In the studio: Talisa Lallai

Step inside the studio of Düsseldorf-based photographer Talisa Lallai, who is part of our current exhibition Waldmeister. Lallai lays out the parameters she sets herself to work in, the place that left the deepest impression on her and the mesmerising installations she goes about creating in her exhibitions.


Talisa Lallai 📸 Neven Allgeier


SSM: The jungle or the ocean?

TL: In my work I’d say the jungle, in real life definitely the ocean.


The artist's exhibition Post Tropical at Museum Kurhaus Kleve, 2019


SSM: When did you buy or receive your first camera?

TL: My first camera was the Nikon F2 from 1971. I got it from my father after I told him, that I’m interested in photography and it is the camera I still use today most of the time.


The artist at Lago d'Iseo, Italy


SSM: Your photographs often evoke nostalgia, escapism and adventure. Which country or location would you say has left the deepest impression on you?

TL: Due to my roots the country I am most connected to is Italy. I spent all my childhood summer holidays in Calabria and Sardinia, places of retreat where the holidays felt like long daydreams. During my studies it was very important for me to visit my perceived home towns and the rest of Italy independently from my family to make my own picture.


Talisa Lallai Lamour toujours, 2017 


SSM: Do you work sequentially or in series?

TL: All the works function individually but are part of a big series, which in my cosmos belong together. Sometimes a series of photographs arise from a specific journey, sometimes it is a topic that I’m interested in and on which I work on for several years.


Talisa Lallai Daydreams, Trenitalia, 2017


SSM: Analog or digital?

TL: Analog photography, digital printing.


Talisa Lallai Sella del Diavolo, Cagliari, 2022


SSM: What kind of parameters do you set yourself to work in?

TL: I decided to release my reproducible photographs in editions of 5, because I like the idea that people can select and combine my works the way they want to and create installations which are unique. Also I struggle to give away unique pieces because a lot of my works are very personal to me. Giving them away without having the possibility to use them again feels like giving away a part of me. I mostly take 2 or 3 shots of a subject, but in the end the best shot is almost always the first.


Talisa Lallai Ciao, 2019 


SSM: Do you have a favourite photographer and if so why?

TL: My absolute favourite photographer is Luigi Ghirri. The way his photographs capture situations and atmospheres by focussing on the essentials, touches me each time anew.


Luigi Ghirri Capri, 1981


SSM: You often have mesmerising installations and environments in your exhibitions alongside the photographs. How did this come about?

TL: For me, photography is not just a visual medium, but a physical and plastic form of expression, with which I want to create impressions and atmospheres in a space. I want visitors to go through an exhibition and be thrown in a journey they maybe know from their own memory or imagination.


The artist's exhibition Bon Voyage at Ludwig Forum Aachen, 2020 


SSM: Can you tell us something we don't know about you?

TL: I have Misophonia. I freak out when I hear people breath loudly or slurp or swallow. Also the sound of ticking clocks and other repetitive noises drive me crazy.


Talisa Lallai Roma, 2018


SSM: Is there an iconic photograph from art history that best describes your personality?

TL: David Hockney Yves-Marie Asleep, 1974