A female-driven project narrating local paths of social innovation through photographic lenses. Maria Vittoria Trovato and Martina Della Valle, two professional photographers with different visual languages - documentary and conceptual respectively - basing their research and works on a visibility that testifies reality and emotions of places and people living with their families In the Sicilian Facilities of Caritas Italiana in Marina di Acate and Pachino. These people and their everyday life are here depicted as they represent a necessary workforce for the Hyblean agricultural sector. All they wish is to connect with our territory in a sense of identity and solidarity. Their desire is to feel part of a community where social responsibility represents the awareness of a common good. Two exhibitions will take place in Ragusa Ibla, at the San Vincenzo Ferreri Auditorium, from July the 23rd to the 25th, during the opening days of the Festival. The event will have a dedicated panel, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and the National Association of Journalists, and will be attended by the authors and supporters of the projects.
The Black Horseman
In the biblical prophecy The Black Horseman is the Third of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He represents Famine and his coming foretells the end of days. Nowadays, a year after the outbreak of the pandemic, living in times of political, social and economic upheaval, as violence and bloodshed are raging in all corners of the world, the biblical prophecy of ‘The End of Days’ takes on new interpretations. It appears that an apocalyptic future awaits our post capitalist societies. Taking the forms of a photographic novel, ‘The Black Horseman’ project embraces that prophecy as the centerpiece around which its stories unfold. These images of the somber present day echo a feeling of déjà vu, as we steal a glance over our shoulder at a world that is slowly becoming unrecognizable. Hidden behind these apocalyptic scenarios, in which desires seem to give way to resignation, photography represents the opportunity to imagine the future.
Yaakov Israel (Jerusalem, 1974) teaches photography at some of the most prominent art schools and colleges in Israel. His photographs are part of the Collections of The Knesset, Haifa Museum of Art, The Open Museum of Photography at Tel-Hai, Ashdod Art Museum and Private Collections.
Gardeners of Desire
Desire always represents the central theme of his artistic production. The selected project includes different forms of desire represented by the contradictions that the consumer society feeds in everyday life. Well aware of the fascinating and contradicting relationship between irrationality and the need for control, his project represents a visual study whose leitmotif is the desire for freedom. ‘Eros, for example, drives us to get to know something outside ourselves, to enter the space between us and the unknown, of which photography may capture the light. In the makeable world with its consumer society feeding our desires, appearance comes first.’ In line with it, the photographs are led by an outward planning ability representing the essence of two contradictory desires, instinct and rationality.
Frijke Coumans (Netherlands, 1995) is an emerging artist who uses photography in a visually disruptive and sensual way to represent her interest in behaviors and social sciences. Her work has appeared in numerous exhibitions and self-published books.
The leaves will fall from the sky
The title of this project comes from the saying ‘El que nace para tamal del cielo le caen las hojas’, which expresses a deference to destiny deeply endemic to both Cuban and Russian cultures. Well aware of the culture’s fatalism, the artist displays the possible alternatives to change Cuban relationship to fate: ‘When I traveled to Cuba for the first time in 2012 I was struck by an uncanny sense of recognition, even though the tropical island bore little visual resemblance to the mostly grim setting of my Russian childhood.’ In 2017, the artist fulfills her desire to come back to Cuba and explores the entire island as well as the places fascinating her the most for two years. Cuba - where everything revolved around music, lightheartedness and poetry- seemed completely different from her memories. Besides, the situation in Cuba today has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the tightening up of the sanctions imposed by the United States over the last two years.
Jenia Fridlyand (Moscow, 1975) is a photographer and educator, living her life between New York and the Hudson Valley. She studied photography at Centre Iris and Université Paris VIII, and holds an MFA from the University of Hartford’s International Limited-Residency program. She co-founded the ‘Image Threads Collective’ which gathers artists, educators and bookmakers from all over the world to exchange ideas as well as experiences on photobooks. She is represented by Galerie Wouter van Leuween, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Simon Van Geel
Megalomania - Delusions of Grandeur
At the beginning of 2000 in Spain, the future looked bright and full of promise. Construction plans were made for the built-up of new cities, hotels, resorts, etc. Notably, the title of the project itself refers to the tendency of always wanting more. ‘This is a sad tale of the remains of the property boom and the consequences of the financial crisis of 2008. The focus of the project lays primarily on the concrete skeletons that remain in the landscape as scars of the crisis. These skeletons have been left behind in the landscape and are no longer reused, not to speak on how many substances have been lost. There is no recuperation, instead, investments are still being made in new constructions nowadays which is a loss of land (substances) and therefore not ecological.’
Simon Van Geel (Belgium, 1993) is a photographer best known for his documentary photography. He focuses on the banality/everydayness of our society, sometimes with a humorous undertone. He graduated at the Karel de Grote Hogeschool in Antwerp and completed his master’s degree in photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent.
A Lover’s Sequence
‘The overall discourse on sexuality is usually ‘wet’ but here the images have a zen ‘dryness’, even the ‘wet’ ones. Although it is a series about sexuality, no persons are to see, only objects are present. Among them zen preferences: garments, flowers, seeds, trees, tiny daily objects. And most of them resist any attempt to make a projection of personal or psychological identity. A zen poetics of sexuality composed by the gaze of a playful monk, calmly obsessed with the form of the male and female sex, mindfully seeking images of intercourse. Sexuality is rather linked to the sublime, but here the movement is distinctly towards the beautiful in order to convey a powerful intimacy under the pretext of detachment– if that’s not zen what is it then?’ Extract from Manos Perrakis’ description.
Alexis Vasilikos (Athens, 1977) is a visual artist, well-known for his unconventional approach to photography. His artistic research has always been deeply influenced by oriental mysticism. He is co-founder of Phases Magazine since 2012, an online magazine about artistic photography. He is represented by CAN Christina Androulidaky Gallery.
‘A journey into the land of desires. Rimini is a town on the Adriatic coast, on the Italian east coast. A well-known tourist destination, it’s always been considered the capital of clubs and nightlife. It counts 150.000 inhabitants, but in summer it becomes a small metropolis that can accommodate up to 2.500.000 people. Muse and inspiration of great artists that described it through their eyes, such as native-born photographer Marco Pesaresi with his black and white shots, or great director Federico Fellini, thanks to whom, in the ’70s, Rimini became famous in the whole world after his film Amarcord (translating ‘I remember’). A movie telling the life the inhabitants of a oneiric Rimini, perpetually suspended between childhood dreams and teenage turmoil. During the ’80s clubs and discos lived their golden age, with a large number of visitors, VIP’s and a display of extreme luxury which led to the ’90s, where luxury and strict selection at the entrance of clubs made way for experimentation, afterhours parties and music research. Despite the fact that times have changed and several historic clubs are now shut down for good, Rimini can still charm night people who long for transgression so much.’
Federico Arcangeli (Rimini, 1983), healthcare assistant, recently approached photography. He is the founder of the ‘People Are Strangers’ blog and member of the World Street Photography website and of the ‘Romagna Street Photografy’ organization. He was one of the finalists are the ‘London Street Photography’ Festival’, ‘San Francisco Street Photography’ and ‘Miami Street Photography Festival’.
Aurore Dal Mas
Don't love me, I'm your toy
‘For once, it’s him who is undressed. This sequence of images explores and inverts the exchange of power from men to women. It addresses the desire of being watched and analyses the physical presence, which is also virtual. Passive, men consent to the injunctions of the woman’s voice that emanates from the computer, guiding them in their poses. Pictures were taken during Skype video chats. During these sessions, any participating man would undress and had to be bare-chested at the very least. On one condition: anonymity. This series suggests the tiredness of having to exist in the other’s eyes as an object of desire and questions the viewer-voyeur role of the audience. It underlines the de-humanization, the vulnerability of long-distance relationships, the difficulty to find intimacy and the enthusiasm to please.’
Aurore Del Mas (Belgium 1981) is a Belgian-Italian woman. Her work focuses on unspeakable movements, natural forces, desire-based relationships and self-portrait. A personal way to express herself, concerned, sexual, which never gives too many answers. Other than photography, Aurore Dal Mas explores writing, video making and installation. Her works were displayed in the settings of the Musée de la Photographie di Charleroi (Belgium) and at the festival Oodaaq in Rennes.
‘Work intersected by the autobiographical and the ethical regime of image production. In 2011 I returned to the University to study photography. I was in a moment of existential crisis, due to the entry into middle age, and vocational crisis, also understood as an entry into new, unexplored territories, enhancers of conflict, but also of internal growth. As a male photographer several ontological ideas of photography, namely the male gaze and the scopophilic regime of image production and visualization of the female body through that gaze, were sources of
emotional and intellectual conflict, which I tried to explore. The eye, as a technology of desire, and photography as it’s medium, are here used to confront ideas of body, of desire, of photographic meaning, through an ambiguous narrative that simultaneously shows but also denies, that distorts and frustrates the gaze.’
João Henriques (Portugal), graduated in Management in Evora and then completed a Master degree in Photography at the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar. He took part in many different exhibitions around Europe.
Give me liberty or give me death
‘The spread of the pandemic from Covid19, as has been stated by scholars, is closely linked to the extreme environmental exploitation typical of the capitalist system. During the lockdown, an epochal event of contemporary history, I decided to observe the world through webcams. I focused my attention on the giant advertising panels that usually show the slogans of the neoliberal dominant narrative, such as the iconic ones of Times Square in New York. Due to the pandemic, suddenly, the propaganda messages aimed at influencing the desires of ordinary people and their propensity to consume have left room for communications on safety and restrictions. A series of invitations to adopt responsible, non-individualistic and respectful of public health behaviors. At the same time, I chose to document the posters that appeared during the protests against lockdowns that have ramped up across the United States. The visual and philosophical contrast between the two attitudes and wordings lead to a conceptual short circuit that highlights all the contradictions of our era.’
Giovanni Presutti (Florence, 1965), after graduating in law, takes the diploma at the Art’E School in Florence and attends a Master course in reportage in John Kaverdash Academy in Milan. Multi-award winning, his career prides itself on many exhibitions both in Italy and in abroad, in galleries, museums and cultural associations, both private and public. He joined the Synap(see) union and is represented by the Die Mauer Gallery.
After The Gold Rush
‘The Visigoth king Alarico I in 410 AD carried out the famous 'Sack of Rome' with his army. By conquering the city of Rome he plundered a huge amount of gold, silver, and even some relics from the Temple of Jerusalem. During the journey to reach the African coast, Alarico and his army are hit by a strong storm at sea, which destroyed the fleet will force them to stop on the coast of Calabria and then take refuge in Cosenza. The king, according to legend, died shortly afterward of an illness and was buried with the famous treasure in the riverbed of the Busento river that passes through the historical center of the city. In the years to come, well-known personalities, researchers, and simple enthusiasts will try in vain to find this unknown place.’
Giacomo Alberico, (1994), studied photography at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera and participated to workshops and artistic residences proposed by various institutions in Venice Palermo and Cosenza. His research work explores the relationship between men and boundaries of time and space. In his everyday life, he investigates landscapes and objects that symbolize the presence of men and their activity in time, which is always related to the environment they live in.
‘Every woman inherits two X chromosomes, one of which can be paternal.'
Alba Zari uses the medium of photography as a visual method of investigation writing self-analysis notes to research the father that she never met. The missing Y. She goes into a process of self transformation where the results of the research can modify the perception of her identity. At the age of 25, she discovers that the person she always believed to be her father is actually her brother’s father, not hers. A deep research of her origins and she documents it with scientific rigor and in real time through specific photographic methods and languages. Alba will use all of her visual language knowledge for an achievement that is implemented going through the negative answers and she will embrace the suffering of the negative in her research. She is conscious that the negation is not frustrating but a from of relief, exclusion.’
Albazari (Bangkok, 1987), graduated at DAMS in Bologna and then specialized in photography and visual design at NABA in Milan. She continued her studies in documentary photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. In 2020, with the project THE Y (winner of the GraziDei prize), she is part of the Foam Talents 2020. Her work has been exhibited in international festivals and museums such as MAXXI, Rome, London Art Fair, Festival Circulation (Paris) and so on and so forth. The Exhibition is made in collaboration with Collezione Donata Pizzi, a private collection of works from the mid-sixties through today, founded in 2014 to promote the works and understanding of the most original Italian photographers.
Azimuths of Celestial Bodies
It is a visual diary, the illustrated topography of an autobiographical journey which explores his geography: ‘Mine is a journey into the stories and people who formed my family and how this metaphorical river of lives has now merged into myself: the last of my lineage (for now).’ There are many ways to tell a story and so many to lie in doing it. A journey into the stories and people who formed his family, the project is a return to the family of the author. The great wars that have upset the European continent during the last century are the common thread, the bitter background, the first cause of the migrations that allowed the intertwining of these stories. A discourse on the lineage, linking what was with what it is: a return of the memories that have come to him, which he has made his and which he reinterprets freely.
Francesco Levy (1990) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, and then specialized at the Fondazione Studio Marangoni. Since 2017, he actively works in the field of contemporary photography participating at various festivals with collective and personal exhibitions including Fotografia Europea and SIFEST Francesco Levy is a Celeste Prize finalist and winner of the Combat Prize Art Tracker award. Exhibition curated by Alessandra Capodacqua.
The international academic network ‘Blurring the Lines’, whose aim is to promote the talents of photography schools around the world, curates the exhibition and has selected the project by Jonna Bruinsma dedicated to the everyday life of a family living in the historic part of Bari.
The exhibition project happens to be the graduation project of the young Dutch photographer at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht, Netherlands, and it delve deeper into the younger generations and their desires in a territory often hindered by the few opportunities to succeed, which is the southern part of Italy. The project collects images of the boys made in their home environment. A way to access an otherwise almost invisible intimacy. What intrigued her were the places expressing the ways in which modernity callenged traditional lifestyles the most. Her goal was to visually address the challenges between strong family traditions and deeply rooted cultural conventions, and the effects on the young generations growing up and experiencing the changes.
Jonna Bruinsma (Amsterdam, 1995) is a documentary photographer living in Amsterdam, who studied at the High School of Arts in Utrecht, the Netherlands. She defined Italy as her second home after Holland, and became passionate about the study of Italian culture, interested by the differences between North and South and the important role that the family plays within their lifestyle.
2019 Portfolio Award
Premio Portfolio 2019
In the 2019 edition, the jury, composed by Carlo Bevilacqua, Alessandra Capodacqua, Alfredo Corrao, Yvonne De Rosa, Sam Harris, and Donata Pizzi, considering the high quality of the works selected for the Miglior Portfolio Award, decided to also assign the second and the third prize.
The first place was assigned to the Estancia Rio Mitre project, by Alessandro Scattolini (Loreto, 1991). The pictures, captured in the Argentine Patagonia, turned out to be very powerful, although the young photographer used a very delicate and sensitive approach. The jury decided to reward the modern approach to photography and the remarkable ability to document with a sense of aesthetic and poetry.
The second place went to the La Settimana Santa in Sicilia project, by Daniele Vita (Vetralla, 1975) for the extraordinary ability to represent the theme of Sicilian religious festivities, with a remarkable use of cinematographic techniques. The third place went to the Vere finzioni: Supereroi project by Francesco di Ribilant and Anna La Rosa, Catania, for the original and elegant realization of the work and the innovative approach of the super hero theme.