Interview with Cristina Cianci

I’d been in New York for three days already but had yet to adjust to the heat and humidity of the East coast. The city has a way of distracting you from that though, there is always so much to see and NoLIta (North of Little Italy), where I was meeting Cristina, was no exception. Though the forecast had promised a stormy afternoon for our interview, there was nothing but white clouds against the blue sky above us in the backyard of Greecologies. Cristina was welcomed by one of the employees as though an old friend, “I’ve been here four times in the last five days,” she admits to me under her breath. “I didn’t come yesterday and I’ve been thinking about their iced coffee’s all day,” she says taking her first sip. 

As we’re sitting down Cristina points up to one of the neighbouring brick buildings to our left. “That’s where my great grandma lived and where my grandpa was raised. It’s where I took the portraits of her in her kitchen. This was their neighbourhood,” a deep fondness in her voice.  “I like to update my grandpa on the area still. Let him know what’s new, he was pretty excited when I told him about this place.” She said gesturing to this backyard oasis. It was pretty amazing, somehow this garden did the impossible feat of keeping out the noise of New York. It also had an undeniable charm with its ivy covered walls and fairy lights dotted around above us. 

Image above taken above by Cristina Cianci 

Image above taken above by Cristina Cianci 

Cristina had just come from producing her first solo photoshoot for Town & Country Magazine. As the Associate Photo Editor at the lifestyle magazine, her typical day consists of communicating and coordinating with all the T&C editors, discussing their pages and the direction they would like to go in, in terms of art. Research is also a big part of her daily tasks as well as producing the still life openers and in-house photo shoots for each issue.

For her, there is still something special about printed magazines. “Everything and anything today can take a photo but there is something romantic and of another time about print photographs and equally film cameras. I hope to see that the future of print remains steady and strong, there seems to have been a rebirth in recent years. I look at print as the underdog to your modern day tablet, smart phone etc. At the end of the day that is all fine and convenient but, there isn't anything like holding a portfolio in your hands.”

It’s one of the reasons that she still only shoots with film cameras, “There’s a certain quality that you can only get when you shoot with film.” Shooting with either her old Minolta or disposable cameras, Cristina’s images hold a jumble of emotions that are straightforward yet fleeting -fleeting moments, looks and colours that jump out at you and make you take notice. All characteristics that are impart due to the tools she chooses to use and her unmistakable eye for capturing these moments.

Images above taken by Cristina Cianci

“The magazine that's been really inspiring me personally, lately is Darling Magazine. It sends a great message to young women today. Professionally, I enjoy Harper's Bazaar, W and I still even love flipping through Teen Vogue!” Cristina also draws inspiration from old music such as Frank Sinatra, or her fashion icons, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and the Olsen twins, she also gets inspiration from New York. “There’s no other place to be. It’s inspiring, motivating, charming, chaotic, romantic, tough, inviting, eclectic, what more could you want from a city?”

Growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey, New York was always a bus, train or ferry ride away. And when it was time to leave the nest, Cristina applied and was accepted at The School of Visual Arts to complete a BFA in Photography. In her senior year she interned at Seventeen Magazine and Marie Claire in the photo department. Since graduating Cristina has worked at JCK Magazine and now Town & Country. 

To follow Cristina Cianci’s story you can visit her site or see her latest work at Town & Country Magazine.

Interview by Ariana Ruth and portraits of Cristina by Mel Springfield for In Clover Magazine,

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