In this episode, I talk to self-taught photographer Magali Agnello. Magali started taking photographs at the age of fourteen. Many years later, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which prompted her to document her very personal journey and share it with the world. Magali’s photographs are full of emotions, creativity, and thought-provoking concepts.
We talk about:
- Magali’s daily photography projects and why she loves them
- How she keeps herself inspired
- How she takes sharp and interesting self-portraits
& much more!
This was a fun and eye-opening interview for me. I hope that Magali’s story inspires you to take care of your mental health and take photographs that tell your story authentically.
Here is a preview of our conversation with Magali Agnello.
Q: Where do you usually get inspiration and ideas?
Magali Agnello: Music is one way I find inspiration. When I listen to music, an idea usually comes. Another thing is observing. Sometimes I see something but can’t use it as an idea in the moment. Other times, I look at something and think, “Okay, what can I do with this?” That generates an idea.
Yesterday, I was on my computer just doing work. I saw, in that moment, a shelf from my desktop that looked like a big box. I saw it and thought I could do something with it. I walked in my bedroom while observing it. And then I thought, “This could be a picture about depression.” I had to think about the angle, which was a challenge. I had to put the camera on a tripod really, really high! I was happy with the result.
Q: Do you have any tips for people who want to get better at taking creative photos of themselves?
Magali Agnello: Concentrate on the focus. What I usually do is have an old tripod or an object that I can put where I’m going to be so I can manually focus on that. It’s so common in self-portraiture that you miss the focus and the photos look blurred.
When I have creative block, what works for me is to leave my comfort zone. I think about doing something that I usually don’t do. For example, I don’t take photos with hard light, with the sun above my head and lots of shadows. I usually don’t do that! When I experienced creative block, I thought I could try it out. Maybe a good picture could come out of it or I’d get another idea from it.
Q: What editing advice would you give to a beginner?
Magali Agnello: Learning how to draw really helps. If you learn how to understand how light works, and especially how shadows work, that’s key to making something look realistic.
In one of my projects, I have a photo of two medieval knights. In reality, it was just me dressing up as those two characters. To this day, some people think that they’re two different models. Why? Because there was one particular shadow that made it look realistic.