment, Michael !! Little Red Riding Hood is lovely and I can easily see why your friend loves it so much ! I have a second round of shooting based on Anne-Julie's fantastic work in a couple of weeks, but they're mostly available-light photographs — which is what I specialize in. However, I'll keep it in mind for the future and will keep you and your friend informed should I have the opportunity to shoot Little Red Hood Riding in studio.

      Thank you so much for stopping by !!!

  4. Michael Bruce Rispondi
    Thanks for your reply Giulia! I look forward to seeing your new work once you complete it. I willbe stopping by regularly from now on, I really like your blog!  
  5. Pingback: Ma petite theiere » Blog Archive » My girls by Giulia Zeta

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