Updated: Sep 14
Extract from 'I am your Mirror' photography book by Loredana Denicola
James is the second “stranger” I met for my photography project “ I am your mirror”. I call him the business man.
My initial idea was to photograph myself and twelve strangers that I would find through the Internet.
These strangers, unpaid, would have the freedom to choose a time and place to be photographed. They could express themselves as they wished, and they could be anonymous, or not. I asked the strangers to look at the camera as if it were a mirror.
One night, I received an email from James. He answered to my advert on gumtree.com expressing interest in my photography project and a desire to partecipate. He asked me if we could meet somewhere for a chat and introduction, to which I enthusiastically agreed.
We met at a coffee shop near London Bridge. The first question he posed when we meet was why I was doing the"I am your mirror" photography project. Honestly, at that time, I didn’t have a clear answer. There was no structure in my mind, no written plan for the project, so I didn't know how to respond. For me, the project was an urge to seek human connection.
Meeting these "strangers" was, in a way, like meeting myself, a reflection of them in the mirror. I was them, and they were me.
I explained that I was searching for strangers who could pose in front of my camera like a mirror and portray their obsessions, fears, feelings, and themselves as they wished.
I had lost my identity in order to please others. From 2010, I went through the most damaging period of my life, not to mention the years before that.
My mind was consumed by negative thoughts; I was unwell.
I couldn’t imagine that I had lied to myself in such way, being someone different to please others and suppressing the beautiful being that I am.
Reflecting on my experience, more than a year later, I realised that what I had been seeking was confidence, courage, passion, identity, trust, respect, communication, connection, intimacy, imagination, playfulness, my soul but above all, love.
James is a businessman from Canada who has lived in London for 20 years , working at the same bank all this time. His life follows a routine, and he confided in me that he doesn't feel free, as he has to adhere to societal rules he doesn't particularly like.
He is handsome, tall, polite, elegant, and kind. He expressed his desire to be represented in a submissive yet powerful manner.
After our initial meeting, he sent me a couple of emails with some pictures of Mapplethorpe's work, providing context for the images we might wish to create together with him.
Then, for a month, we lost touch.
I sent him another email inquiring if he might be available in December. He replied that he would be very busy and suggested that we try in the New Year. He had a flat in the city that we could use. It might not have been glamorous, but it would serve our purpose. So, we agreed to meet in January, and that was it.
I didn't hear from him for two weeks, until I received a text with a time, date, and address. The location was near Bermondsey, London.
I replied that I was available that day, and I went to visit him.
... to be continued ...
by Loredana Denicola
"Behind the Lens: A Photographic Journey with Strangers"
Short stories from the photography project: "I am your mirror" by Loredana Denicola © 2017/2018, All rights reserved.
I'd love to create a book! If interested email me to loredana denicola
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