43 thoughts on “alessandra”

  1. marcin luczkowski

    I have many questions. “On the Sixth Day”is one of my favorite series of photos. I watched it a thousands time. So beautiful and so inteligent.

    My a few questions are:

    What are you working on now?

    What is your main purpose in your photography? What motivated you most? You are type of professionalist or passionate? You work mostly for assignments or for yourself and best prints or books?

    Thanks for your photography.

  2. Thank you, Alessandra, for spending time with us today.

    I want to ask you the question that David just asked us in his “women with cameras” thread: Why do we not see more women who stay in the craft of photography for the long haul?

    And for myself I ask, what is it like to be one of only a handful of women in Magnum? And why do you think there are so few women in that prestigious agency? Is it because of lack of applicants, the less professional quality of their work, and/or the attitudes held by the majority of the members in Magnum, ie., the men?

    By the way, I was at the showing of your work at the October 2008 slideshow in DAH’S loft and was deeply moved by both your photos and what you had to say about them. I very much appreciate your willingness to focus on what is “in your backyard,” so to speak, rather than feeling you have to go to some exotic place to do “dramatic” work. Your explorations of the humanity of your cousins, for instance, carries all the drama of the human condition.

    Thanks again.


  3. when i very very young, maybe 8 years old. i found myself taking picts of everyone and everything i cared about and loved. it was what i instinctively reached to to when i first glimpsed life wasn’t forever.
    it wasn’t a choice. it was the only way.and has been the only way since then.
    marcin, i think this also answer some part of your question.

  4. Hello Ms. Sanguinetti,
    As one of those women photographers straddling work and family obligations, I would love to read how you manage to balance your duties as a mother when you are really focused on the execution/completion of a photo project. Does “balance” even exist? Do you have a very supportive family? A nanny?

    I’d also love to read how you got your proverbial foot in the door. Was the decision to apply to Magnum your own, or were you encouraged? When did you decide your work was ready? I’ve heard DAH say that great work doesn’t stay unnoticed for long; it would be inspiring to read about how your vision & your work began to be recognized professionally — are you good at marketing yourself, did someone “discover” you, or something else entirely?

    Thank you for offering your time to us here at Burn.

  5. Another question comes to mind:

    What would you say to a young photographer–woman or man–who aspires to make her/his mark in the world of photography? Are there any specific choices you made that you believe helped your work become known and respected in this rather competitive field?


  6. A civilian-mass audience


    do you dream of traveling around the “world” ?
    maybe to sprinkle some of your photo “fairy energy” with young photographers?

    Again, THANK YOU !!!

  7. Hello Alessandra,
    I saw your work last year during the NYC workshop with Alex and Rebecca Webb. You and DAH gave an evening slide show presentation. If I remember correctly you showed photos from your series “The Adventures of Guille and Belinda” My question is, how do you feel about showing/selling these images as art? If I’m not mistaken, this project has gained you quite a lot of notoriety, much due to the world of contemporary art photography….? It’s an issue that I have been seriously posing/debating towards/with my own work, and was wondering your opinion on this issue.

    In some ways I feel you are truly in these girl’s intimate space, more so than just snapshots on the street of folks passing by. Does it ever seem odd to have these images enlarged and sold as art?? In my opinion this is a bit on the edge…If I remember correctly, you plan on photographing these two girls in the future. That will be great to see in some years hopefully :-)

    Thanks for taking your time for us on Burn..

  8. Crystal, it goes day by day, there’s no balance , just minute by minute decisions and indecisions. my husband is also a photographer so we both know what the other is going through and what each one needs so we help each other out. i learned to accept it is all different now and i embrace it because Catalina is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me.
    we are never in the same place for long, but in ny i do keep a 9 to 5 and Catalina goes to daycare, and then i work again until late when she falls asleep.
    i love to answer all of your questions, as i write I am in a Magnum meeting and i want to participate so will be back in a little while. (just got a text message with the news that Catalina counted to three,,)
    more later.

  9. Ah yes, functional chaos!

    Many compliments for your Guille and Belinda series…magnificent, it is work I revisit again and again. I too would love to hear about your current projects.

    Also, will you be teaching any workshops in the near future?

  10. ALESSANDRA – i saw your beautiful exhibit “the life that came” – can you tell me how that work came about? did it start with “on the sixth day” – how long did you photography the two girls? i love how you documented those two lovely girls and their life…

  11. Patricia, everyones road is so personal and specific, every day the work you do will lead you somewhere unexpected, other times it will take you two steps back, so it’s all just work and conviction and persistence.
    i had the good fortune of living in Argentina when photography wasn’t considered part of the art world, or a very practical way to make a living, so i was very free, it was all about the work, and the idea of selling a print, or having anyone pay me to do personal editorial work, never entered into my realm of possibilities. all i really wanted was money to make my work and a space to show it in, the bigger and the more people that would fit in it the better.
    it was always one little step a time, one grant leads to another, the work gets around, and once i felt i had something to show i knocked on many doors and eventually some opened.
    David Bacher, what’s wrong with art? it’s wonderful that art is supported and encouraged and people can sometimes live doing it.
    more later

  12. Hello Alessandra,

    What is your favorite lens ?
    What is your relationship with the deep of field ?

    Thank you very much again for taking your time for us.



    thank you for the time on burn

    My question is

    as an artist are you influenced by other artists ? and as a young photographer is it okay to produce work influenced by the great work out there ?

  14. Alessandra, thanks so much for answering my question. What you say reminds me of what we hear from David all the time–just do your work, work that fills you with passion, and the rest will fall into place.

    And now I must go swim laps with my husband (poor me!). Wish you and David could join me in the pool instead of your having to sit in a room listening to people talk ;=)

    Look forward to reading your responses later today. Thanks again for being with us.


    P.S. Congrats on Catalina counting to three! A big accomplishment for such a little one.

  15. Greetings Alessandra,

    We see a lot of interesting work here on burn, some of which is based on “reality” (actual events taking place)…as in more traditional documentary photography/photojournalism and some of which is staged for the purposes of creating a “fictional” essay. I realize there is a fine line between the two.

    I’d like to hear your comments on this..how “reality” and “fiction” play into your work. If you have a preference and why…if if you think there is a difference between the two types of work. Whatever you want to say on this subject! Thank you.

  16. Alessandra:

    just a brief question:

    While your photography is magisterial and magical (in the deepest sense of life and alchemy), many may not know that you are also a filmmaker. Both my wife Marina (also a photographer and filmmaker) loved the clips of your film about that you showed at David’s loft in October when we were there. The film of Guille and Belinda was as insightful, funny, and beautiful as the films of Lucrecia Martel….

    As both of us also consider films a big part of what we do, we would love if you spoke to the audience about any future plans for this and future film/video work and your relationship to the moving image. Your films are as important, for us, as your brilliant books…

    All the best


  17. ALL…

    our meeting just ended and Alessandra and the whole bunch are going out for a cold beer..we need one after 4 days of serious planning….Alessandra has assured me that she will be back on a bit later from her hotel to answer more of your questions…

    cheers, david

  18. I have a question for you, Alessandra: What are the questions that a photographer should ask his/herself before tackling a subject of some duration. I do mean of course, a self-assigned subject, and for an emerging photographer.

    Is it important to know what you intend to do with it, after it’s done and edited? for example.

    related to this, I would like to know if it’s rather not uncommon to start on a subject, then to give up on it, like something fizzled out, or one realizes one needs to know much more about it, before approaching with a camera.

    Thanks, Alessandra, and a great evening to you.

  19. Alessandra,
    There is nothing wrong with art. I am an artist. My concern is related to documentary photography, art, and ethics. For example, your work “On the Sixth Day” focuses on animals and I think it’s great to show/sell this as art. I am just a bit uneasy about selling intimate photos of people as art. It is something I am debating with my own work, because many of my photos focus on people, often taken unexpectedly. For example, I have quite a few street photos of homeless people. Personally, I would not want to exploit these images as art…

    I guess this a debate/topic that goes around and around, but I thought perhaps you would have some thoughts/reflections..thanks

  20. marcin luczkowski

    Mrs. Alessandra,

    I would like to ask one more question: Your “On the Sixth Day” and “The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of their Dreams” looks like a very considered series of photos. It was your purpose at the beggining? Before you started taking pictures or it was something what you have found during editing with hundreds of photos on your desk?
    I would like to know how you work. Like I said before, you photos are so inteligent and full of meanings.

    And how and when you found your own photography? Do you remember any moment in your photographic life when you said yourself “this is the way I want speak”

  21. Alessandra;

    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Children feature heavily in your work. Is this a concious decision, or is this just how your work has evolved? One technical question, sorry! :-) What did you choose to mostly use square format and what advantage do you feel it gives you?

    Thank you

  22. ALL…

    well yes, that one beer did turn into , hmmmmm, more than one..Alessandra is traveling today , but she did tell me that she would try to get back to all of you from the airport and again when home in New York….

    for sure, she will answer your questions….

    i am flying today as well, so back to you tomorrow morning U.S. east coast time…

  23. Hello again Alessandra,

    The book series i mentioned to you Thursday night was called ‘Griffin and Sabine’.

    When you get a chance to check the series out, please drop me a note letting me know what you think.

    Best Wishes,


  24. A civilian-mass audience


    Focus BURNIANS…focus…MR.HARVEY is on the road again !
    Let’s send some good energia …
    and good energia to all of you who are on the air,road, sea…Universe.


  25. Alessandra,

    wow, I had never seen your work before and i love your works point of view. I can really relate to what you said about just working on the work instead of confusing it with thinking about how it will be used or perceived editorially or if its marketable. At the moment I am torn between the two. Being an artist and just making it all about the work and trying to make a living or wondering how I can make a living from it. Often even here on Burn there are debates about whether work is documentary/editorial or art as if they need to be one or the other. I love to hear any views you might have on that.

    I can also relate to what Patricia said about your work being in your own backyard, as my personal work on Brooklyn is also in my own backyard and I am very close to the work but I struggle with weather the technique I am using for the work is something someone would hire me for. But Maybe this work should just be about the work like you said and once I remove the other stuff the work will flow even better.

    My best, Valery

  26. back in NY, have a few minutes before baby gets up. Yes, Bob, I have plans to edit all the video material I have, it’ about 40 hours, since the girls were 10 years old. I imagine an hour long film. I’ve edited small concise pieces i show at lectures etc, but have not found the time to really think it through, shape it, edit,,hopeful this year I will.
    Thank you, Joe for the info.
    About exploitation, art or anything else in life….a long as you’re not hurting anyone or anything why torture yourself? if it’s about paying attention, trying to figure out some sense out of every and other day it can’t do harm, just do the work, show the work, and live it.

  27. Alessandra,

    when you look at a aspiring photographer’s work, what do you try to find, what would you like to see…and what would be your advice to them for the future?



  28. “About exploitation, art or anything else in life….a long as you’re not hurting anyone or anything why torture yourself? if it’s about paying attention, trying to figure out some sense out of every and other day it can’t do harm, just do the work, show the work, and live it.”

    Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? Is it hurting someone? You seem to be saying to just not worry about whether you are exploiting someone. Just do the work.

  29. JIM…

    how in the world did you interpret what Alessandra said and twist it around to what she did not say??…she said exactly the opposite of what you imply…please re-read…then read again…then apologize…

  30. Jim, my comment was in reference to David Bachers’. Paying attention to the homeless people he says he photographs can’t be a bad thing. It’s not paying attention that hurts. If they are sold in an art gallery and he feels guilty profiting from this, he is free to donate the money to a homeless foundation or to the same people he photographed, or he can choose not to sell them at all. That’s up to him.
    The work I did with Guillermina and Belinda is intimate.It arose out of complete joy and amazement of being with and knowing them, and I’m happy to share it and that it’s part of the world and of other peoples’ lives, because it would all be meaningless and we would be so alone if we kept everything to ourselves.
    To suggest they are exploited would be condescending towards them, and wouldn’t give credit to their very very free will. If intimacy wasn’t shared in this life, what’s the point? And it’s up to each of us to recognize if it’s true.
    Have to go and catch up to one months worth of work, so I ‘ll say goodbye now. xxxxxxx

  31. A civilian-mass audience

    Just a simple THANK YOU.

    Respect BURNIANS…respect …is one value worth living for…:)))

  32. Alessanda! :))

    thanks so much…i cant wait!……as soon as the 40 hrs are edited and shaped, count us IN for a screening! :)))…we loved the edits you showed us…next time Marina and I get down to NYC to visit, and if David’s in town, maybe we can all meet for a bite…would love to talk film too with you ))…


    all the best

  33. P.S.

    Alessandro, when you finalize the film, please consider screening it at HotDocs…one of the world’s greatest documentary film festivals, here in Toronto. This year, Antoine screened his film about his work in Tokyo there…and if you need another, there is also the Toronto Moving Image Festival, which also screens brilliant documentary work…our friend, mike hoolboom, was given the lifetime achievement award in film this year at the festival…

    anyway, if you need any info/details, please feel free to drop me a line…David has my email…

    cant wait to see the film…


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