We were drinking a beer, maybe two or three… actually, it was nine.
He told me that he could somehow see himself in these images, even though maybe he couldn’t see everything I saw, or he saw it differently. Yet his words while virtually flicking through the pages were honest. He said: “I think the project works because it talks about solitude, weakness and insecurity. And you know what drives me crazy? The fact that talking about this comes so natural to you, that even when it seems banal, it works, and perhaps this is the very same reason why it does.”
I wasn’t expecting such empathy. I wasn’t expecting a photographic project to give me the chance to express myself truly and create conversations that today are really coming as a helping hand. On the contrary, I thought that by showing the project I was going to expose myself too much. Sometimes looking at some of these images makes me feel uncomfortable, it really does, but the truth is that, even if romanticised by my unstoppable need for beauty, they show what I’ve felt during the three months in which I worked on When Strawberries Will Grow on Trees, I Will Kiss U. Three months in which I had to stop and look inside myself to find a combination of insecurity and poetry, longing and lust; showing a side of my character, and perhaps that of many men of our generation, which is weak and unable to fulfil the needs and goals set by ourselves and by contemporary society.
My friend, while drinking what might have been the fourth beer, said: “When I look at your images I feel like I’m not alone, because through them I accept a reality which, very stupidly, we are unable to show and accept without being labelled, labelled by other people that perhaps have our same exact fears.”
I have been alone for a while. And I was alone even though my phone kept giving signs of life, a non-stop incoming of “likes” and messages, as part of an easily avoidable flow of hypocrisy generated by our actual fear of being alone… This thought makes me smile, as we often say: social networks were made to connect us but, actually, they often do the opposite. One day, while I was looking for nothing in a continuous loop of images on Instagram, I receive a message from an acquaintance: “Hey Nic, how are you? I saw you recently did an exhibition… I bet you are getting so lucky lately: you are so cool, always going places, playing the artist!”
Right… Others have such a bizarre perception of us, probably guided by false perceptions we want others to have of us. And I replied: “Haha right!” When actually what I really wanted to say was: “Hell no! I am so alone, I feel like shit”. That message broke me (at least for 5 minutes), so much that I had to put my phone away. The perception others have of us, admiring something or someone they don’t really know, making completely wrong assumptions just because social perception expects that from us… What will be left of us? A mere illusion of something we are not, a generation forged on the appearance of something that actually isn’t. I don’t want to be like this.
And this perception that others have of us doesn’t help, but rather increases our insecurities and delve deeper, as if it was looking for something, digging for some sort of precious oil, yet we are aware that this will only lead to the creation of our own cave. It is for this reason that, from what I know, we are always looking for someone else, a better half, an “Other”, a hypothetical “you” made for redeeming and erasing our fears and our incapacity of perceiving the beauty around us. But somewhere along the line, we realise that this “you” doesn’t exist. And the weight of the Self becomes too heavy.
What a weight.
Back to the project. Right, I left off saying that I was alone… I spent my days going from my bed to the kitchen, and sometimes to the bathroom. I became my own flatmate and I tried to make some time to live with myself, finding the perfect equation that could work with my Self and my habitat. I didn’t feel like doing anything.I often found myself lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, receiving notifications on my phone, which were telling me how many things other people were doing, how life seemed so beautiful. And I was helplessly staring at the ceiling, without being able to make any decision, without being able to do anything productive.
One day a girl texted me: “Hey, how are you? What are you doing?”
What was I doing??? Could I ever text back: “Nothing, I feel like shit and I am lying naked on the bed while eating some pasta with tomato sauce, which stained the bed sheets too, but who cares… and right now I was simply here, doing nothing.”
No, that couldn’t be the answer, and so I said: “Nothing much, I am taking some photographs for a personal project…”
“Oh cool, I want to see them then!
Shit! At that point, I had to do it… I gathered some things, arranged them somehow and took a picture. I put it on the computer and sent it to her. “Beautiful. Send me more when you have them.”And, in the meantime, I also realised I had to wash the bed sheets…
So the photographs grew in number, as I started to feel pleasure in taking them – it made me feel better. And there I was: I found that “you”, that someone who was supporting me and did it with nothing but mere curiosity, probably without even realising it, she was taking me out of myself
A mixture of feelings in pictures, which, however, wouldn’t work on their own. They needed something else, some sort of second voice. That is why I wrote to you, without knowing who you are or whether you exist in more than one living person. “You” being my perception of wellbeing and unease, “you” being the one that I miss, the one that I want. Small notes of everyday life, small notes of perception while I stare at the ceiling or I make some pasta. I have never really written something, I was always told I wasn’t good enough. But this time I felt the need to do it as if photography was not going to be enough. One should never say no to one’s instinct.
What you are holding in your hands now is a book I wish will make everybody ponder, but it also is what I am today, what I was yesterday and perhaps what I will be tomorrow.
|Release Place||Brusino Arsizio, Switzerland|
|Topics||Erotism, Food, Still Life|
|Methods||Poetry, Still Life Photography|
|Dimensions||24.0 × 29.6 cm|