Giulia Bersani: I Am Always Shy While I Take Photos

Italian photographer Giulia Bersani about Naples, commercial shoots, and how to gain confidence with the help of a camera.
Giulia Bersani Age 23

Born and lives in Milan. Took a course of analog and digital photography at CFP Bauer, visual communication and photography school. Published her works in iGNANT, Feature Shoot, GUP Magazine, L'Oeil de la Photographie, С-Heads. Had solo exhibitions in Italy and Great Britain.

— I choose my subjects with a lot of attention. Also, when they are not my friends and I find them on Facebook, I check their profile carefully trying to imagine how sensible they are. When I take some intimate photos I am very quiet and contained, I use little movements and a soft voice so people don’t get scared.

I’m always shy while I take photos. I feel grateful if people show me their emotions and intimacy but I don’t want to force them. I think this shy way of shooting helps me a lot.

I’m always shy while I take photos.

I started shooting self-portraits in 2014 because I was terribly scared of losing my memories from my youth and then I discovered it could have been also a therapy for self-confidence. The project was called 21, it was about my everyday life, unadorned.

People tell me a lot of beautiful things about my photos. They thank me for the emotions I give to them, they tell me I have a special sensibility, sometimes they feel the need to share with me a personal experience so they tell me about their lives. It’s amazing to receive some moving messages by girls who explain how I inspire them. The easiest way to hurt me is by banalizing emotions.

I see every commercial assignment as a challenge. I always try to personally interpret what people ask me. I think it is very important to be coherent and keep your own style, also with commissioned works.

The easiest way to hurt me is by banalizing emotions.

I never shot a wedding because nobody ever asked me to. But I would, why not? I like the idea of combining a commissioned work with my love for emotional portraits.

I never had to shoot in digital for works commissioned to me. People want me to use my personal fresh style and my creativity. In Italy I’m finding some work, even though it’s not a good time for our economy, so I’m happy.

I think people like to follow me because I open up with my photos and they feel me near to their experience. I like to present myself as a girl more than as a photographer.

One time, I wrote an announcement for finding someone who trusted me and who had a story to tell and this girl, Giada, wrote me some very deep things. So we organized and I went to Naples for two weeks. When I arrived there I discovered her story; she had a difficult childhood, a past of heroin addiction, and a beautiful ten year old daughter she loved very much. In Naples everything is stronger, happiness, rage, colors, smells, voices etc. I’m a shy person so at the beginning I was very scared and I wanted to go back home but then I resisted this feeling, and it has been worth it. I talked a lot with Giada, I had a lot of walks in that magic strong city and in the end I didn’t want to leave. There is a proverb which says “In Naples you cry two times; when you arrive and when you have to leave”. That’s true.


I’m currently working on a personal project about girl’s insecurity; about feeling wrong, out of place, about depression etc. I’m working with girls who have self-confidence problems, self-destruction problems, eating disorders, depression etc. I’m sure that insecurity is strongly related to a very special sensibility; that’s why I started this work. We can talk with each other while taking photos and with this we can understand that we are not alone.

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