Dream of me ISSUE 1
ISSUE 1: Dream of me It’s a little over a year into the pandemic as Christina and I release our very first issue of Amorfoda Magazine. As creatives who both felt limited during this time, we wanted to create a space with this magazine where others can feel inspired and be connected during a long year of isolation. We are excited to release it this upcoming spring as spring represents a time for new beginnings and transformation. Last spring, we entered into lockdown and experienced one of the hardest years of our time. This spring, we are seeing more and more vaccine roll-outs, providing us with, at last, a new sense of hope. With this first issue, we worked with a lot of wonder-
ful people around the world, featuring work both before and during the pandemic, who are pursuing their passions and following their dreams, despite the setbacks they may encounter. We choose to dedicate this first issue to dreams, with the goal that it serves as inspiration to others in as many ways as possible. We want to cultivate a community amongst individuals where creativity and art can be authentically expressed and appreciated. With our first issue, we hope to give you, our readers, something to dream about. Meghan Long Editor in Chief
Contents EDITORIALS 06 Claudina in quaratine
75 Be the change
16 Mediterranean drops
93 Shaping reflections
By Claudina Diego
By Teresa Carril
VOICES 27 The empathy essay By Morgan Liska
Jonathan Ivan, photographer Le Nais, music artist Photographs by Gemma Garcia Castillo
110 Dream a little dream
Angels Divinity, writer Photographs by @vidainfilm
28 Love poems
By Angels Divinity
128 Personal Landscapes
Francesco Sambati, photographer
FEATURES 39 Daydreaming with Lur Amalur Iraolagoitia Real, photographer
58 Catching a vibe
Oscar Velay, photographer
IN EVERY ISSUE 03 Editor’s letter 05 Contributors 148 The playlist 150 Keep in touch
Contributors FOUNDER, EDITOR IN CHIEF Meghan Long FOUNDER, PHOTOGRAPHER Maria Christina Gazi CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Meghan Long, Morgan Liska, Angels Divinity, Diego Toscano CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Maria Christina Gazi, Claudina Diego, Teresa Carril, Amalur Iraolagoitia Real, Marta Cara Castro, Oscar Velay, Leila Burridge, Francesco Sambati, Jonathan Ivan, Gemma Garcia Castillo
A special thanks to everyone who made this first issue possible. ON THE COVER
Featuring Maria Chiara Cavaliere Photograph by Francesco Sambati
Claudina in quarantine Claudina in Quarantine is a selection of pictures I did last spring when Portugal had a lockdown for two months. When the lockdown started, I was spending some days with my parents in our family house in the countryside. What I had planned to be a seven day holiday, suddenly became 70.”
Photographs and words by Claudina Diego
To be in the countryside during this period made me realize that nature doesn’t wait or stop for us. While there were many lockdowns worldwide, the sun shined, the grass grew, and flowers bloomed. Flowers didn’t postpone their blooming just because we couldn’t see their beauty. During quarantine, I couldn’t stop photographing. Every flower from my garden was portrayed.”
Photographs by Teresa Carril
Written by Morgan Liska Photograph by Gemma Garcia Castillo Featuring Le Nais
“I am the most compassionate person I know and growing up I believed it was my biggest downfall in life.” When I was a little girl I would drown the roots of my mother’s daisies every single morning. I killed them over and over again because I simply did not know when to stop giving. My soft, malleable heart would shapeshift 100 times a day just to fit the needs of others. Always rooting for the losing team and never knowing how to say “no.” I am the most compassionate person I know and growing up I believed it was my biggest downfall in life. It’s overwhelming when you have a heart that 9 times out of 10 chooses to beat for others and not yourself. No one writes children’s books about what life is like when you cannot differentiate the pain of strangers from your own. My constant desire to give was exhausting me and I never knew why. My attentive manners and deep sensitivity was so blatant as a child, the term “old soul” was recklessly thrown at me by every adult I met. With a smile, they acknowledged my burden but never taught me how to navigate it. Each time someone called me an “old soul” I wanted to believe it was a compliment, I really did. After a certain point, it only began to make me feel more responsible to take care of others. As if this priceless wisdom that somehow lived inside of an 8-year-old could cure the world. I often daydreamed of an older version of myself that didn’t feel the need to always put others first. A girl who could utter the word “no” without any hesitation or regret. In Sunday church services, I prayed empathy was a
stage in my life I would grow out of. But at the age of 15, I sat in a therapist’s office as the words “you are an empath and always will be” fell from her cherry red lips. I was convinced it was a death sentence. My emotions would surely be the end of me. I feel every little action in the universe so painfully deep and there is no cure for that. No way to numb my nervous system from the emotions of others. From the ages of 15-19, I spent my weekends in my room sitting in front of my mirror searching for the strength to say “no.” Practicing hypothetical conversations became my past time. In my brain, saying “no” to someone was synonymous with hurting them. I knew how dangerously selfless I was as a child, how it took a lot of innocence away, and I didn’t want that narrative to continue on for the rest of my life. I did eventually learn how to say “no” and it did not make me any less sensitive, but it helped me understand how things should have felt my entire life. Drawing a healthy boundary was such a foreign feeling and it took time to get used to. Now I’m 20 and I look at pictures of the overly sensitive little girl and thank her. She would be glad to know she grew into a strong, independent woman who stands up for herself. Who embraces her sensitivity and uses it to help other people feel seen and heard. Who knows what boundaries feel like. Who proudly wears her heart on her sleeve and wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
too often my love for you is measured by your tendency to be my muse so if you find myself writing while drowning in the tears of the night or sighing into a soft smile in the morning light just know then that I must be truly madly deeply and utterly in love with you
Love poems Written by Angels Divinity
Photograph by @vidainfilm Featuring Angels Divinity
with you it’s like a dream that I don’t ever want to wake up from my worries melt away like dark chocolate licked from your fingertips and reality seems to slip away and sift through my fingers like sand on an island paradise and when I look at you whether it’s in the late night’s haze and you look like a hand-carved sculpture wavering on an unsteady pedestal or when we share a laugh and your eyes crinkle up and your face flushes the color of strawberry rhubarb pie or in the morning when our bodies lay intertwined and you stir beneath the morning light I am greeted by sleepy eyes slowly and softly fluttering open under last night’s tousled hair or when you look at me and our gazes press against one another softly but steadily everything just feels right i am at ease like on a swing beneath a willow tree on a warm midsummer’s day when you peer up suspended in the sky into an endless blue — angelsdivinity
He was my lover and I, his mistress when I first met you my impression of you became ingrained in my brain and ever since nothing has been the same I knew it was only a matter of time before i’d indulge in your warm decadence with time you ripened enriching your sweetness the debauchery hung heavy in the air adorned with lace underwear but what of morals? with you it becomes undone like the buttons on your trousers and undrapes itself like the slip that falls from my shoulders
sometimes it just feels appropriate to utter the words “I love you” even if you don’t mean them I suppose it feels better than to say nothing at all even if you don’t feel much before a nonexistent fall
A Soulless Place in the comforts of the corner there you’d creep at least that’s what I think I could’ve sworn it was you be it in the guise of a shadow it was too out of the blue to be true but still I thought it was you sometimes I swear I’d hear your voice in the halls spiraling down the stairwell after another you’d call
you are everywhere even amongst these halls there are posters of you trust me, I wish it weren’t true
the byproduct of shortcoming and misgivings in class sits there with me oh, how I wish I were kidding
like startled marbles you’ve scattered to the corners of my mind if I were lost it would be you that I’d find
it’s like I can’t get rid of you or rather you won’t go away
oh please, I think it’s time to get out of my mind
and when we went to sleep we slipped into bed as if it were routine bodies curled towards one another knees touching backs arching with our foreheads pressed against each other’s and in my head I envisioned us as two swans our bodies forming a heart
it is there you’ll find in the in-between spaces of the pockets of my mind me, thinking of you reminiscing on memories from the cold of January made warm here while you whisper in my ear to the cool of spring when I’m in nothing but socks and you spin me taking me under your wing as I attempt to yell through a mouthful of giggles “stop!”
to the heat of summer after a few in bed and you’re dripping in sweat and your skin is sticky but you still look oh-so-pretty to the turn of autumn while we stroll down the 5th the leaves like me oh, how they fall for you like memories these moments may be fleeting but in the whir of it all they are used to paint pictures of you, my muse
Photograph by Amalur Iraolagoitia Real @amablue10
Photographs by Marta Cara Castro @marrtacara Featuring Amalur Iraolagoitia Real
Daydreaming with Lur
Amalur Iraolagoitia Real, known by her friends as Lur, is an aspiring photographer based in Valencia, Spain. While it’s not yet her profession, Lur discusses her goal of one day working with a fashion campaign, the importance of expression, and how she has re-defined her style through quarantine, finding inspiration through light, landscapes, and faces. Photographs by Amalur Iraolagoitia Real Interview by Meghan Long Hi! Thank you so much for sitting down with us today at Amorfoda Magazine. To begin, can you share a little bit about yourself and your story? Good afternoon girls, thank you very much for counting me for this beautiful project. I currently live in Valencia, even though I am originally from Bilbao, the north of Spain. I have always said that my identity is a combination of both cities. I moved to Valencia when I was four years old, but I have never stopped visiting Bilbao, as half of my family is still there. Regarding my studies, I have explored different areas — too many maybe —
but right now I’m studying community management. Regarding my photography, I have always been interested in it. Although I have not had proper training, I have been practicing and doing some courses by myself. How do you spend your typical day? It depends on the day actually. Usually I wake up and study, since as I said before I’m currently studying. I’m also in the process of finding an internship, which takes a lot of my time. The rest of the day I use it for inspiration and taking photos. During the quarantine, I also
started to make collages -- something tography. that relaxes me and also took most part of my days. Where do you find your inspiration for your shoots? How did you discover your passion for Most of the time on social networks photography? like Tumblr or Pinterest and mainly I have always loved photography since through the works of other artists. NowaI was a child. I started with my phone. If days social media is in a constant growth. I accurately remember, at the age of 12, I Some people think it’s something that is told my dad that I wanted my first cam- out of control and it could actually be like era. He loved the idea and helped me save that when those platforms are not used in the money for it. I have had times when I the right way. While it can be toxic if you didn’t take photos on a regular basis be- don’t use social networks as you should, cause I was focused on other things, but it is also a really good source of inspirasome years ago I decided to become more tion. Also, it lets you connect with other constant, even though it’s not my profes- people who are doing the same thing as sion. I consider this a hobby that I hope you who you could not know without it. could turn into a profession some day. Of course, I don’t just get inspired through social networks; inspiration ofWas there a specific moment when you ten comes when you surround yourself knew being a photographer was some- with people, reading a book, going for thing you wanted to pursue? a walk or even just getting lost in your As I said before, at about the age of 12 mind. I decided to buy my first camera. But it wasn’t long ago that I discovered it was What do you hope to evoke or capture something I wanted to dedicate myself within each shot? A lot depends on the photo, but I alto in my day-to-day life. I’ve always liked taking pictures of my friends, on trips, ways like my photos to convey peace, landscapes. At that time I used to pose warmth, and familiarity. That’s why I like for photos a lot as well. But then I real- to photograph people, expressions, sunised that what I really enjoyed was taking rises, and scenes of everyday life. Living in Valencia helps a lot to express those them. The process of preparing the spot, ed- feelings in the photos thanks mostly to iting them, seeing the results filled me the light and the beautiful landscapes we much more than posing in front of the have here. Although maybe it’s just for camera. Every time I have a new idea and me. carry out this process I strive to continue learning and exploring the world of pho-
Which photographers have influenced your work and how? There are many styles and many photographers that I follow and I love their work; not all have the same style among them or as mine, of course. If I had to mention three, I would say: @rico.reinhold, @lalovenenoso and @oscarmatt. I really like the warmth and the tones of their photos. These aspects are the ones I value most when working. But more than influencing, I would say that they have inspired me to find my style. How has your background impacted your work? My background is very significant when it comes to photography as it is always important to know where you come from to know where you want to go. I feel that my identity is made up of the two cities that have seen me grow up. I have always been a person who has related to very diverse people and each one of them helps me to get inspired and see new ideas for my work. I have always thought that I received the “artistic vein” from my father, since he is dedicated to fashion design. One of my main objectives is to work with a clothing brand that gives me the opportunity to create their advertising program as well as take their photographs. How has your photography changed, if at all, during quarantine? I bought my first 50mm portrait lens which changed the quality of my photos
quite a bit and I started to create a style that represented me more. I also tried self-portrait. Although it is difficult for me today, it is something I would like to work on in the future. So, in general, quarantine was quite positive for me. I had time to get inspired, define my style, and create new ideas and projects for the future. How do you explore your own values or beliefs through your lens? I like people and the world we live in very much, even though human beings are less and less concerned with taking care of it and being respectful. I have grown up in a family where I have been instilled with respect and freedom despite differences that may exist, political ideas, gender or your tastes. Photography is art and as such should be respected as long as it does not violate rights and disrespect others, whether you like it more or less. To give a very clear example, I still find it worrying that Instagram censors the female nipple while the male one isn’t. It is something that doesn’t align with my values and beliefs because I can’t find any difference between one or the other. I always try to convey all of this in my photos, so I photograph people of one sex or another, religion, skin colour . . . landscapes that make me understand the wonderful world that we ourselves do not treat as we should.
ransforming those feelings into art seems to me the best way to move forward and overcome.”
Do you prefer to shoot in digital or film? Nowadays, digital is what I use the most. Before the lockdown, I bought my first analogue camera. I’m also being autodidactic, but it’s true that economically it’s a bit more expensive and the process is slower because of the film’s process. I like very much the age-old style in the photos. Most of my photos are in digital, but I consider that they have a style at the time of the edition that gives the sensation that it is made with an analogue. Or at least that is what I end up looking for unconsciously. But, even so, I’m in the process and one of my objectives is to get more out of analogue photography. Which do you prefer to shoot more portraits or landscapes and why? It is a complicated decision as both options are what I capture most. In fact, my portfolio could be summarized as them. If I had to choose, I suppose I would say portraits. The faces, the gestures, and the glances of the people transmit a lot and that is something that touches me. I always say that when I photograph different people it is not always easy to photograph all of them equally. There are people I would always photograph because when they put their gestures, their profiles and their way of moving in front of the camera, I love the result so much. It is always something organic and the result communicates a lot, although I suppose it will be my own sensations. So, just for these people, portraits would be my decision. Even so, photographing sunsets is my weakness. I’m the kind of person
who has her mobile phone and computer full of sunsets and photos of the sky. What would your dream shoot consist of? On one hand, I would like to focus on the fashion industry. New designers, bold photos. But at the same time, I’d like to explore the boudoir. So, quite the opposite of the fashion world. Although, thinking about it, I could say that the union of both concepts would fit well with my dream photo. I think it would be quite amazing to add the intimacy and sensuality of boudoir to a fashion campaign. How has being a photographer expanded your worldview? Photography, as I said before, is art. Just by looking at a specific photograph you can be transported to it and feel what the artist wants to convey to you. It is a form of expression like any other and not always of peace or happiness; it depends on the mood you are in. That’s why I have to emphasize that the ones that transmit sadness or loneliness have helped me a lot to understand that I’m not the only one who is going through a moment like this. Transforming those feelings into art seems to me as the best way to move forward and overcome. In general, I would say that photography has expanded my perspectives. I have connected with many artists, their way of way of seeing the world, and sometimes even with how they felt. So I would say that it has made me accept and understand many feelings, even mine.
Coffee or tea? Tea Favorite novel? El día que sientas el latir de las estrellas - Dulcinea Number one song on your playlist right now? “Cicatrices” - Natos y Waor Biggest pet peeve? Lies and disloyalty Day person or night person? Night Dream travel destination and why? New York. When I was a child I always dreamed of living in New York and having my own penthouse. I guess I’ve seen a lot of movies Aside from photography, what are your other passions? Make collages, listen to music, hang out with my friends, and Netflix Sundays Favorite film? The Fast and Furious saga
When you’re approaching a shoot, what role does color and light play? I like very much the dark photos. I am always in favor of lowering the exposure so that they give a warmer touch. Above all, I like the browns, blues, reds, and yellows. I like that they have an analogical touch being digital. Regarding the light, it’s a great luck to live in Valencia because it’s a city with a lot of light and is very beautiful. What are some challenges you’ve faced in this creative field? I suppose that creative falls go through periods. All of us who dedicate ourselves to artistic fields go through moments when nothing you do seems to be enough. I’m doing quite well with it, but it’s true that since it’s not my profession as such, when I find myself in a moment of creative difficulty, I don’t have the pressure that other photographers who make a living out of it may have. Also, the lack of resources is sometimes a barrier. What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring photographer? It sounds very typical since it’s what every photographer would say: take pictures all the time, whatever it is. I recommend to do them manually since this way you are proving the style of photo that you like more. I would also say to try to look for your own inspiration -- to take ideas from other photographers or magazines, but always creating your own style and identity. If you find it, you will have already succeeded.
The pandemic has halted and changed most, if not everyone’s, usual day to day life. Do you have any new projects in the works? We are in a pretty bad time for everyone in general because of the times we are living in. On a large scale I don’t have any “big projects.” I started to create a blog where I could upload all the portfolios of my sessions, since I don’t usually upload all of them in my social networks. It is a project that I would like to follow and be able to show it. Now I want to start doing more sessions, more content, and grow little by little in new areas. So, there is still a lot of content and new projects to be shown. Lastly, what are some of your dreams for the future? Too many, I’m a very dreamy person. In the short term, I want to go and live in Barcelona for a while. There are many opportunities to work in what I have studied and it is one of my favourite cities in Spain to change my life, to focus on myself, and to grow professionally. Of course, I would go with a friend as the expenses I would not be able to cover on my own. And well, everything is easier with a friend at my side. It’s not a “big dream,” but for the moment it’s my next goal and I hope it won’t take long before that opportunity arrives.
Photograph by Leila Burridge @leilashotyou Featuring Oscar Velay @oscarvelay_ (left) with friends
OSCAR VELAY Photograph by Leila Burridge Featuring Oscar Velay Interview by Meghan Long
Catching a vibe Oscar Velay, portrait and lifestyle film photographer, has been creative all of his life. Originally from Denmark, Velay has lived around the world and is creating his impact in the LA photography scene, going on spontaneous shoots with music artists and making his own music on the side. Velay opens up to Meghan Long about his early beginnings, why he prefers to take candid shots, and the importance of looking internally. Photographs by Oscar Velay Hi Oscar! Thanks so much for speaking with me today at Amorfoda Magazine. So the big question to start off our interview is where in the world are you currently? I’m in Denmark; I’m just visiting. I was born here and grew up here but I’ve lived in many different countries because I never really felt at home here. I’ve also lived in Spain and Dominican Republic because I have family there. I was kind of stuck in Spain for a while because all the governments got stressed out here in Europe because of COVID-19.
to, what has been your favorite city so far? Well I know I’m going to go through Asia soon and that’s going to blow my mind. But for now, it’s probably going to be Los Angeles because it’s everything. It’s not one people; there’s every kind of influence, right? So, it’s a city of everything. You can meet everyone there. I know it’s basic to say that but it’s cool, I like it.
How did you get into photography and what currently inspires your work? I started off with taking photos of Out of all the places you have traveled cars and architecture. I did that for a lot
Photograph by Oscar Velay Featuring @MichaelaKeller
of years. I got a camera when I was around 12. I also played the piano, guitar, bass and drums when I was younger; I still do. So, I’ve always been creative. Regarding photography, it was too dry not shooting people so I needed people. As soon as I started doing that, I found out very quickly I couldn’t do staged things. It had to be candid and it had to be natural because I like catching people in a moment where they’re truly just being, instead of trying to be, or imitating, or whatever you can be. Also, it’s an experience for me. Usually with shoots, they’re actually just meeting up and then going for a walk or driving around, and then
meeting cool people and shooting with them. That’s what I do with music artists and it’s basically just an experience. The purpose is not just shooting, it’s also just enjoying, right? So, that’s why I also don’t mind being on set for a long time because I’m actually enjoying myself. Is there anything specific you hope to evoke in each of your shots?
Yeah sure I like to have some kind of atmosphere or mood. I don’t know if there’s something specific I’m going for because as I said I’m enjoying the experience. I want to try to capture people who are in the moment, or just doing. So, just catching a vibe.
it possible for me to be more in the field than editing photos. You still have to edit film photos but it’s way less. When it comes from a vibe, it’s almost always -that’s it, you’ve got the shot -- where it’s a blessing and a curse having to do digital because it gives you the ability to edit as much as you want and I don’t need to do Living in a digital world, what inspires that with film. you to shoot in film? Ah, that’s an easy one. I don’t like being in front of computers. I was a huge nerd when I was younger so I can do everything with a computer but I don’t actually want to spend time with them on computers. So, shooting film makes
How would you describe your style in 3 words? Real, whatever that means, candid for sure, and lifestyle because that’s the documenting of how I live.
Has social media influenced your work? If so, how? A lot. I’ve met great people through this. Especially Instagram. A lot of my best friends are through this app. It’s what you project out into the world, right? So yeah, I really love it. It’s about using it right and finally I’m not attached to it in the sense that I’m not addicted to it as much anymore at least, cause
it’s really, really addictive.
doing art as in fashion, and that’s mostly it. So you can’t How does the LA photogra- compare them, really. phy scene compare to other places you’ve lived around Are there any photograthe world? phers who have influenced Well you can’t compare it your work? all because you can find evHenrik Purienne. He’s erything in LA. Meanwhile just so cool. He’s very natuif you go to, let’s say Copen- ral, he’s documenting his life, hagen that’s where I am right and the coolest thing is that now, you’d find a lot of peo- he does Vogue shoots and ple doing architecture and stuff like that. But it’s just his
life. He maybe gets some product he has It was the essence of the lifestyle to shoot but he does that through his life. thing, right? It was just walking around, enjoying my time on Earth, and taking So I definitely am inspired by that. pictures while I’m doing that. It’s like an What has been your favorite shoot so extension of reality -- wow that sounds far? really advanced -- it’s just so natural. I don’t have the best memory; that’s There wasn’t anything set up about it. actually another reason I started shooting because I wanted to remember my Was there a defining moment when you memories. With my shoots, I don’t feel knew you wanted to pursue photogralike there’s a start or an end. I’m just doc- phy or did it develop over time? umenting what I do so it rarely feels like I like documenting and I like putting a shoot. But if I had to pick one, I really people out there. Let’s say someone has a like the one I had with a guy called Won- really good energy -- I want to share that der Mountain. with the world, so that definitely drives me. There’s true affirmations that I know What did you enjoy most about it?
knew I was doing something right when what I was doing made me meet more people that inspired me.”
I was doing something right and that’s the internal one. The external one is that people began requesting shoots and they began really supporting me. I’m not sure if there was a specific moment that clicked but I just knew that if I could document my life and remember more of the moments that I really love, because I forget a lot, that’s perfect. It also allows me to meet so many people -- that’s also what drives me. I knew I was doing something right when what I was doing made me meet more people that inspired me -- and that could be musicians, or places I have shot. More experiences, more people is why I do it.
How have your travels have impacted work? It changes a lot. I was in Spain a couple months ago and specifically where I was, there weren’t a lot of people who really do things, as compared to LA where people do a million things. It’s more like a countryside so I can’t capture as much of the crazy stuff there, but I can still capture what I’m doing. So if I’m hiking or meditating, or found some crazy mountain. It changes style for sure. What’s one thing you would do or try if you weren’t afraid to fail? Well I’m not afraid of failing because
later on I can make a jazz album and that’s going to be more fun. Right now I just need to work on actually being able to finish -- like make a product; I hate the word ‘product’ -- make a finished painting. If this all takes too long I have to think too much about it and that ruins a natural thing, right? It’s kind of like spending 10 minutes making a selfie. It ruins the reason why you did it and you forgot why you even started something. Are there any specific challenges you’ve faced as a photographer or while making an album? It’s just in general tough until it isn’t.
I’ve tried so many times in my life it’s not worth it to be afraid. But I’m making music right now. I’ve been making music for a long time, but now I’m finally getting to a point where I’m making an album. It’s the same process as photography. You just have to get comfortable in something or a new industry. So that’s definitely something I’m going to do. What kind of music will you be making for your album? My first one is not gonna have a genre. It’s going to be really mixed - a bit of rap, a bit of singing, maybe R&B. I’m not going to limit myself on the first one. I think
It’s about understanding that there’s always going to be more things to do and more things that are going to be a challenge. If you think at some point there’s not going to be a challenge -- that doesn’t exist. So it’s just about being comfortable in the uncomfortable and putting yourself in the best position. That’s what you
do with having great people around you, good things around you, and meditating, for example. So you have all these tools that can help you center yourself and that goes for anything; it doesn’t matter what you do. When you start doing something independently like photography or an album or a company, you’re going to have
these things so you need to have a way explore externally because all the answers or a sanctuary-like place where you can are inside yourself. That’s not to sound completely let go. Find your medicine! cocky but all the things you are unsure about you can find them inside yourWhat’s your go-to method for finding self. So it’s a great place to start. Also that inspiration? means that the more you fix yourself, as I just let it come to me. I don’t want to in put more order into your life, the more seek it because I feel like that’s forced. So your world is getting into order. That’s it definitely helps to mediate and stuff like also what you’re manifesting basically. that. I try to be centered and conscious as I’m not here to change anyone, right? I much as possible all the time. But I don’t wanna spread love and stuff but I’m not seek that. It’s a bit of I get into flow states. trying to change anyone. I can only work Especially with making music, I get into on myself; that’s my job. I like people to flow states and then the lyrics just write stay in their own lane. themselves. I can’t take credit. What are some of your dreams for the Besides your upcoming album, do you future? have any other projects you are currentJust do more on a different level, to be ly working on? able to influence more people in a good Not something I can disclose right way. I try not to live too much in the funow because that’s going to take a long ture. I can be aware of the future, but if I time. I’m writing a lot. Actually not a lot. live too much in the future I get anxiety I’m writing sometimes but I know it’s and stuff. So it’s just about doing as much going to take a long time to finish some- as I can right now and creating with peothing written because I don’t feel it’s the ple I fuck with, then I know my future most ideal form of communication. will be good. I know I’m on the right path when it feels right. But good things are coming? Yeah, yeah I’m always working on something. What’s one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring photographer or musician? Listen to yourself. You have to explore yourself internally before you can really
Photograph by Jonathan Ivan
Be the change Passionate, determined, and purposeful are just a few words to describe how Jonathan Ivan is making his impact in the portrait and fashion photography world. Representing a double minority as Mexican and queer, Ivan opens up about helping to raise people’s self-confidence, the need for diversity, creating social change through his lens, and promoting the change he wishes to see in this industry. Photographs by Jonathan Ivan Interview by Meghan Long Hi Jonathan! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today at Amorfoda Magazine. Every creative starts somewhere -- we would love to hear more about your background and your story. Hi! Firstly, I wanna thank you so much for featuring me in your magazine. I’m honored and excited to read everyone’s story. I want to start off by saying that I am a latin queer photographer from Las Vegas, NV. I picked up a camera at an early age, my father somehow always had
a decent camera. I grew up middle class in Las Vegas with not many outlets to be creative. I think creatives back home can agree that we don’t have many resources for us to thrive creatively. I started taking photos for my family and felt like I could make this a career. I moved to LA after high school and began networking and working with social media influencers fast. My first big influencer was Tana Mongeau. I have a deep love for her, despite what anyone has said about her, for helping me branch in LA so early in
my photography career. We’re both from to shop the photos around but nothing Las Vegas too so it’s been exciting watch- came of it. We just had beautiful images ing her career grow. to share and that was enough for me. I knew then that I wanted to work and be The COVID-19 pandemic has altered around creatives that were creating a stomany people’s lives and daily schedules. ry through clothes and portraiture. How would you describe your usual day-to-day life currently? Was there a specific moment or feeling Covid has most definitely changed where you knew being a photographer the rhythm of how my daily life looks as a was what you wanted to pursue? photographer. I used to wake up very earThe first thing that comes to mind ly to work out and then check my emails is when I was on the side of the buildfor my next project but it’s been a lot of ing at The Globe Theater in LA shooting sleeping in until noon and sending emails for 2 Chainz. My buddy Justin M. Torres hoping to find my next project. Recently blessed me with the opportunity. I was things have been getting back to normal waiting for my wristband to be let in with for me. I’m finally traveling again for my media to do my job. It was my first take shoots, so I’m grateful for that. I recently at concert photography. I had no control traveled to Orlando to shoot with Latin of anything so it was difficult for me at Star Arcangel. I’m headed to NYC next first but I managed to get great shots. I reweek to meet with some agencies. member thinking how cool that was, “I’m waiting to be let in to shoot 2 Chainz on How did you discover your passion for stage.” I remember thinking: “I could get photography? used to this.” I discovered my passion when I did my first fashion shoot back in 2016. It was at Playa Del Rey beach. I was actually an understudy for a photographer that called out last minute. I didn’t know anyone on location but we gelled well and I instantly loved the photos that I took and that doesn’t happen often. We wanted
What do you hope to evoke or capture within each shot? I hope to evoke power and beauty how I see it. I always want to make sure I’m making my subjects feel confident. I always wish to challenge people to own and harness their insecurities, we all have them. It’s not always easy for some to embrace them. Where do you find your inspiration for your shoots? I find my inspiration from a lot of places. I love looking at my favorite magazines and looking up the credits. My favorite magazines right now are Wonderland Magazine, Contrast Magazine and Dazed Magazine. I also follow a lot of really talented creatives on Instagram that’re constantly raising the bar. I’m really paying attention to Tyler Mitchel and Donte Maurice; everytime I see their work it inspires me. How has your background impacted your work? My background has a lot to do with my work. I’m a queer Mexican, I represent a double minority. I make sure any success that comes my way to be vocal about who I am and where I’ve been as far as adversities go. Everytime I’m in a studio I want to make sure I’m doing my best to prove I deserve a seat at the table.
How has your photography changed, if at all, during quarantine? My photography was put on hold when covid hit. I had travel plans for really neat projects that I believe could have broadened my work but it’s all good, I’ll create new opportunities. I think mostly I’ve been working on myself and I hope it reflects on my work. I think my work now is more sharp than before. I’m receiving new work lately also that I’m hoping to be published so hopefully people see the difference. How do you explore your own values or beliefs through your lens? I began to raise money on my website, selling my prints, where a portion of sales go to helping out Black trans people. If my work can be a vessel for what I stand and believe in, I’ll do it unhesitantly.
I hope to evoke power and beauty how I see it. I always want to make sure I’m making my subjects feel confident. I always wish to challenge people to own and harness their insecurities, we all have them.”
Do you prefer to shoot in digital or film + why? I shoot digital mostly. For BTS, I usually bring my polaroid camera. I think the reason I prefer to shoot digital is because I haven’t explored film more. I would like to learn more about film and techniques of film. Maybe that’ll be my next project. I think once that happens I’ll prefer film. Digital is just a stronger point for me right now.
lively Britney Spears or Bella Hadid. I’d have an amazing team and fits to excite the world. In that dream shoot I would walk in and everyone would be on time, well rested, and ready to work.
Do you see photography as a platform for social change? If so, how? I absolutely believe photography is a platform for social change. Images can piss us off enough to take control of narratives. The first image that comes to mind What would your dream shoot consist that proves this is true is Time Magazine’s cover in 2015 by photographer Devin Alof? My dream shoot would consist of a len. I think that cover and Devin’s pho-
tos inside really magnify where we were and where we are as a society and the fight against police brutality and inequality. It pissed me off enough to continue to speak out on any type of prejudiceness. This industry is still heavily run by the white male archetype. Is there anything you felt pushed back against you when getting into it? If yes, how would you recommend a younger creative in your position to overcome that? I DO think the photography industry is still run by white male archetypes except now they’re photographing more
people of color (POC). So I encourage more POC photographers to be a BOSS. In my world, things are not run by white male archetypes. I think as a creative that wants to see a change in the industry, I have to make sure I’m representing diversity. Like I mentioned before, I’m a double minority. It’s a responsibility for me to give opportunities to stylists, makeup artists and any creative that I work with (sorry not sorry) to people that are not white. I would recommend giving more spaces to brown and black people who maybe didn’t have the same opportunities as your white creatives.
I absolutely believe photography is a platform for social change. Images can piss us off enough to take control of narratives.” How has being a photographer expanded your worldview? I’ve been blessed to travel the country and Paris taking portraits. I have met so many people with cool and inspiring stories that I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t pursue photography. They indefinitely expanded my views on the world, but mostly their adversities in different places. As a queer artist, how has your identity affected your art or your entry into this space? I try not to think about my queer identity and how it may give me a disadvantage in the art world. I try to always put my best work and foot forward when approaching any gig because the sad truth is that people are homophobic and judgmental, so I need to always make sure my work can stand alone and speak for itself.
How would you describe your style in 3 words? My style in 3 words? Hmm. I would say it’s progressive, symmetrical, and collaborative. I’m unsure if anyone else notices but I love symmetry in my photos. In your work I see a lot of monochromatic aspects where parts of the subject mix with the background so seamlessly. When you’re approaching a shoot, what role does color play? To be quite honest I never purposely plan the monochromatic aspects of my shoot. I only recently noticed it’s a pattern in my work. I guess I would say it’s just my style of photography. I collaborate with stylists during the mood board process to get the flow down right of how I’ll be shooting the colors of the fits to the selection of backdrops or location.
What are some hardships you’ve faced in this creative field and how did you overcome them? The only real challenge and hardship that I have dealt with in the creative field is being correctly paid for my work. I think a lot of people think freelancing is a walk in the park, it’s not. I have been doing this for four years and it’s a constant struggle of standing my ground and accepting work and pay that I feel I deserve. What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring photographer? Advice for aspiring photographers: I would say to work with people as good as you or better. I would say to protect your ideas and execute your mood boards with time and grace. Also always be appreciative of your opportunities and growth.
Do you have any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for? 2020 really put my work on pause so I’ve been working my ass off to elevate my work and makeup for it. The celebrity talent that I’ll be working with in 2021 is really exciting. I can’t say much now but it’ll be really exciting to meet and work with people whose work I really admire. What are some of your dreams for the future? My dreams are the same as always: help raise people’s self confidence through portraiture, inspire other POC to pursue their dreams and to be published in magazines.
Photograph by Gemma Garcia Castillo @gemma_pa Featuring Le Nais @le.nais Hat: Mariola Delfer Jacket: Aniela Parys Pants: RITA
LE NAIS Photograph by Gemma Garcia Castillo Featuring Le Nais Interview by Meghan Long
Blazer: Mariola Delfer T-Shirt: Le Nais new merch Hat: Mariola Delfer Jewelry: Naida C. Castel Jewels
Le Nais — born Naida Castel — is a Spanish poet, songwriter, and artist who enjoys a nice cup of tea and involving herself in all aspects of the creative process when she goes to work. Performing and creating music under her stage name, which translates as “to be born” in French, Le Nais released her debut EP titled ‘When I can’t speak but I can sing’ in February of 2020 — one month exactly before Spain entered into a mandatory quarantine, resulting in the cancellation of her upcoming performances. In November 2020, her first EP was followed by a double single called ‘Unshape Love.’ Through a virtual interview, Le Nais opens up to Meghan Long about her origins, the transformative power of writing, and the very fitting concept of her stage name, as she not only explores a new side of herself but begins again.
Photographs by Gemma Garcia Castillo Special thanks to Marina Cantos Hi! Thank you so much for collaborating with us at Amorfoda Magazine. Would you mind sharing with us a little bit about yourself? Hi! Thanks to you for inviting me! I am Naida and also Le Nais. I am from a little city in Catalonia called Balaguer, but I am based in Barcelona. I spend my life creating: it can be music, writing, designing and everything creative that surrounds these projects. I like to get involved in every aspect around the things I do. I drink lots of tea, I love dogs and watching the sun rise, I don’t like sleeping too much, and I eat vegan most of the time. I love the mountains more than the sea and I am very introspective. I also do silly things all the time and my sign is Scorpio.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words? I have asked friends and mostly: fun-passionate-creative. What does a day in your life look like? There are not two days that look the same, but I try to wake up and meditate everyday. Then, I can be working at my jewel studio in the morning and playing with the guitar and singing at my home/studio/bedroom in the afternoon. I try do some yoga and write. Some days I do more of one thing, others more of the other. If we have gigs, we do more rehearsals and it keeps changing all the time. There is always one day where
I daydream and think about what to do next in my projects — it’s like recharging batteries. 2020 was not an easy year for anyone. How has the pandemic impacted you and your work? I just released my first EP a month before Spain was forced to quarantine in March until April, so imagine. I got to do one single gig and then all the amazing dates I had for the first time ever were also cancelled. I had never been playing in a festival and that was my first season. I was pretty sad for a while. When did you start writing songs and discover your passion for writing? I started in 2018. I had a very harsh period in my life and I felt the urge to let things out, so I started writing everywhere, all what I needed to say or express. I still keep all the tickets, pieces of paper from magazines, even the little paper bags on the plane that are used in case you get sick, where I wrote poems, texts or sentences on. That is where I discovered the freedom of writing and how transforming it can be.
both intertwine for you? They came together. It is true that I first wrote the songs but I kind of already knew they would be songs. At least the first ones. Now it is a bit of a mixture; they are pretty much intertwined. I can be writing a poem and in the middle, a sentence can lead me to an idea for a song.
take them further. What poets or other artists inspire you? A poem from Marianne Moore triggered me very deeply. Also the writing of Kae Tempest, Lana del Rey, Florence, Nikita Gill and many others. I get inspired by non-poetry books as well.
What does being a writer mean to you? I just use it as a way to shape reflections, things I Did writing songs come need to say, and also to make first or poetry - or do they people think or re-think, to
What do you hope to evoke in each poem? Something that triggers a feeling and makes you think or change a perspective. With some, I wish I can
Overalls: RITA Jewelry: Naida C. Castel Jewels
make people ask themselves questions and with others empower them, make them feel safe in their bodies and minds. Make them feel less alone if they go through things, we all do. Favorite novel or poetry collection? The book ‘Women who run with the wolves’ and my last read in catalán ‘Canto jo i la montaña balla’ -- it is just magical. When did you discover your passion for music? I was born with it. I have been singing for myself my whole life, also for my family, but mostly alone. I remember being very little learning songs by heart so easily that my mum would say I could be learning school lessons that easily instead, but I wasn’t that interested, sorry mum. They would also make me sing in the car when they didn’t like what was on the radio!
How does your background impact your work? Everything you have gone through impacts what you create. There are many things I want to say out loud that I finally understand and others that I still don’t. For me, everything comes from somewhere deep inside, where we keep feelings from
things that happen to us. It is incredible for me to see how words come out, feelings from the past you don’t even think of often. Like a parallel world with all the memories you don’t consciously remember anymore.
song to make it to the studio. It’s a long process in my head to finally finish a song. But suddenly one day, you make a song straight in an hour and that just happens when you have been either working on music or being connected with yourself with no Can you walk us through distractions. There is magic your process for writing but you have to seek it. and creating music? It is a very messy pro- Do you show your work-incess. I write all the time, progress to anyone? well not all the time, I have Usually I don’t. I have to some blocked periods every be very sure about it to show once in a while but I have a it to someone and I will usulot of papers and notebooks ally be a producer or sudand pieces of whatever I find denly sing it live to see peoand I write on. For the po- ples reaction because you are ems, I just write them quite excited about it. fast. They come out in a hurry sometimes and I just have Can you tell us about a to quickly find something to special moment where you write on, or my phone. That knew you wanted to be an is why I call them #lenais- artist? fastpoetry. I was always singing at For songs, it is different. home. I don’t remember I usually start, stick with the when I started but I was alfirst part cause I like it, and ways dreaming and pretendthen almost all of my songs ing I was a singer. And there have been hard to finish. was this TV contest for kids But it is a matter of giving where you had to sing a song it time and then trying and and they made a costume for trying, always recording, you to look like the real singcause ideas come unexpect- er. I would stay awake and ed. I can start a song from watch it when my parents a feeling, a chord’s progres- went to sleep. I was around sion, or structured lyrics and seven when I called and the I start trying melodies on it. day after, my mum received I record everything on my a call at work asking for me phone when ideas pop up. to go for a casting. I don’t And then it is a matter of even remember calling. And time and insistence, for the they didn’t pick me after go-
IT IS INCREDIB HOW WORDS COM FROM THE PAST THINK OF OFTEN. WORLD WITH AL YOU DON’T CONS
BLE FOR ME TO SEE ME OUT, FEELINGS YOU DON’T EVEN . LIKE A PARALLEL LL THE MEMORIES SCIOUSLY REMEMBER ANYMORE.”
ing but maybe I decided loads of music. It used to be road trip with friends when something that day, deep in traveling as well but lately it’s talking about it and trying me. not possible. names. “Le Nais” appeared and I knew it was it. After What type of music did you Have you ever experienced that, I found out it means ‘to listen to growing up? any struggles with opening be born’ in French and I felt I had a crush on Avril up in your music and being it was an unexplored part Lavigne and Christina Agu- so vulnerable and raw? of me that felt like starting ilera. And I had these CD’s I remember launching again, couldn’t be more accalled Woman Vol.1 and ‘Dancing,’ my first single curate. Vol.2 which I loved with ever, and I was terrified. I Lauryn Hill, Destiny’s Child, felt like I was cut open and If you could tell your Kate Bush, and many more. everybody could see every- younger self anything, what thing. It is so weird to be so would it be? Number one song on your scared and on the other side, Look in, not out. playlist right now? wanting to do it, to show it “Playground Love” – Ma- all to the world. How would you describe ria Hackman your music genre and what Which language do you draws you to this style? Which musical artists have prefer to write and sing in inspired your work + how? + why? I never know exactly how Justin Vernon touches my I write in English most of to answer to this question. It heart with all he does. He has the time. It feels good even is what comes out after years been inspiring me for so long though it is not my mother and years of listening to the with how he has been exper- tongue and I am sure I am music I like. I am not trying imenting in the past years. less smart in English but its to be in a specific genre, even And also Lana del Rey, I like easier to say some stuff. Also, though I am close to some. I to cover her songs. They feel it rhymes differently than have heard I do indie-soul, so comfortable and I love the Spanish. I have been trying indie-pop, pop. way she writes. They inspire in Spanish though, we’ll see. me by the way their music Do you see yourself ever makes me feel. Lately I have What inspired your name branching out into other been very inspired by FKA “Le Nais” and why do you genres? twigs, Angel Olsen, Ibeyi, choose to write and create Not really, I feel I am still Still Woozy, Frank Ocean. . . music under a pseudonym? finding my sound and how I have a long list of favourite I wanted to have a pseud- I really want to express mysongs and artists. onym because I already self but I don’t think I will be had my other project with doing a completely opposite Where do you find your in- my name, Naida C. Castel thing — hopefully an amazspiration for songwriting Jewels, and I started brain- ing evolution of what I do. and poems? storming. Some friends and I mean, you never know, I On personal experienc- family call me Nai, then it just want to be very proud of es, reading, observing life was fun that Nais sounds like what I do in the future, that and people, and listening to ‘Nice’ in English. I was on a is for sure.
Flowers: Colvin Blazer: Mariola Delfer
Who would you most like to collaborate with? Creating side by side with an artist and producers I admire. For example, making music and learning from Justin Vernon or Jack Antonoff, and all the artists I mentioned in the interview.
and when it comes to art, it is very difficult to give useful advice. One thing is true, and everybody says it: ‘don’t compare yourself to others’, ‘quit Instagram when you need to create,’ and ‘there is no key to anything, stop reading this and go work on your stuff.’ All time favorite music artAnd if you are scared to ist or band? start or to do something, I’ll Lana del Rey, Bon Iver tell you: the scariest is to and FKAtwigs, don’t make look back after some years, me choose. and see you didn’t do it just
because you were scared. Aside from writing and music, what are your other passions? I have a small jewelry brand called Naida C. Castel Jewels. Day person or night person? Day Coffee or tea? TEA ALL THE TIME
What is the most difficult part of your creative process? How do you overcome it? To know a song is done, to stop working on it. Also, to have many songs started and not being able to finish any of them. For the first one, I leave it there and then listen again when my head is clear, to really know if it needs more changes or not. And for the other I just don’t know, I force myself, I find free time to go and do something physical that has nothing to do with it so ideas can flow. . . but still, it is a difficult one to overcome! What’s one piece of advice you would share with an aspiring writer or musician? I don’t know if I am the person to give any advice; I am kind of new to all this
Dream travel destination + why? I want to visit Petra, it just calls me. Are there any new projects you are currently working on that you are excited to share? I am working on my live performance and on the set. Even though there are not many, right now I have a lot of time for that, so 2021 we are coming stronger. Also
trying to make new music I play the violin, not a lot using a different process new of people know it! to me, we’ll see what comes out! What are some of your dreams and goals for the Any current muses at the future? moment? I would love to travel Courtney Trop from Al- with my music - everywhere ways Judging. I can - and meet artists, share music, and if I can, collaborating with them would be Biggest pet peeve? Disloyalty. so great. I don’t want to say it too loud, wouldn’t like to Any hidden talents or fun jinx anything. facts?
Photograph by @vidainfilm Featuring Angels Divinity
Photographs by @vidainfilm Featuring Angels Divinity Interview by Meghan Long
Dream a little dream
Sam Renee, known by her Instagram page and writer’s name, “Angels Divinity,” embodies the essence of a romantic. She’s affectionate, optimistic, and in love, not just with potential lovers but with the words between a quick exchange and the tender moments in everyday life. Through her writing, she explores beauty in the world, as well as pain and grief, with a reminder that even on your worst day, you are never going through something alone. Angels Divinity opens up to Meghan Long about heartbreak, love, and finding inspiration amidst being in quarantine. Photographs by @vidainfilm Hi! Thanks so much for virtually meeting with me today at Amorfoda Magazine. To begin, could you share a little about yourself? Yeah! So, I’m originally from the Seattle area but I now live in San Francisco. Here I’m pursuing my degree in environmental science at the University of San Francisco. I run a page on Instagram called Angels Divinity in which I post stuff on fashion, self-love, and some of my written works. And I’m also into astrology, so I’m a Taurus if that means
Styling by Angels Divinity anything to you guys. What are some of your favorite places to hang out in the city? Definitely one of them would be Mission Dolores park because there’s a view of the city skyline and it’s always warm and sunny there in the area. I really like going to Hade street because there’s a lot of cool thrift stores there and the beach too. I really like the beach. How has the COVID-19 pandemic
impacted your day-to-day life? Right now with the pandemic going on, my day is pretty mundane. I try to wake up early so I have time for myself and start the day meditating, stretching, and journaling. I like to journal three things I’m grateful for and my intentions, fears, and goals for the day. I find that expressing gratitude has helped increase my overall happiness and journaling just allows me to find a sense of purpose for the day. I do have classes throughout the day but they’re typically later. When I’m not in class, I like to bother my housemates -- we’re all pretty close. Right now, I’m also trying to get into chess but I’m really bad at it. How did you discover your passion for writing and why specifically do you choose to write in the genre of poetry? I discovered my passion for writing when I was about 13. I remember back then I was just having a really difficult time with anxiety, depression, and the beginnings of coming of age and writing just became an outlet for me, specifically through the medium of poetry. I choose to write in the genre of poetry because of how informal and free flowing it can be. I just really like the rhythm, flow of it, the way it sounds, and it also allows me to kind of romanticize things. Although, of course, some things should not be romanticized like mental illness. I feel like there’s a lot of toxicity around romanticizing that so I try to not do that.
in things in the world. It allows me to express my inner creativity and thoughts and I feel like I’m able to be my most vulnerable and authentic self. Where do you find your inspiration? A lot of my inspiration derives from the love, heartbreak, grief, and healing from my relationships. I stem some of my inspiration from things people say -- whether that be from other works of poetry, or from movies or songs, or from the people in my life. What do you hope to capture and evoke in your poetry? I try to capture the way my romances make me feel with the fleeting moments I have with them. It helps me remember previous relationships in the way I want to remember them, which is more for the best than the worst, at least I hope. And to be honest, I’m just such a hopeless romantic. It’s about the depth and the beauty of these people and the feelings I have towards them. With these works, I hope it makes people feel love, more alive, and inspired by its beauty as it does with me.
Can you walk us through your creative process? My creative process isn’t really linear. Usually when I’m with someone, we’ll have a moment or maybe there’s something that they say and I kind of hang on to that and write it down without them looking because What does being a writer mean to you? I’m shy of them knowing. It’s kind of like Being a writer allows me to find healing when photographers take photos of people in what I’m going through or to find beauty on the street and you don’t want them to
process usually take? It definitely can vary. Sometimes it just comes really easily to me and it’ll take a day or even so much as an hour. Other ones I kind of feel a little stuck so I’ll come back to it in the coming days, weeks, or even months. I have this whole notes tab where it’s all just works in progress and I swear it’s five to ten pages long. I’ll just go back, read them, and maybe I’ll feel differently and more How long does your editing inspired. know or else it will ruin the realness or candidness of the moment. After that, I usually come back to it when I’m alone. I turn to dictionaries a lot to get the right word down and my piece just kind of flows to me after that initial spark of inspiration. Then I’ll read it out loud because I feel like that’s the best way to gauge how it sounds and then make edits until I feel it’s right.
What is the most difficult part of your creative process? How do you overcome it? The most difficult part of my creative process is when I don’t have a muse. In those in-between spaces, I can’t help but feel uninspired. Lately it’s been a lot worse and I think a lot of that has to do with the pandemic going on. There’s a lot less social interaction which I drive a lot of my inspiration from. I still struggle with overcom-
ing this, but I am trying to find ways to stimulate my inspiration and creativity. I try to hold space to just kind of be. I’ll sit at the table with my pen, journal, and maybe a cup of coffee. Or I’ll go sit in the park and be somewhere where my surroundings are different and I’ll just observe people passing by. And definitely watching movies, reading books and other people’s writing helps me overcome my writer’s block. What inspired your writer’s name, Angels Divinity, and why do you choose to write under a pseudonym? Honestly, all the other names that I wanted were taken on Instagram. But I like the idea that we’re all like angels without wings on Earth and I hope my page is as delightful as the ‘divinity’ part that Angels Divinity entails. As for writing under a pseudonym, I like the idea of having a little bit of anonymity. I want the focus to be more on the writing and not on me, myself. When I write with a pseudonym, I am able to be more raw and authentic with it because I’m not as much focused on being tied to this poem and then people I know seeing it and being like, “Oh, I know this person.” I don’t want the focus to be on me; I want the focus to be on the writing.
Since I’ve written under a pseudonym, I’ve found that there’s less of a tie of my own identity and my own personal experience to my writing. I write about things that haven’t necessarily happened to
Which poets inspire you and how? I can think of one. Her name is Orion Carloto. I started following her back in the Tumblr days, back in 2014, and now she’s this in-
me. I try to put myself in a different pair of shoes. It definitely allows me to broaden my horizon on what I write about and be more imaginative and creative.
fluencer and poet on Instagram. I just remember first reading her poetry on coffee stained napkins and I felt really inspired. She can bring beauty to almost anything like loss and heartbreak.
like the idea of having a little bit of anonymity. I want the focus to be more on the writing and not on me, myself. When I write with a pseudonym, I am able to be more raw and authentic with it.” I like how her writing sips really smoothly like your favorite glass of wine. She’s definitely molded me into how I write today. What was your hardest poem to write and why? I don’t really have any poems that were difficult to write but I do have a lot of letters that I’ve written to my ex that were. I feel like they are poetic in a sense because as a poet it’s hard not to add those embellishments in your writing. I wrote a letter to my ex when we weren’t allowed to see or talk to each
ty won’t always come to you naturally, and you’re going to have to push through your writer’s block and find ways to cultivate your creativity. Like I said earlier, there have been periods of time where I just don’t feel inspired and haven’t written. So I would tell my younger self to not stop writing even if you don’t think it’s good enough because when you do stop, it If you could tell your young- becomes a lot harder to get er writing self anything, into the groove and feel inspired from my experience. what would it be? I would tell her that you’re not always going to be Do you see yourself ever motivated to write, creativi- branching out into differother and it was one of the most difficult times in my life. But in retrospect, I’m glad the separation happened because that relationship, although it was one of my most intense and loving ones, was just as toxic as it was wonderful. That difficult time has allowed my best writing to come from it as well.
Describe yourself in 3 words: A hopeless romantic - that’s 3, right? Or I would say: ambitious, sensitive, and loyal Coffee or tea? How about both? I like my coffee black and my tea green Favorite poetry collection? Flex by Orion Carloto Number one song on your playlist right now? “ángel sin cielo” - Kali Uchis Biggest pet peeve? When people aren’t considerate of others. It’s just the rue of so many issues in the world and personal relationships Day person or night person? Because of COVID-19 and lack of nightlife, I’ve become much more of a day person
ent genres? I’ve dabbled a little bit into writing snippets of short stories or monologues. I haven’t thought much about going into different genres but I think I’ll start because I feel like if I go into different genres that’ll help me with my poetry and maybe get a little bit more perspective and learn something about myself as a writer that I haven’t found before. What’s your dream travel destination and why? This is really cliche but I wanna go to Paris or Italy and live my hopeless romantic dream. Go sit out at a cafe and write about strangers passing by and write about their lives in my head. Go fall in love and get heartbroken when I have to come back to the states. Aside from writing, what are your other passions? I love fashion, exploring new places, and focusing on self growth.
What advice should an aspiring poet or writer know? I think it’s important to share your work with others who you feel safe with of course and to get feedback which will help you grow as a writer. But I also think while it’s important to be receptive to the feedback, to only make changes that you see best fit to your writing. I’ve had to get feedback from people like my professors or mentors and I’ve had to reject some ideas and changing to my writing because I felt like that would change the meaning or feeling I am trying to encapsulate. I also have gotten feedback on the format of my writing but honestly fuck format. I know there’s a proper way to write but I just like to write how I write. At the end of the day, it’s the artist’s choice. What are some of your personal dreams and goals for the future? I’m taking a modeling workshop in the near future and I’m in the works of trying to create a portfolio. I’m hoping to become a model someday. I love to dress up, get glammed up, and put on a persona of trying on new outfits. I want to challenge the modeling industry and make it, despite not having the traditional height or beauty standards cause that’s just a load of bullshit in my opinion. I would also someday like to have my writing published so readers can someday buy my writing.
Are you currently working on any new material or projects? I’ve tried to enter my older stuff into chapbook contests, but I think I’m going to compile them and share them myself instead. I have a lot of writing from when I was 13 to 17 on coming of age and I think it would help my readers, especially those who are younger than me if I shared them. It would also be kind of like a purging of sorts -- like Lastly, do you have any current muses at I’m releasing the old and making room for the moment? my current or next chapter in my life. So if Yeah, actually I do! I have one lover at the there’s anything to be on the lookout for it’s moment. that.
Personal landscapes Francesco Sambati is an Italian self-taught and freelance portrait and landscape photographer who, when he’s not taking Polaroids, enjoys anime and playing videos games. Sambati discusses his entrance into the photography world, the impact of his artistic upbringing on his work, and why he chooses to create recognizable photos over the traditional photo standards of beauty. Photographs by Francesco Sambati
Interview by Meghan Long
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today at Amorfoda Magazine. To begin, can you share a little about yourself? Hi, I’m Francesco Sambati, an Italian self-taught photographer. I am currently a freelance photographer. I live in Lecce, a city located in Puglia, in southern Italy and I deal with digital and instant photography.
the morning, I try to take pictures around when possible and the rest of the day I dedicate to tidying up my photographic archive, reworking photos that have been put aside, and answering emails. When I’m not involved in photography commitments, I dedicate myself to my hobbies: video games and movies.
How did you discover your passion for photography? How has the COVID-19 pandemic imIt was pure coincidence. I never took a serious interest in photography until pacted your day-to-day life? In this moment, as I imagine for many by chance, one day when I was on the people, my typical day is very quiet. In beach. I took a picture with my iPhone
of a friend of mine. In that precise moment, something ignited and slowly I approached this vast world. What do you try to communciate through your work? I do not know. I do not consider myself a narrator through photos and I do not expect that what I feel when I take a certain photo is received in the same way by the viewer. If the photo conveys another feeling, that’s okay, the important thing is that it conveyed something. How does inspiration come to you for your shoots? Simply by the reality that surrounds me, by the landscape, by the loneliness during my photographic walks but especially by the mood of the moment. Was there a defining moment for you where you realized this was more than a side passion and something you wanted to pursue as a career? One day, for fun, I sent a photo to a print magazine that had opened an erotic photography call. I didn’t know the world of magazines and I didn’t even know if my photo was okay! But the photo was published and when I held the magazine with my photo in my hands, at that moment I realized that maybe it was no longer a game. I felt more a photogra- influenced me unconsciously: my father pher and less amateur. was an art professor and I attended art school, so I grew up surrounded by art. How has your background impacted But I assimilated these notions without your work? knowing that after years I would have Without realizing it, my background poured them into my photos without re-
alizing it. I often realize this when I look Do you prefer to shoot in digital or at a photo, not immediately after I have film? What type of camera(s) do you shoot most with? taken it, but after a long time. I like to shoot both ways. They are two How has being in quarantine impacted different experiences, but I think I slightly prefer analogue. To be precise, I mainor changed your photography? It has changed very little, practical- ly shoot with Polaroids. Instant photogly nothing. I did not photograph much raphy is more exciting because you only during the quarantine. I saw the photos have one chance and it’s all there at that of other photographers on the theme of precise moment. The result is never sure quarantine and they distressed me. I did and that’s part of the charm of instant not want to take photos so as not to as- photography. For digital photography, I sociate such a bad period with photogra- use a Fuji X-T3 or my iPhone. While for phy in the future. As soon as it was pos- Polaroids, I use a SX-70 Land Camera. sible, I kept taking pictures in my usual Which do you prefer to capture more: style. portraits or landscapes? What does each perspective bring?
Both, I don’t have a preference. Often, if we look from a different perspective, even a portrait is a landscape and vice versa. Basically, a landscape is the portrait of a territory and a portrait is a personal landscape of the person portrayed. What would your dream shot be? A Polaroid of the Earth from space Describe your style in 3 words: Simple, elegant, spontaneous Do you see photography as a platform for social change? If so, how? Maybe once, yes. Now we are inundated with thousands and thousands of photos every day that I fear if there is one in the middle, that observing it can make
someone think, it can go unobserved: we are running too fast without a reason. Among your works, which is your favorite and why? I think my favorite is my Polaroid series called “Diaspora” where I show the places emptied by tourists in the winter months, probably because it’s a series that talks about the territory where I live and to which I am connected. If you could travel to any destination tomorrow, where would you go + why? Japan because it would satisfy both my photographic side and my “nerdy” side.
“WE ARE RUNNING TOO FAST WITHOUT A
What are you currently working on? For now, nothing specific, I continue to shoot freely. I wait for quieter times to be able to concentrate better on something more concrete.
ginning, when I absolutely did not know how to move. It is too vast a world and I did not know where to start. I realized that the only thing I could do was take pictures without thinking about what others liked, but what I liked. When I realized that maybe I was starting to have my own style, I tried to understand which sites or magazines were looking for photos with my style and so I eliminated the main obstacle: “Where do I start?”
Whose work has influenced you the most? More than a work that has influenced me in particular, there is the photographic production of a photographer that pushed me to move forward. When I looked at the photos of her I thought, Any passions outside of photography? “One day I want to be as good as she is” Videogames, movies, anime. and this spurred me a lot. Her name is Aëla Labbé. Day person or night person? Night person. In a lot of your photos, there is a distinctive contrast between the shadows What is one piece of advice you want and light. How do you utilize these as- an aspiring photographer to know? pects? Definitely to create your own style They play a fundamental role. I can because currently I see too many photos say that I am almost a slave to them be- that seem to be photocopied together, all cause if there is not the right beam of with the same post-production. I prefer light in the exact point where I want to a “less beautiful” but recognizable photo photograph, I do nothing and often wait than a better photo equal to 1,000 other whole weeks until the sun reaches where photos. I want. I can say that the shadows are more important of the photographed What are some of your dreams for the subject; without them, it would not be future? the same thing. Perhaps the publication of a book, I think I would love it. Maybe in the fuChallenges often present themselves in ture, who knows. a variety of ways when entering into a creative field. What are some of the dif- Most recent photo taken in your camficulties you’ve faced thus far and how era roll at this moment? have you managed them? A photo of the sea I took a month ago. I found some difficulties at the be-
The playlist B Y
DI E G O
1. “Good Days” -- SZA 2. “Take Me Where Your Heart Is” -- Q 3. “telepatía” -- Kali Uchis 4. “Lovers Rock” -- TV Girl 5. “Yes I’m Changing” -- Tame Impala 6. “Because I’m Me” -- The Avalanches 7. “Time” -- Free Nationals, Mac Miller, & Kali Uchis 8. “Hunnybee” -- Unknown Mortal Orchestra 9. “Kamikaze” -- Omar Apollo 10. “Ooo Baby Baby” -- Smokey Robinson & The Miracles 11. “Peace Blossom Boogy” -Babe Rainbow
Photographs by @vidainfilm
T OS C A NO
To answer any curiosities regarding this curated playlist, I went for a timeless theme that resembles growth and carefree summers. These songs go best when you’re doing the simplest of things. Plug this in when you’re going for a drive with the windows down, at the lake with your friends, or even just a casual sunset walk. I want listeners to feel at ease when experiencing this playlist -Nothing but blissful moments and memories.” Listen to Diego Toscano’s Amorfoda Issue 1 playlist on Spotify and Apple Music. Words by Diego Toscano @diego.toscano
MEGHAN LONG Instagram: @meghan.adele MORGAN LISKA Instagram: @morganliska ANGELS DIVINITY Instagram: @angelsdivinity DIEGO TOSCANO Instagram: @diego.toscano
LE NAIS Instagram: @le.nais https://linktr.ee/lenais
MARIA CHRISTINA GAZI Instagram: @vidainfilm www.vidainfilm.com CLAUDINA DIEGO Instagram: @claudinadiego TERESA CARRIL Instagram: @teresacarrilm AMALUR IRAOLAGOITIA REAL Instagram: @amablue10 OSCAR VELAY Instagram: @oscarvelay_ www.oscarvelay.com JONATHAN IVAN Instagram: @j0nathanivan www.jonathan-ivan.com GEMMA GARCIA CASTILLO Instagram: @gemma_pa www.gemmapa.com FRANCESCO SAMBATI Instagram: @francesco.sambati www.francescosambati.com
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