'I Am Your Mirror'
I met Giorgia, the Poetess
Then, I met my eighth stranger. Her name is Giorgia. I called her the Poetess.
My first idea was to photograph myself and twelve strangers that I would find through the Internet.
These strangers, would be free to choose a time and place to be photographed.
They could express themselves as they wished, and could be anonymous, or not.
I asked the strangers to look at the camera as if a mirror.
With her everything took a different direction. It was me that approached her, she didn't know anything about my project. She didn't see any advert on Internet. She didn't send me any email. I have chosen her moved by intuition, by positive energy. I followed my instinct.
All was different, I felt a stuck, maybe because she is a woman. In fact, she is the first woman who accepted to take part in my project.
‘ I am your mirror ‘project includes 10 men and three women. One of them is myself.
Twelve strangers plus me.
I remember perfectly that day, when I met her.
I was working at Bank station. I was taking my break standing outside the Royal Exchange, during the lunch time, when
I saw her coming out from the Royal Exchange, alone.
She stopped, next to the stairs.
Her beauty captured me.
She looked like those women, in those old pictures of “La dolce vita” of Federico Fellini, kind of beauties like Sofia Loren, when she was young.
She was dressed up with a tiny dress, light blue, and tennis shoes. She had long light brown hair and big dark eyes. I looked at her with awe, I was fascinated by her way she was moving. She had that kind of grace that it is nice to see and you feel fascinated.
Then, she lighted a cigarette and smoked it.
I didn’t know what to do. I was indecisive, only for few seconds. I decided to go and meet her. I head towards her, I got closer and I said – ‘ Hello, do you have a spare cigarette for me, please?'
She said – 'Yes of course" , smiling.
She looked down, opened her little bag, took the packet of cigarettes out, they were Malboro Light and she gave one to me.
'Thank you' – I said – 'you are very kind'.
I took one cigarette, lighted and smoked, looking in her eyes.
Then, to break the ice, I began asking questions, like I normally do, if I am interested in knowing people and if they are friendly.
We started to talk ...
She was looking for a job. She was living in London since a couple of months, and she was at the Royal Exchange to give her CV at the bar.She said that her friend was working there and maybe he could have helped her to find a job.
She used to work as a waitress in Italy, during the holiday in Summer, in an Agritourism, close to Venice.
While she was talking, I realised that she had an Italian accent, and I said:
'Are you Italian?'
'Yes', she replays - 'Are you Italian as well?'
'Yes, I am Italian'. I answered.
Giorgia, the Poetess, ' I am your mirror' photography project © Loredana Denicola 2013/ 2014
In that exactly moment, I understood why I was attracted to her; there was that kind of Italian vibe, and passionate nature and beauty that was calling me. She said she comes from Venice.
'And you? Where are you coming from?' She asked.
'I come from the South, the opposite side of Italy, from Puglia'. I answered.
'Puglia is a beautiful place', she said. 'I have friends there and sometimes I go and visit them'.
'Why are you here in London?' she asked.
'Because I am on a mission'.I answered.I will go back to Italy soon as I finished.'
I laughed at my answer.
She was very young, 21 years old, and you could feel it, looking at her skin, her smile and her eyes. On top of that, she was beautiful.
She reminded me what ‘innocence’ is. She had an interesting aura and I wanted to know her. She had those eyes of innocence, the face of an angel, a personality of a dreamer and a smile that hides pain.
She said that she was living in South London, in a flat with other people. And that her dream is to become an actress, working in a theatre and doing workshops. She had clear ideas about what she wanted to be in life, and she looked more mature than her age. I was liking her.
Then, I introduced myself, I said that I am a photographer and that I was doing a project, called 'I am your mirror'.
I said that I was looking for people with obsessions, fears, or even beauty, happiness and positivity and that she reminded me that innocence and pain I had, when I was her age and that I would have loved to take some pictures of her.
'What do you think?' I said. 'This is my business card.Give me a call and let me know'
She said that she was happy to help me with my project, so we exchange our numbers, I got back to my work, thanked her for the cigarette and we say bye!
I don’t know why I asked her to take part in my project. This time, I was choosing the subject, instead of her answering to my advert online.
She is the only one that I stopped in the street.
There was something of her that grabbed me, something more spiritual, I don’t know how to explain it.
Ten days passed.
I texted her, asking if she had any day free for the pictures the week ahead. I explained her that I didn’t have a studio and that we had to use her flat or going to Epping forest.
It was Summer and the sun was shining, so we could take advantage of the beautiful weather, in London.
She said that she was free and ready. I asked her how she wanted to be re-presented. She said that I could ask her anything, because she was quite confident, as she was working as 'live model' for some painters so she didn’t mind to show herself naked.
After few messages, we decided to meet. The day arrived and we met, outside Epping Station. It is a little station.
From there we walked down to Epping forest
While walking, we were talking about spirituality, and energies, and connections. I was feeling quite comfortable with her, we were on the same wavelength so I was feeling good.
We walked a little more to reach Epping Forest. There is a small town there with little coffees and little shops. We had a coffee break.
Then , we moved.
Once at the entrance of Epping forest, we walked more, getting more inside to find a nice spot in the nature, far away from the normal 'path'. I asked her to bring something white with her and she brought a very simple white dress.
At the very beginning, I wanted to show her like a figure, an appearance, an angel, coming from nowhere, in the middle of the forest, something magical, unusual, an open door to hope, after all those obsessions of other strangers that I was photographing.
Being with her, I discovered that she was also very playful, helpful and funny.
Then, at some point, I asked her to take off her dress but I never pushed myself to ask something more, but even naked she was looking more innocent.
Working with a woman is very different than working with a man. Men are more aggressive when there is nudity involved. The nude of a woman is more sacred, I don’t know, more silent. It takes off your breath, even if I am a woman.
I took some pictures of her, between two trees, and I tried as well to bring out her naughty side, as she looked a bit disobedient sometimes.
A couple of times, I asked her to lift up the dress, to show her legs till the point up to the underwear, and also to take off the underwear. In one pictures she placed the underwear on a branch, giving me her back and looking at me sexually. But even there, she looked pure in front of my eyes. Maybe that innocence was my perception of her.
I wasn’t feeling comfortable. Probably because I was asking her to do what I wanted, but at the same time I wasn’t pushing myself enough, because she was young and I didn’t know her, so even if I had that positive vibe, I didn’t know her, and I didn’t want to use her for my purpose.
I wanted her to put something of her in the project as well so I let her to be herself stopping to ask what I wanted and leave all to spontaneity, to the present moment.
I talked less, and beautiful images started to build by themselves, slowly slowly, like a net of a spider.
We were on the right path and that innocence that I saw, when I first met her, was coming out spontaneously and I was happy with that.
Giorgia, the Poetess, ' I am your mirror' photography project © Loredana Denicola 2013/2014
The sun light was coming out and disappearing. London is well know for that…
It was funny, measuring the light with the light meter and then re- measuring again so I was a little bit slow, working with my camera.
Epping is a beautiful place where taking pictures. It is massive and you can certainly lose yourself in there.
Once, I went inside the forest alone, to find a location for a paid photoshoot and I lost myself. It was magical, especially when you can hear little animals moving that scares you.
But I was with Giorgia and she was showing me her beauty.
I had a good time with her, we laughed, and we talked more about our desires, our dreams, and what we want from life.
Some people were walking next to us and I saw her naked on the tree, waving at them with a smile on her face.
I liked her confidence and she was very nice with me. She gave me her time and her figure to photograph without asking me nothing back. So, I was grateful.
I don’t know why she accepted to take part in my project. I think she wanted to push herself outside her comfort zone, to discover something of herself, more than something else.
She looks like someone very curious, with an introspective intelligence, very sensitive. Her long hair were amazing and her big eyes with black make up looked so expressive.
She was beautiful inside and out
I asked her to seat on a branch of a big tree and I took her hair and put them around the branches, she had this expression, very natural and very beautiful, I took the picture. I think she looks marvellous.
I asked her to write down few words about that experience with me. And she wrote me back a poem regarding what happened that day and how she felt. It took a little bit of time for her to write it down. I appreciated her efforts, she was taking the task very seriously.
Afterward we become good friends and today we are still in touch. She came back to Italy and she is doing well. She is working in a theatre and she organises workshops with her boyfriend.
With some people the energy is very intense, overwhelming, sexually creative, and what happens is like a river in flood, with others it is just a connection, a light one, that disappear after few moments.
I always been convinced, in my little Universe, that we don't meet people by coincidence.
They are meant to give us something, beautiful or bad, a lesson; some upset our lives leaving us in the most atrocious pains, others show us the stars and the wonders of love.
Energy is powerful and it is created by both part and has to be let run free without interruption.
Being open requires a lot of energy, not only mental but also emotional and spiritual.
Being open demand you to put yourself in touch honestly with yourself, transmitting to the other positive electricity.
We are electricity.
Sometimes being open can also take you to unknown and dangerous places and can make you suffer but it can also stimulate us to go ahead and discover ourselves without fear, letting us go out of our comfort zone, which is the only way that we have to discover who we really are, because that is the point where the healing process begin.
Photography for me is healing power.
There is a creative powerful process behind it.
And it is difficult to explain in words a process, it must be experienced.
Art is magic.
She wrote me:
Creaking of steps
Justified by an instrument
Sense of the meeting
Research and exploration
Of the Place
An open Window,
Lords of uncertainty
My body goes outside of ordinary life
Crystallized, scared, immolated
By an external eye
That wants to catch and change me
I float in an ocean of possibilities
I reborn with a new, small awareness
Few and confusing words to describe an
Extraordinary normal experience
In those moments, I step outside the ordinary
of every day life feeling a higher and elusive sense
I immerse in Myself as in a womb
where everything is muffle,
a quiet illusion
like the bottom of an ocean
“Art” is an inner necessity because leads me
beyond the borders, an exploration of myself
and of others that plays musical notes of Divine
I felt at ease but I had the feeling that what
happened was just a small part of the potential
Reading her poetry, I realised that she could still go beyond her comfort zone but did not try, she waited for me and I was waiting for her.
We both learned a lesson, not to be afraid the next time to get involved more completely.
Once I read on a book:
'Ask and it will be given'
Children do that all the times.
If you think, it is so simple, we adults are full of doubts, many times we forget what it was like when we were children, when we were acting freely, without fear.
We adult make things complicated. We forgot that little child that screams inside us and wants to get out.
With Giorgia I felt intimidated, maybe because I have chosen her, she didn't choose me so I felt more restrained.
Honesty with yourself is the key.
She is Giorgia, the poetess.
Written by Loredana Denicola, 'How I met my strangers, I am your Mirror' photography project .
©Loredana Denicola 2013/2014