Sometime ago, I was told that my passion for taking photographs was hiding some sort of original skill. I have been taking photographs for as long as I can remember and still recall the shutter sound of my first camera that I owned as a little girl. I’m pretty sure that if I look deep enough in my storage boxes I’ll be able to find it.
Until my early twenties, I photographed a vast number of people, assembling a ‘catalogue’ of portraits and personalities. Then, for reasons unknown, I stopped taking photographs. I enrolled at the University of Florence and started studying philosophy. I encountered the thoughts of many masters and explored the history of ideas in an attempt to find my own. I started teaching and for a few decades have been working with autistic children. The children have gifted me the opportunity to overlook prejudice and embrace diversity. Through them and over time, I learnt to understand body language, to look inside the other without fear and I have learnt the real meaning of empathy towards what I am unfamiliar with or do not understand. But most of all, I learnt to predict movements and moods, like staring at the clouds breaking apart during a storm in spring.
I soon picked up the camera again. This time I was more conscious with a stronger desire to take pictures. I undertook a digital photography course, but immediately realised my passion needed more knowledge. I became an avid reader in the history of photography and its relevance in the present day, and travelled the country to visit photography exhibitions where I would cross paths with a plethora of people. Each person I encountered inspired me with trust, knowledge, awareness and passion. A lot of the people I met were fascinated by my way of taking photographs: some called it ‘suspended’, others ‘metaphysical’. The reality is that my photographs have opened many doors for me and provide me with the opportunity to enter realms I never dreamt I could access.
When I started working at a night club, I began photographing rock bands and famous musicians. I soon developed an understanding of how light functions in relation to body movements. I learnt to see through the crowds: the pushing, the confusion and the noise. I will cherish that time forever for it enabled me to take back part of a passion that I believed had been put to sleep.
After welcoming back traits of my personality that I thought I had lost, I discovered something ‘new’ in me, despite all the conflicting responsibilities, roles, needs and commitments of adulthood. From that moment on I started photographing with sincerity and with a plan, fearlessly bringing both my mind and heart into each and every shot and tenaciously observing the world around me.
And so, I started playing with the grammar of photography to tell my story – and my life has changed.