Pastel Melancholy with Violeta Parisi

Violeta Parisi is a nineteen-year-old photographer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She became interested in photography when she was quite young, which prompted her to begin taking photography courses and purchase her first camera. Parisi explains that after getting a handle on digital photography, she shifted her gaze to film photography. By using a variety of different analog cameras, she finally came upon one that she felt comfortable with. She now shoots with a combination of digital and film, helping her provide different perspectives and styles to similar scenes.

This series is called “La Lagrima”, which translates to “The Tear” in English. In regards to the series, Parisi says her “idea was to submerge the atmosphere in pastel colour and depict a girl who seems nice, happy, living la vie en rose, but really, she’s in pain. Like many teenage girls, she feels a little bit lost some times, and to demonstrate that, Parisi overlays subtitles on her photos.

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In order to convey the conflicting emotions of her subject, Parisi aptly uses lyrics from Radiohead’s High and Dry to caption the first photograph of the series. By using lyrics to accompany her photo series, Parisi adds an interesting layer to her photography, as viewers may be prone to digesting the image along with their own personal connection to the iconic Radiohead song.


The use of lyrics is also a pertinant nod to teenagehood in general, as it’s all too common for teens to recoil into the comfort of music, often a specific song or album, during difficult times.

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Parisi tells us that she began to experiment with the use of bold colours in her photos, which has since become a staple element in her personal style.

Symbolism is another key element in her style – which is evident here, as the symbol for the female sex hangs just beneath the hand holding the cigarette – which could be read either as a mere fashion statement, or as a representation of female agency.

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Here we see another powerful symbol and the namesake for her series, the tear. The subject is so broken up that her sadness has turned to exhaustion. The wax tear symbolizes the inability to cry. The use of colour here adds extra attention to the tear, as the cool blue hue stands out among the warm pink, red and orange tones of the shirt, the lipstick, and the hair. Perhaps Parisi is using a visual contrast to invoke a narrative or thematic one – possibly the complexities and the ups and downs of being a teenager.

Or perhaps the contrast of warm and cool is meant to represent the sensual versus the sorrow that is present in the series. Although there is undoubtedly a warm, romantic theme among the photos, the cool blue of the tear serves as a reminder of the sadness that exists otherwise hidden under the model’s collected exterior.


 The tear can also be understood as makeup itself, and the caption in this particular photo lends itself well to this interpretation. Makeup is often understood as a form of self-expression, but also as a method of covering up, or altering oneself – a way of hiding. In a way, the symbolic tear emphasizes the former while subverting the latter, and plays dually into the context of the photos by adding a layer of sexuality, but also acting as a self-expressive tool to demonstrate vulnerability and inner turmoil.

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To see more of Parisi’s work, you can find her on both Instagram and Tumblr.



Kira is an avid enthusiast of photography, poetry and the arts in general. She holds a degree in Communications and English Literature at the University of Ottawa.

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