For as long as I can remember I have had an urge to capture a situation, a movement, a beautiful light, an expression, a moment. My early ideals of beauty were shaped by paintings throughout art history, movies, and fashion magazines photographs. Those images were mythical, heroic, beautiful and powerful. Strong female icons through time have been my muses, and this has followed me throughout my career as a photographer.
I happened upon fashion photography as an aspiring photographer in New York in the late 1990s. It allowed me not only to capture an image but also to explore dreams and fantasies. Working with other creative talents, I could realize ideas that I had in my head.
My photographic style is feminine; the women I portray are sensual and timeless. I try to find both their strength and their fragility. It’s that duality that inspires and drives my vision. I think of my photography as a form of visual escapism – small vignettes and narrative excerpts, where the dynamic lies in capturing the moments ‘in-between’.
Photography has been my vehicle, one I have driven, one that has driven me, for a quarter-century. Its unique ability to steal time affords me the clement role of the narrator. Through the stories I tell, I’m able to move between past, present and future.
WHY I LOVE IT, by Aurélie
I don’t remember how or when I met Helena Palazzi, but I’ll always remember how genuine and friendly she was. When you think of the fashion world, I wouldn’t say “genuine” and “friendly” are the first adjectives that come to mind! And yet, there she was, radiating warmth and empathy.
When she told me she was half Swedish half Italian, I wasn’t surprised. She is the perfect mix of Scandinavian rigor and Southern joie de vivre. And besides loving her as a person, I love her work! I love that her models are elegant and strong. No waif here! These women are self-confident and in full power of their seduction.
Her images are timeless. The clothes might be right off the runway or from 10 years ago, it doesn’t matter: they are not the focus – the woman is. Helena photographs as only a woman can do: her women are never objectified, they are celebrated. I feel the fashion world and world at large need more beautiful and empowering images of women.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
A transplant from Sweden now living in the Hudson Valley, Helena Palazzi began her journey into photography as a teen. Growing up in the 1980s, she carried around a secondhand film camera and spent hours in a hand-me-down black and white darkroom set up in her family garage.
In 1993 her journey took her to her father’s homeland, Italy. With other young photographers, she founded a studio and enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia, Umbria. Less than two years later, she had her first solo exhibition. Many more would follow over the next few years, featuring her photography along with her mixed media work.
She landed in New York in 1998, set on pursuing a career in commercial photography. But fashion and beauty imagery drew her in and she quickly switched gears. Her seductive and refined images got her noticed and she started to work with some of the world’s most renowned clients and creatives.
Helena’s work draws from her Scandinavian and Southern European roots. Her style is timeless, elegant and sprinkled with retro references. Her photos appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet; well-known tropes merge; and past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. Applying a poetic and often cinematic visual language, she seduces the viewer into a quest to find poetic meaning in everyday life.
Since 2019 Helena has made Kingston, NY, her home. There she opened a studio, Yellow House Production, where she welcomes her New York business and local clients. She is currently engaged in a diverse lineup of projects, from fashion editorial to beauty shoots, and high-end product photography, to portraits and fine art.