Blog - Pia Parolin

Welcome to my Blog!

For years I thought that I would start to write a blog. I write them in my head but then never put them into my computer. I read blogs and listen to a lot of photography podcasts and participate at workshops and meet other photographers and painters and sculptures just to talk about art and photography. So my head is filled with ideas, creativity, knowledge, questions, need to share the thoughts and understand how other people see things, interpret a given fact, understand a situation. And since my energy is almost interminable and my thoughts make my head explode I decided to use this valve to let all my thoughts out and get feedback and start a discussion with other interested people. I am a passionate biologist, I lived many years in the Amazon for my phd studies and was a university lecturer and am currently a researcher at a French Institute. I travel the world for conferences and round tables, for field work and cooperations. And yet, this passion is not enough. I finally re-discovered photography and allowed myself to play and take my time just like a child who does not care for anything else around and lives the moment…so here I am ready to share: thoughts and fears, creative approaches and methods, ideas and ideologies, let us start a conversation!

Capture a moment, create an atmosphere!

Biot, France; October 2018

Blogpost N. 1 Inspiration versus Plagiarism

Hi to everybody and thank you for reading what I want to say, and to think and discuss it together! This is my very first blog post about photography and I hope you are interested in sharing your ideas and experiences with me.

Yesterday, once more, I visited a museum. It was an excellent exhibition of Belgian Jan Fabre in the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence. Among dozens of sculptures, one was outstanding to me. Being Italian and with a passion for art, much to the surprise of the other art lovers around me I recognized the sculpture “Il Cristo Velato” made in 1753 by Giuseppe Sanmartino and conserved in the Sansevero Chapel in Naples. But in fact, it was not this sculpture but an almost identical one, with a female head and breasts. Astonishingly, neither the title (“Gisant”) nor the dedication (to the American neuro-anatomist Elizabeth Caroline Crosby) referred to the original work which even the museum guide never even heard of. Later I read that in 2011, Fabre exposed a “Pietà” at the Biennale in Venice – same situation, a plagiarism of a well-known classical oeuvre.

A plagiarism? For a long time I have been discussing this issue with friends and artists. I am not concerned so far with plagiarism but maybe one day the problem arises. So far, I watch someone´s work and get inspired, and I take pictures that are influenced by what I saw – this way I develop my creativity.

So today´s philosophical question: Where is the line between inspiration and plagiarism, in photography and in art in general? When is appropriation legitimate? Is it enough to build up your own conceptual idea around a picture or series even though it may copy something already existing? How can I defend my work against the accusation of plagiarism if I develop an idea, that is only partially new?

Thanks for your thoughts!


Biot, 7 November 2018

Yellow Skate Girl

Blogpost N. 2 Connectivity

In my generation, born in the 60s, things took time. To see a printed picture after you shot it, to exchange a letter, to be tracked if you took someone´s picture – this could take weeks or months, or sometimes it never happened. Obviously things have changed a lot since the landing on the moon with a computer that probably had a smaller capacity than the cellphone everybody carries in his pocket today. I am well aware of technological progress and love it, and yet there are moments of real astonishment. Last summer, I could not believe how fast I was in contact with a skateboarder whose pictures I took on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. I did not ask, I just took the pictures of this girl who made her acrobacies in front of me. In fact, I was supposed to pick up my teenage daughter and should have left long ago. I had already packed my camera into my backpack and waited for my daughter while the sun started to set. I was tired and bored and my daughter was late and I started to feel cold and just wanted to leave. I received a message that it would take her another half hour. One advantage – or rather disadvantage? – of being connected is that you can make last minute changes and actually tell the person who had a planned meeting with you about it. So I said ok, so what, I looked at the beautiful evening sea and suddenly this girl with her skateboard showed up. I watched her and admired her acrobacies. Finally I took my camera out of the bag and took some pictures without even getting up, I was tired and wanted to go home. Finally my daughter showed up and we left. When I looked at the pictures at home after dinner, the pictures of the skateboard girl happened to be the best I had taken in the whole day! I was happy and proud and posted one on Instagram right away. And then the incredible happened: after less than one hour I was in contact with this precise girl – whom I could easily have spoken to while taking pictures, but I was too lazy. I was really astonished about how fast and without intent we were connected. I am followed on IG by some hundreds of people, not many actially, but there are friends of my teenage kids among them and one of them knew that girl and tagged her and she replied in the same minute that she liked the picture. Luckily! Imagine she would have been upset… I wrote her a message introducing myself and telling her that I admired her and had shot some nice pictures and that I would send them to her if she wanted. I also offered to delete everything if she preferred so. but she was happy and proud and at the launch of my first printed photography book I invited her and we took pictures together in front of a large sized metal print of her. She was so happy! In this specific case, the connectivity resulted in big happiness and proudness. I am aware that this is not always the case and since then I pay a lot of attention to ask the people whose faces are recognizable for permission, or to take the pictures in a way that their faces cannot be discerned. Another a funny story happened this week: I sold a ticket for a theatre evening that I cannot attend, and the woman that found my announcement on the theatre page and whom I had never seen before told me: “I know you, I follow you on Instagram!” She realised this the moment I sent her an SMS – her cellphone popped up my name and made the connection! 😱😊 Moral of the story: No matter what, you are connected. Be careful and make the best of it!

Thanks for your thoughts!


Zürich / Switzerland, 12 November 2018

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