I clearly remember my fears and anxieties when I had to face the first assignment of Identity and Place: photographing strangers. A totally new situation for me – and for some fellow students facing such assignment – and that required some ingenious strategy to carry out the mission successfully. Of course the prospect of receiving a NO as a response from potential subjects was quite disturbing, but it is also true that there are situations in which people are more willing to take part in the game more easily. The final result was quite satisfactory from a quantitative point of view (14 of 15 subjects participated in the project), although there’s always room for improvement, it marked the beginning of what would be a very enriching course from a creative point of view.
Each of the four assignments that followed allowed me to explore in depth four basic aspects related to identity – social gesture, nationality, religion and memory – that have served as a basis for the development of personal projects that have run their course outside of the academic field. For example, “Viacrucis” -assignment cuatro- has been presented in October 2017 within the cycle of exhibitions that take place in one of the most important photographic festivals in Spain: XXXV Outono Fotográfico, and “Windows and Mirrors” has been included last month in the Spanish photography magazine ” QuitarFotos” that features national photographers’ projects every month.
In this last project I have dealt with the issue of national identity: looking at foreigners living in Spain, I have tried to explore how they maintain their emotional ties with their places of origin. What is really important in the experience has been all the previous work – preliminary investigations, searching for people in local groups, personal interviews, preparation of materials, studio reservation, agenda planning – five weeks work that concluded in an intense five hours photographic session.
It is strongly recommended to leave your comfort zone and enter new territories, and that creation must be an act of rebellion that should shake us and remove the quiet grounds where custom invites us to conform. Each assignment is an invitation to ask new questions, it is an opportunity to take an additional step, and take our photographic practice further and further away.
Take a look at the project on my blog:
I think it’s important for students to try to introduce their work out of the academic space, so I’d like to share my experience with the community.