Interview with Elena Braghieri by Alessandro Berga

She’s 37 and blonde, with a degree in Mathematics graduate and a very serious career in the insurance business. With her inseparable Canon she captures instances and the beauty of details. Her favorite brands are Paula Cademartori, Sara Battaglia, Charles Philip Shangai and Au Jour Le Jour. In her opinion, a strong personality is worthy of a shot more than a good pair of shoes (so a subject with a strong personality wearing a good pair of shoes is the best subject ever). Posed portraits are not her cup of tea. She prefers taking candid fashion shots than making people stop in the middle of the street, face the traffic and smile at the camera.

Elena Braghieri on Instagram: “I’m blonde and have a university degree in math.” Can you clarify?

I still laugh every time I see the puzzled looks I get when people find out I have a degree in mathematics. Maybe it’s because a lot of people relate mathematicians to Matt Damon’s character in “Good Will Hunting:” all brains and no style. And yet, the contrast between the rationality of my studies and my creative soul is what I most love about myself. I have a solid background that 12 years ago landed me a job in the insurance sector. At the same time, however, I was (and still am) nurturing a passion for fashion and images, which now takes up almost all of my free time.

Poetry is the music of mathematics. Indeed, there is a precise structure. Is there mathematics in photography?

Mathematics does exist in photography, in the geometry of the compositions, in the lines that intersect in interesting ways if the eye knows how to capture them. But mathematics isn’t just about rigor and structure; it’s also about creativity driven by logic. It is attention to detail, and details in mathematics can make all the difference. Maybe it’s this awareness that most emerges from my images, whether it’s a streetstyle shot or an image of daily life. I have an almost maniacal attention to the details that elude the eyes of most people.

What led you to choose a career as a fashion photographer? Catching Instants?

It happened by chance, six years ago. I owe my love for photography to my father, who, when I was just a little girl, taught me how to hold a camera. One Sunday, as I was walking around Milan with my reflex, I passed by La Permanente museum and noticed a group of people wearing particularly interesting clothes. I stopped in a corner and started taking pictures of them, without knowing that there are people who actually do this for a living. From there I started my blog, Catching Instants. At the time, there were only a handful of streetstyle blogs. Maybe my fortune was precisely that. I immediately started to pursue this area of photography. I soon also started collaborating with various publications: Vanity Fair, Vogue Japan, Grazia… Then I began working as a permanent contributor to an important international photo agency. At the same time, I also started exploring backstage photography, where the true ability is knowing how to tell a story (of a fashion photoshoot) through images.
These are all activities I’m continuing to pursue in conjunction with my job in the insurance sector. It’s a good escape, I have to admit, but as I always say: “Some people take a vacation to go skiing, I take it to go to fashion week!”

Can you tell us about your collaboration with Grazia? What have you learned? What is a typical day like in the life of Elena?

My collaboration with Grazia stems from my passion for photography. I was an “early adopter” of Instagram, which gives me a great platform to tell my story every day through images, even when I don’t have my reflex with me.
In the fall of 2011, Grazia had an idea that I think is genius: find young women who, through their style and personality, can in some way influence the readers of by expressing their point of view through a Instagram account.

I was fortunate enough to be one of those young women. Since October 2011 I have been sharing my daily life on my profile elena_grazia_it. A life made up of my biggest passions: fashion and photography, but also food, flowers, sunsets and moments of sadness…
The most important thing I’ve learned over the years is that being yourself pays. My images chronicle my daily life as an office worker, the dinners I make for myself when I get home late from the office, the shopping I do when I want to spoil myself. This is what my followers want to see; they want to be able to identify with me. I receive tons of emails from girls who tell me that my images of a simple and positive life have helped them value themselves and see beauty even in the little things. I have a daily dialogue with many of them. Some of them consider me a sort of a personal shopper and send me photos from dressing rooms to ask for my advice. Isn’t that a wonderful feeling?

What does the MALO woman represent to you? 

She’s a woman who loves herself; she’s simple and elegant. She enjoys taking care of herself and doesn’t need to overdress to feel beautiful. One of the looks from the SS14 collection that I especially love is a light, oversized cashmere sweater with a wide neck that you can wear simply with a pair of jeans or a lightweight skirt. The luxury of simplicity.

What MALO pieces would you choose to dress your mother, your father and your boyfriend? 

My mother is a beautiful woman who loves to dress very simply. For her I’d choose a twin set in coral tones to complement her fair complexion and blond hair and a pair of cigarette pants (she’s lucky enough to still be quite slim. I’d kill to have her body at her age!)
For my father, a nice blue cardigan and a pair of classic pants.
And for my boyfriend, without a doubt, one of those chunky, braided turtlenecks in light blue, like the color of his eyes.

Is there anything you still want to achieve in your career so you can say: “I made it”?

I doubt you’ll ever hear me say “I made it.” I get bored very easily and I feel as if I’m constantly evolving. For instance, I started a streetstyle blog five years ago, but lately I’ve been paying more attention to my Instagram account and the jobs I do for the agency. In the meantime, my perspective has also changed. I used to be behind the lens and now, sometimes, I’m the subject of other photographers. Saying “I made it” marks an arrival that I don’t necessarily want to reach. I’d rather open the doors to new adventures and new forms of expression and enjoy the small pleasures in life that feed my desire to move forward and evolve.

Your favorite blonde?

My mom. Does that count as an answer?

Alessandro Berga

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