Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Extract from 'I am your Mirror' photography book ...
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, like Sofia Loren, when she was young.
She was dressed up with a tiny dress, light blue, and tennis white 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 captures, 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 red 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 it, 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, 2014/2015
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, during the summer. The sea is very blue'.
'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 generously 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', where people used to walk. 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, 2014/2015
The sun light was coming out and disappearing. London is well know for that…
It was funny, I was 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 hidden in the green leaves, that scares you.
But I was with Giorgia and she was showing me her beauty ...
A layout of the book is ready (256 pgg, text & black and white pictures). Hopefully the book will soon be available. Limited Edition. I am looking for funding.
'How I met my strangers', I am your Mirror' photography project .
©Loredana Denicola 2017/2018, All right reserved.
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