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. “The Black Horseman” project embraces that prophecy as the centerpiece around which its stories unfold. It takes the form of a photographic novel, weaving imagery based in reality together with a series of fictional tales to tell stories from the brink of doomsday. Influenced by biblical accounts, fiction, science fiction and reality, I roam the land in search of the pieces that make up these stories. Behind this apocalyptic scenario, where desires seem to leave room for resignation, photography arises as a chance to imagine the future.
Gardeners of Desire
The makeable world with its consumer society feeds our desires. Appearance comes first. Against complete makeability is that what you can’t manipulate, that what eludes us, the other. Eros 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. I believe that Eros is at odds with the makeable world. This contradiction was the starting point for a theoretical and visual study into the essence of two contradictory desires.
The leaves will fall from the sky
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. My curiosity about the nature of this connection planted a seed for a project that germinated in 2017. Since then, I have returned to Cuba many times, traveling around the country with my view camera. 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. This fatalism, I came to believe, is bred in large part by having to survive in an inherently unpredictable system. Anchoring myself in the familiarity of that circumstance, I am using my photographs to intuit some of the ways in which Cuban relationship to fate is different from the one I know.
Simon Van Geel
Megalomania - Delusions of Grandeur
The series Megalomania - Delusions of Grandeur is a project about the property boom in Spain and the consequences of the financial crisis. At the beginning of 2000, there was a huge increase in construction investments, better known as the “property boom”. Construction plans were made for the built-up of new cities, hotels, resorts, etc. The future looked bright and full of promise. Then, in 2008, the financial crisis struck. The developers withdrew and the landscape of Spain was suddenly transformed by unfinished projects hitting the population with disaster. My project is a photographic investigation into the remains of this phenomenon. The focus of the project lays primarily on the concrete skeletons that remain in the landscape as scars of the crisis. The skeletons became abstract sculptures whose original purpose is long forgotten. Nature tries to restore to its original state and slowly but surely displaces the intervention of man. The title of my project, Megalomania – Delusions of Grandeur; refers to the tendency of always wanting more, here applicable to economics. Financial growth cannot last forever and eventually shows cracks, the skeletons in Spain refer here as living proof of an economic 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.
A Lover’s Sequence
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. But though 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. This also manifests in the sculptural form we encounter in the majority of images, if not compositions, and one of the many charms of this edit is that we often don’t know whether what we have in front of us was a random shot or a careful arrangement. The overall discourse on sexuality is usually ‘wet’ but here the images have a zen ‘dryness’, even the ‘wet’ ones. Sexuality is intense, even fierce, but everything here seems to lands in calmness. However, this calmness is sometimes ready to explode – see the black and white images that play with the iconography of the fetish. But still, these do not distort the serene atmosphere but rather enhance it through a rhythmical interplay. 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?
— by Manos Perrakis
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 an 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 lovers who long for transgression so much.
Aurore Dal Mas
Don't love me, I'm your toy
For once, it’s him who is undressed. Passive, he consents to the injunctions of the woman’s voice that emanates from the computer, guiding him in his poses. The pictures were taken during Skype video chats that lasted between 15 and 45 minutes. During these sessions, any participating man would undress and had to be bare-chested at the very least. On one condition: anonymity. No physical criteria, nothing pre-defined. They cannot see the photographer who photographs her screen and, through it, men she never met before, in their bedrooms. They are directed from a distance. They don’t exactly know what picture of them is taken. And then the screens turn off. This body of work is about dehumanisation, vulnerability, and distant relationships; the difficulty of bringing intimacy and being in contact with the otherness and the eagerness to please. The camera, the different rooms, the screen, become an observation box of these casual men. It questions the desire to be looked at, by scrutinizing their physical though virtual presence – it being impressive or elusive, desirable or made of mixed feelings. It also suggests the tiredness of having to exist in the other’s eyes as an object of desire. Thereby, this series also questions the viewer-voyeur role of the audience. While the low-fi aesthetics of the work refers to functional images one could find and use by using social media or other meeting apps.
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. The female body, either represented through real persons or appropriated images seems to be invested with a growing desire of materialization and vision, a fantasy never materialized, foreshadowing photography as a simulacrum and as crisis, of look and desire.
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 turned my attention to the USA, the mother country of "Capitalist Realism", as claimed by the English philosopher Mark Fisher. The fact that this western superpower is at the top of the list of both infections and the number of deaths is a very significant fact, as well as symbolic.
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. They were an expression of an antagonistic spirit aimed at reaffirming the supremacy of the individual, unconditional freedom, the primacy of the economy over the protection of health. 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.
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.
Exhibition in collaboration with Donata Pizzi Collection, founded in 2014 with the aim of promoting the discovery and understanding of the works of the most original Italian women photographers, made from the mid-sixties to the present day.
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. A deep research of her origins and she documents it with scientific rigor and in real time through specific photographic methods and languages. It’s a physical experience of displacements searching for her father from Trieste to Bangkok going trough Positano to Berlin. It takes place collecting documents and visual symbolic information e sometimes misleading clues. Raised in Thailand till the age of 8 years old she finds out, from her brother, after almost 20 years that she does not have Thai blood and that they don’t have the same father. For 25 years she thought that Weerachart was really her father, even thou when she was a child she was showing the image of the King of Thailand saying that he was her father. She now finds out that half of her identity is a mystery. For 2 years Alba does not know if she should open the Pandora vase undermining the fragile balance between the members of her family, should she begin this process to accept the essentiality of the determined negative?
Photography becomes a concrete investigative medium that will be useful to research evidence and proofs, 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.
Azimuths of Celestial Bodies
Exhibition curated by Alessandra Capodacqua
There are as many ways to tell a story as there are to lie about it. Mine is a journey across the tales and personas that together formed the core of my family. A metaphorical flow of lives now merged into myself: the last of my kin.
The great wars that upset Europe during the last century are the common thread, the grim background and prime mover of the migrations that allowed the paths to intertwine.
A discourse on lineage, linking together what is with what has been: a restitution of memories that have been passed down to me, which I have made mine and freely reinterpreted.
It is a visual journal, an illustrated topography of the autobiographic journey undertaken to explore my own geography.
Exhibition in collaboration with Blurring the Lines, international academic network fostering talents in visual arts and dialogue among schools of photography. Welcoming at the graduation work by Dutch Jonna Bruinsma from HKU – Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Dragone is about the life of a family in the historical part of Bari, southern Italy. Through an encounter with an eleven-year-old boy named Miky Dragone, I was introduced to his family. I followed the Dragone family for a period of time, became close to them, and through photography was able to capture fragments of their life in Bari. Due to the strong Italian accent of the family, we initially struggled with a language barrier. However, this ended up enabling a new form of communication between us. I gave the three young boys of the family my camera and asked them to take their own photographs. Where our communication was stopped by means of language, the images took over. In Strada Tancredi, the street where the family lives and works, it seemed as though time was standing still.
Section dedicated to Italian photography, it presents a chorus of voices and visual perspectives around the theme of desire. A kaleidoscopic collection that returns different possibilities on desire. A non-exhaustive, plural and inclusive look.
Participating authors: Anna Maria Belloni, Fulvia Bernacca, Marco Bonomo, Claudio Capanna, Cédric Dasesson, Louis De Belle, Valentina De Santis, Simone D'Angelo, Lorenza D'Orazio, Sara Esposito, Mariano Monea, Chiara Pavolucci, Marco Rigamonti, Edoardo Valle, Umberto Verdoliva.
Portfolio Award 2019
Since the first edition, Ragusa FotoFestival has paid attention to emerging photography through portfolio readings and the award of the Best Portfolio Award. The winners will have the opportunity to exhibit in the next edition of the festival and receive a prize of 500 euro.
In the last edition the jury, composed of Carlo Bevilacqua, Alessandra Capodacqua, Yvonne De Rosa, Donata Pizzi, Sam Harris, considering the quality of the works nominated for the selection for the Best Portfolio Award 2019, decided to mention two other projects.
The Best Portfolio is awarded to the Estancia Rio Miter project created in Argentine Patagonia by Alessandro Scattolini from Civitanove Marche. The images achieve a powerful result through the delicate and sensitive approach of the young author, for the contemporary look and for the strong documentary and aesthetic ability, combined with a remarkable poetics.
Second place, The Holy Week in Sicily by Daniele Vita, Viterbo, for his extraordinary ability to represent the classic theme of Sicilian religious holidays with a strong cinematic breadth.
Third place, the project Real fictions: Superheroes by Francesco di Robilant and Anna La Rosa, Catania, for the original and elegant way of performing the work and the innovative approach to the superhero theme.