Shhh: Southern high hidden histories
Federica Danzi, born in 1987, lives in Matera and is a special ed teacher. In her free time he cultivates her greatest passion: photography. In life she has always felt like a fish living in a too acidic pH, she often tries to escape from too much noise to find peace in nature or in the people she loves
Federica, your passion for photography comes from your family. But when did the spark go off and you decided to make it your own language?
I live photography only as a mean, a mean that allows me to be able to externalize what I am and what I want to communicate. I have always liked to photograph and that’s it, with the same kind of spontaneity approach you have at a certain age when you learn to ride a bike. When I was a child, my mother, wherever we went, took photos, indirectly transmitting this love for photography to me. It all began in 2006, when I was given my first digital camera as a gift. I have not attended courses or schools of photography, my passion has evolved into study in the sense of “learning by experience” and I’m still continuing to study it.
Are your works often set in Basilicata? Can you tell us what kind of relationship you have with this land?
Basilicata is a land of sun mixed with clay, semi-arid, barren and at the same time fertile, with breath-taking landscapes and a large flow of young people who emigrate to study and work, with the aim of approaching the fields of the labour market that are considered more capable of absorbing highly trained human capital. Like many of my peers, I left Basilicata for four years, for work reasons, moved by hope, in search of a dreamed and hoped place, somewhere else, with the idea that “somewhere else” is always a better place. In the end I’ve strengthened my Lucanian identity. I remember that in those years, I was looking for a familiar inflection, an accent. I was looking for landscapes in front of tall buildings, I had a sense of claustrophobia and melancholy, only later in time I realized that I was missing my land and my loved ones. I consider myself privileged and brave, as being able to do the work I love in my homeland is a great privilege, but it also takes courage to stay.
I loved your portraits, especially the female ones. A transversality of women photographed in a new way compared to the images we are used to observe when we look at works set in South Italy. Where do your influences come from? Who are these women?
The subjects of my photos are mostly people close to me or women who attracted me to the point of wanting to take a piece of them and illustrate it. When I portray someone, I always hope to be able to come up with an image that, despite its not total naturalness state (in the sense of real life), can be a mirror for the subject himself, something in which he can recognize himself, giving me the possibility of discovering unknown sides of me. I like to think that I’m able to capture the intimate side of a person. To be able to see it and then show it to those who do not have this possibility. The interaction is never the same, but it changes according to the person in front of me. The greatest satisfaction is the possibility of establishing very deep relationships with the people you photograph, with whom you often end up remaining friends.
Who are the photographers who have inspired you the most in recent years for your work?
Among my favorites: Alec Soth, Rinko Kawauchi, Stephen Shore, Larry Sultan, Ren Hang, Andrea Modica, Paolo Roversi, I love the work of Ketrin Koenning and Sarker Protick (Astres) and many others, there are actually a ton of them.
What influences your creativity? Where do the aesthetic and conceptual influences of your images come from?
I loved to draw before taking pictures and the process of creating a photograph is for me almost identical to that of a painting. The images that I often produce seem like memories, dreams, and as such for me they must be as free as possible of precise spatial-temporal connotations.
My inspirations are everywhere: in movies, in children’s books, in travels, in music, in paintings, in childhood memories but above all in the stories of the people I meet. I am extremely convinced that creativity does not necessarily reside in creating or inventing something out of nothing, rather in looking at things with a different eye, an original point of view and trying to give it back to the viewer. An example is the famous shot by Luigi Ghirri which portrays Enrico Berlinguer from behind. The photograph in question captures the “body” of the crowd and not the face of the leader, there is all the emotion and humanity of a man who observes a “fantastic” reality and also the resistance of the man alone in front of the world.