Updated: Sep 13
Extract from 'I am your Mirror' photography book by Loredana Denicola
Robert is the third “stranger” I met for my photography project titled “ I am your mirror”. I call him "the Christian”.
My idea was to photograph myself alongside twelve strangers that I would find through the Internet. These unpaid individuals would have the freedom to choose a time and place to be photographed.
They could express themselves as they wished and could remain anonymous or not. I asked the strangers to look at the camera as if it were a mirror.
Then, I asked them to write down a few words, something that could represent them.
Robert responded to my ad on the Internet, expressing his willingness to take part in my photography project, and he was fascinated by the title of the project.
His idea was to pose nude in a forest.
He is married, with three children, and he didn't want to use his house in Sussex (that was my suggestion; I always loved photographing people in their houses), even if his wife knew that he was doing a naked photo session with me. Through emails, we agreed to meet immediately outside Epping Underground station, on the same day as the photoshoot, without knowing each other. For a few months, Epping Forest was my personal photography studio during the summer. It was an amazing experience!
Robert, my stranger, loves nature.
Epping Forest was the perfect spot for his pictures. He wanted to be represented like an animal, naked with his face covered.
On that day, I brought with me a few masks; I wasn't sure if he wanted to use them. A week before, I asked my niece Erica, who is six years old and lives in Italy, to draw and send me a couple of masks. She made a colourful rainbow fish and a bear for me. I liked the simplicity of her drawings, and that's what I was looking for. I brought them with me along with two more masks, a pig and a bull, which I bought from a party cakes shop in Dalston, London, while I was walking around that area.
I found them amusing.
He mentioned that he is a Christian and attends church with his family every Sunday. He is part of a community and doesn't want to be seen by the people in the church, as they may not understand him and could misinterpret everything.
I went to Epping and arrived 10 minutes early. I'm always punctual; I learned this from my previous paparazzi/press job. I waited outside the station impatiently. I didn't know him, and he hadn't sent me any pictures, so I didn't know his face. However, he knew me.
After waiting for about 5 minutes outside the station, he called me on the phone and asked me to walk up the street and meet him because he was waiting for me inside his car. I followed his instructions and began walking up the street, eagerly anticipating meeting my third subject. Then, at some point, I saw someone walking towards me, smiling and introducing himself.
"Hello, I am Robert. How was your trip to Epping?" He sounded gentle. I replied that it was good and that I was happy to meet him.
I jumped in his car, starting to feel comfortable meeting strangers randomly in this way. While he was driving to the forest to find a place to park, we talked about who he is, his past when he was bullied, his family, his wife, his job, and his children. Then, he parked his car and mentioned that he knew the forest very well. For me, it was the first time...
He suggested we go for a walk deeper into the woodland because he didn't want to be seen naked by people who were walking around Epping Forest. My stranger didn't want to be seen...
... 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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