Photo Essay: The Kingdom

“Light & Skin” (Coco Poppin – Behind the Scenes at “Fly by Night” Freemantle WA)

This month we’re delighted to feature a few selections from a photo essay by Italian photographer Valentino Varan Vesarach. He talked with us about his style, method and his experience documenting the 2012 Perth International Burlesque Festival. (All photos and captions by Valentino Varan Vesarach.)

Interview: Divertida Devotchka

Q: You were born in Bangkok and then moved to Sydney, Australia after living between Bali and Italy. Travelling is your current pursuit, as well as your photography, which is rooted in your approach based on the basics of lighting, colors and an intimate relationship with the subject. Can you please tell our readers about your style and methods?

Missy Fatale – Behind the scenes at “The Bakery” Northbridge Perth WA

A: Style: The key to all of my works is the research and the relationship with the person to establish what I call “CONNECTION” with the subject. This relationship with the photographer and the subject is like a dance, I try to let myself be carried by the events and follow what I feel in every moment, trying to find out who I’m shooting. In this way minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, I have a deeper intimacy with the subject. During a project you can take the most beautiful picture of the Series after a few minutes, but as time and days pass, especially with the situations encountered, the relationships and interactions that change will generate different levels of Photographs Emotions.

Billie Rae – Behind the scenes at “Fly by Night” Freemantle WA

Method: Although we are in 2012 I’d like to have us remember the origins of Photography. I’m a Young Artist who loves innovation and technology, but my photographic approach is “Traditional” and above all “Practical”. I talk a lot about ” LIGHT “and invite all to reflect that the Camera is just A BOX … where through a hole (Lens – which should be the implementation of our EYES) we get a certain amount of Light.


For all my Documentary works I observe some rules:


“Hours of preparation and attention to detail and it’s only shown for a few minutes on stage.” (Coco Poppin – Behind the Scenes at “Fly by Night”)

One Camera One Lens: This involves a little advance planning based on what you want to go to photograph and what you want to show. The reasons are simple: Total ductility in any situation, the Camera always on hand and the finger always on the button of the shot. The use of a single lens for each work also provides the same “point of view” and that I thought was more suitable to show our subject / subjects.


Robyn, a Beehives Go-Go dancer, behind the scenes at “Fly by Night”

Only Prime Lenses, no Zoom: There are several reasons, but some of the most important are: Prime lenses are very flexible in low light condition, have a degree of clarity/sharpness and surrender of “reality” much more close to the real world that we are capturing. Finally to return to previous speech… If I suppose that my lens is just nothing more than my EYE, if you want to see something from nearer or more far away, I’ll do two steps forward or backward, but I’ll certainly not turn a wheel in my head to bring  an object closer or further away!

Always and in all conditions I use only natural light. No Flash or any kind of support lights. How could I show what I see if I assume that I wanna change it before taking the picture??

Dixie Ramone & Billie Rae choosing the best drawings from artists at Dr. Sketchy’s at “Fly by Night”

Q: I’m especially interested in your photographic essay project called “The Kingdom.” You describe it as part one of a two-part series called “The Roman Empress.” This essay gives the viewer a behind the scenes, intimate look at the 2012 Perth International Burlesque Festival. Please tell us about the development of this essay and your experience documenting the festival.

A: I spent Approximately 20 days since she landed at the Perth airport until I took her to the check-in cue before the departure, along with the performer Dixie Ramone (The Empress). All this has led me to live a global experience inside the Perth International Burlesque Festival. Then from a well-defined starting situation subsequently developed thousands of other situations, especially on Tour Down South with the Crew, I got carried away so I photographed and caught all the moments where I felt stimulated. In the end I found myself with a lot of material that I liked, but was part of a wider story, so I decided to put together the series The Kingdom and showing the Festival in its entirety, just as I have lived. It was a sublime experience.

Mrs. Rose relaxes after the show at “The Bakery” Northbridge Perth WA

Q: The second part of your ‘Roman Empress’ project is titled, “The Empress.” Can you tell us more about that?

A: The Empress is the Series that tells about the Australian experience of the performer Dixie Ramone inside and outside the Perth International Burlesque Festival. It’s a Series full of emotions that in 25 photos reveals what I was able to catch about the character of Dixie Ramone (who I had never met before then) and also show this fast-changing relationship between us during those 20 days together… but I do not want to spoil the surprise!

Mrs. Rose on stage at “The Bakery”

Q: What’s next for Valentino?

A: In September 2012 I started to work on a very personal Series called “Nothing is Forever”. I’m still at an early stage and very thoughtful.

I can however say few general things. The subject is a Russian girl, I’m shooting in Black and White with an old 1972 35mm camera given to me by my Uncle and I’m using a 50mm lens. It’s a Series full of contrasts, a bit like a mirror of my soul in the relationship with myself and the other peoples. The Series travels between opposite edges, alternating sweetness to pure sexuality, passing from moments of extreme happiness and satisfaction to drastic apathy.

Regarding my carrier, now that I moved to Sydney I hope to get some good and challenging commissions from artists, people and magazines that are on my same wavelength, and also I really would like to have chance to make a few exhibitions, no matter where in the world they are. I’ll be ready to follow my heart and my feelings…like always!

Missy Fatale seduces the public during the show at the Albany Theatre WA.

Q: Anything you’d like to add?

A: A huge thank you to all those who believed in me and all those who appreciate my works and my genuine feelings towards Photography. A special thanks to Art Director and Designer Pino Usicco and to my Mentor the London Photographer Sam Harris, without whom I would not be from the artistic point of view the man I have become.

Thanks to Pin Curl Magazine for giving me this interview.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *