My artistic work
Updated: Feb 2
My work is a process started in 2013 that led me to understand myself and others; a process of self-understanding and knowledge as reflected in the other.
Only action without thoughts interfering with decisions, a revelation of love for myself.
"Action" seen as a responsibility, leap into the void, the un-known unlimited, which is light; salvation linked to curiosity, open-mindedness, trust in others, faith in oneself, which is nothing other than a kind of harmony with life and the people around us.
The certainty of following one's intuition to access higher levels of consciousness, that ability to question (after having recognised them) the old mental, emotional, psychological, behavioral patterns that belonged to me and that still belong to me ... those useless weights, negative thoughts, fears and insecurities that made me feel bad ... that ‘image’ of myself that I had built, out of desperation to be accepted, in the first place by my parents, then by friends and by the outside world that were nothing other than me.
Meeting people online, the 'perfect strangers' to let go completely, was the most constructive experience of my life.
I felt and still feel today as an explorer of 'human existence' accompanied by my best friend: the camera. Meeting them in the places and times set by them and photographing them as they wanted to be photographed, without having the slightest doubt of being in "danger", in a city like London, had become my cure.
I had decided to be open, curious, positive, with a great desire to know each other; I wanted to spend time together, share profound conversations about life and secrets never told, that made me alive and involved in their depth but also in mine.
It was like a game, the game that I often played as a child, when I ventured for abandoned farms in the arid but productive Puglia, with my purple coloured bicycle, hoping to meet unknown ghosts to talk to. And I talked to them really thinking that those imaginary beings existed in reality.
I imagined their human forms ... and I saw them at the window, waiting for me.
But inside me, I knew that with my imagination I could create a meeting point with the immensity of existence and feel myself in the company of the unknown.
Those imaginary and real beings kept me company at the same time.
Sometimes I was afraid. I watched them watching me motionless from the window, and I couldn't enter their doors. Other times I walked bravely among abandoned buildings in search of someone to reassure me. And I found that that person was always myself.
Today I write is 2019.
More than 40 years have passed and only now that I look back I understand why I built my body of work: 4 photographic projects, 2 videos and 4 photography books. I only acted to heal my pain, to switch on a light in the dark, and to see who I really am, to accept me, love me and become a stronger person.
And photography was that door into which I entered to cure myself.
Take care of what? ... you will ask.
My work concerns humanity, the individual, the responsibility as a starting point for building a better world.
The individual alone finds hard to know himself.
Instead of entering the hidden depths of himself, he is busy knowing everything that is external to him and is convinced that he knows more than the other.
He separates his inner world from his external world and in this way he sees everything separated from him. There is a lack of humility in ‘human beings’ and the arrogance of considering ourselves a superior beings in the existence of which we are part and in the nature that hosts us.
Although we share the same 'breath of life' with animals, we have a unique peculiarity.
We are able to think and reason but most of us do not, perhaps out of laziness, perhaps out of fear of the dark and cowardice, perhaps in order not to lose that little 'certainty' that we have built with effort over time, and to which we are attached as of leeches convinced that without 'her' life is over.
The human being therefore as a limitation or imitation.
Thoughts that go through our mind and that we don't observe. The eternal accusation towards the other, "the different" and "the external world" without understanding that we are the only ones responsible for our life, and that the external world is nothing but our reflection. The unexpressed emotions that suffocate us, but then expressed make us explode creating unbearable and destructive situations.
What is created is undoubtedly what one is.
But who am I? Have you ever asked yourself?
Obviously I cannot help but talk about my personal experience, since it is the only one I know, having lived it. Crossing through different doors and undergoing different processes of spiritual, physical, emotional and mental knowledge and evolution, I understood what made me unhappy.
Everything started from my mind. I had obsessions. The same destructive thoughts were so deeply rooted in my head that they repeated themselves daily, minute by minute, causing me a strong anxiety and inability to live freely.
Obsession or obsessive thinking is a psychopathological phenomenon which consists of a fixed idea or a mental representation accompanied by an anxiety-induced experience and which the subject cannot control even though he is aware of it. It is a continuous thought that recurs and persists despite the efforts to ignore or eliminate it.
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One day I asked my yoga instructor what to do to stop the negative thoughts of my mind, precisely my obsessions.
His answer surprised me.
You have to work on the breath - he told me.
Breath - I thought.
I ran home and started looking for information on Internet.
"If you can master your breath you will become a master of your emotions."
Have you ever observed how breathing changes with changing emotions?
When you're angry, you breathe in a certain way; try to observe how you breathe when you are angry and then, when you feel angry, try to breathe differently: you won't be able to get angry. You can only get angry with a particular breath.
When you're in love, watch your breath: its rhythm, the music, the harmony.
If that harmony is disturbed, love will fade.
Or, create that harmony and love will appear.
If you can master your own breathing - and it's a profound science - you will become a master of your emotions. If you do not try to understand and use your respiratory system, you will not be able to enter meditation. Breathing is the bridge that links your conscious part with the unconscious. The unconscious continues to change the rhythm of your breathing, so if you become aware of this rhythm and its continuous changes, you can acquire awareness of your unconscious roots, of how the unconscious operates.
That fascinated me.
The only answer was "working with meditation".
I looked for a meditation course in London, at the Buddhist centre in Roman Road.
I started doing meditation before lunch, 3 times a week.
The sessions lasted 55 minutes. At first the only thing I could do was "travel with imagination".
I created absurd stories in my mind. But I didn't give up. I let it float. I became aware of my vivid fantasy.
Then gradually with the passing of the months, and of the years, I managed to observe more carefully my breath and those obsessions, trying to silence my mind, and I managed to got rid partially of those heavy and thinking shells that I thought I didn't have, for they had become so one with me that I thought I did not possess them ... exactly like an onion, which is one and only, but formed of layers and substrates ... just like those thin layers that make up most of the physical, mental, emotional 'structure' of human beings and that prevent us from being, if not properly observed and recognised, completely happy.
Many of these layers, we have unconsciously built over the years, others have been given to us by those who came into close contact with us, during our lifetime.
First of all the people who were our parents.
They unconsciously gave us memories already when they guarded us as a fetus inside them, and without us wanting to have, passed on their layers of fears, prejudices, anxieties, feelings of guilt, their unresolved chains ... their thoughts, at that moment in their lives.
I don't remember if I asked for wanting to be born, or if in my "eternal wandering" I need this life to understand and elevate myself.
How did your mother conceive you? Was she happy? Did she want you? Was she worried? Did she want to get rid of you? Did she pamper you? Caressed you? Did she love you? Did she see you as the most beautiful thing in the world? Or was she there to judge you? To choke you?
Who was your mother?
And your father? Did he support you? Did he love you? Did you talk to him freely? Was he close to you in your dark moments? Did he advise or scold you? Did he beat you?
Who was your father?
I always ask myself, every day; who are my parents, my sister, my brothers or my friends.
Of course they gave me life, the most beautiful miracle, but then?
Sometimes they have confused us during our growth with words that we didn't want to hear or that we didn't understand at that time (because we weren't aware) but we listened.
Our ears have been and are always open ... without knowing it, we stored information.
Some parents, those capable of communicating with their heart and more sensitive, have given great comfort and help to their children, helping them to face the difficulties along the way of their life.
Others have done the opposite. They gave hatred, thinking of doing good.
And we found ourselves next to them, unwittingly, perhaps in their most difficult moments, when unhappiness and pain were present and forgetting us (children) made us grow in their pain and rejection, in the fear of not being accepted, causing our self-esteem to collapse and feeling inadequate to love.
Because it is known that if a mother or father did not love their child authentically, did not hold him in their arms, did not listen to him, encouraged and helped him to face his darkest moments, it is unlikely that ‘that child’ will grow up with a good self-esteem, strength and pride in this existence.
No, I'm not negative. Most people, when they hear me talking say that I am negative.
I am perhaps very intense, profound, real.
I asked myself many questions in life and gave myself endless answers.
Just because I wanted to understand.
I guess it wasn't their fault. They were not awake, they were still sleeping. Perhaps they grew up in more unhealthy environments than ours, with parents more incomprehensible than them. Maybe they were not aware of their chains.
Then we had contact with our brothers and sisters with whom we met and clashed along the path of life. With some of them we've established wonderful relationships and with other infinite misunderstandings without being able to understand each other emotionally.
Born in the same family, same blood, but with different degrees of perception.
Jealousies, inferiority complexes, unhealthy thoughts that do not exist in reality (… you have more than me, I have less than you ... ) but that occupy the mediocre minds of those who are ignorant about themselves. And you can't do anything about it, you can't change the other.
The only thing you can do is change yourself and if you can't, isolate yourself and don't see them anymore.
But they are your brothers and sisters ... ! - you will tell me.
Yes, they are! ... but I assure you, sometimes, it's better to lose some people. If you are not on the same evolutionary path, words are of no use. They are long-bladed swords that cut and wound in blood.
To what extent do I want to be hurt now that I love myself?
At other times the relationships between brothers and sisters are full of love and help, and you are bound to them by a profound respect. There is communication, we accept ourselves for what we are and we understand each other because of love.
This beautiful word that we often use - L O V E - but what is Love?
Then there are friends. This is a strange category.
There are the real ones that will always remain by your side (one or two people max) and the non-real ones that will leave you in the moment of need.
Let's not forget about the boyfriends and girlfriends you think you are madly in love with, who behind the fateful little but huge word - 'I love you' - that makes you melt like an ice cream, they want to possess you with their jealousies and absurd requests ... those who never leave you free to be yourself, or if they do it, are then ready to reproach you when the right moment arises, continuing to say 'I love you' ... those who do not listen to you but then they want to be near you for fear of being alone with themselves.
But then there are also the ‘real ones’ ... that are there by your side as an added value.
We lived in a social context, those who lived and live in a small, lost provincial town and those who lived and live in cities or large metropolises, letting us be influenced by the collective culture, by an open or closed mentality according to the fortune that has taken place.
What about churches, priests and forgiveness of sins?
What are sins? What are churches? What are priests?
Have you ever asked yourself?
The priests who like "God" told me what was right and what was wrong.
With atrocious arrogance they wanted me to believe that I was a sinner and that I didn't deserve to live happily. They made us believe that there is another life called heaven and hell, when heaven and hell are only here on this earth.
Human beings are made of desires. Human beings are born of sex as an act of 'love' or 'violence' before anything else.
How were you born?
They made us believe that we are dirty, that sex is dirty.
But what is sex if not creation, freedom of expression, desire or need?
What is desire?
Repressing our desires means destroying ourselves and the world.
Repression creates disasters. Freedom creates love.
We, as human beings, are full of desires and dreams and desires must be expressed freely.
Sex is a natural action and it is not a sin unless it becomes an obsession or a selfish way to inflict one's pain on another human being.
The 'priests', these strange figures, which have sprung up like mushrooms over the years, and which I don't know how they have appropriated 'divine rights', such as the right to confess and free ourselves from sins ... they, who profess themselves as 'saviours' and allow themselves to blame us or exculpate us for things we have committed, calling them "sins".
They, who want to dominate our psychological sphere, our mind, our soul.
But who are these priests?
Then, there are the psychologists who are taking the place of the priests.
In fact, the psychologist is slowly taking the place of the priest, because the priest has become out of fashion.
The younger generations are no longer interested in priests: they have seen, in five thousand years of human history, what these priests have done. The younger generations are more interested in psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, or other different methods of psychic exploration.
It is about to become a necessary qualification for every bishop, for every priest, to have some degree in psychology, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis because they are aware that their power is diminishing and psychologists are replacing them.
Psychologists are becoming the ‘new priests’.
But the problem is that the new priest is also at the service of the old consolidated power: he is not a revolutionary.
Then, we have our wonderful society ... which imposed us a wrong way of living and rules to follow, professing itself 'democratic'.
A society that make us believe that everything is beautiful and wonderful, hiding the 'true' ... educating ourselves to separation, to conflict: 'the neighbor's grass is always greener', to feel jealousy and envy for those who have more.
What is society if not a group of people who are subject to common laws and regulations and configure an orderly system of moral, cultural, legal, political and economic relations.
The individual creates the society.
Society is nothing but the mirror of the individual.
The more individuals that make up society are dis-informed and mediocre the more society will represent dis-information and mediocrity.
We perpetuate ignorance, uncivilisation.
Then we have the creation of the family.
The family as one of the many prisons ... or is it a liberation?
Most families create psychological disorders in children, they try to educate them without respecting them. The child is not respected in the free expression of his own potential.
We want to create an imitation, not an authentic individual, because the authentic individual is not manageable by families and society.
The authentic individual has his own intelligence and it is dangerous for the family and for the system because he is a rebel.
He would not be accepted but he could change many things.
The politics made up of people who "kill off" each other, this overlapping of voices, speeches that are not understood, fights on TV, a communication that does not exist. The politician is our employee, our servant, not our master.
We pay him with our money.
How can you be a politician without having the ability to listen and communicate?
And then, the people who watch television, nailed to the chair all day to believe in their words and then realise that they are just 'piles of words' blaming others for what happens and not themselves.
What does the individual do to change himself and the surrounding reality?
The economy that is happiness, but the happiness that has been obscured, the freedom that has been supplanted, the human rights that have been trampled on, the man seen as a bargaining chip.
We are now enslaved without realising it: the interests of food, pharmaceutical, banking, political corporations, social networks, weapons, oil interests ... that make us puppets without values inside ...
We are emptied ... because we are satisfied. Are we?
And we buy their services and goods sold with lively commercials, where everything is wonderful. Where did our freedom end up? Why do we choose and enrich those who do not make us feel good? How can we consent to all this? Are we informed? Do we love ourselves?Why don't we use our freedom to change ourselves first and the world?
The banks that take our money. The state that appropriates our money. The politic that does not exist, all that is governed by the economy ... an unhappy economy led by those few riches who want more and more to destroy us, using our ignorance to create more money.
The civilisation that is utopia, the mediocrity of 'defining oneself' as a human being without having the humility to truly discover oneself, and create a better humanity and consequently a better world, where there is respect for others' freedom, for others' happiness, for love as the only religion.
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My whole life has been a continuous struggle for freedom. Funnily I had to fight for my natural right.
I never understood why I had to fight for my freedom, if it's my innate right.
It is part of me: the freedom to be myself, freedom without conditioning, freedom without separation, freedom without prejudice, freedom without a religious belief, freedom without boundaries, the freedom with which I was born and feel a citizen of the world, the freedom to be a 'human being' with my innate rights from birth: the right to life, to happiness, to love, to freedom, to joy ...
Nobody can give me these rights. They are mine.
Who are you who want to enslave me? I was born free and I always will be.
From birth I had to face the mental limitations, first of all that of my parents, who didn't let me be myself. He lacked self-confidence.
As a child I had to suffer psychologically, emotionally and mentally. Why?
I didn't ask to be treated like that.
I didn't ask to come into this world.
But I came in this world and I am a free being.
And as 'free beings' we want to be respected and honored, we want to grow up happily, we want to be supported, loved, we want to live peacefully.
How could you not realise the harm you could do to someone who didn't want to know anything about your problems, your anxieties, your fears, your violence, your ideologies ...
Where was and where is the respect for a child? Respect for yourself?
I didn't ask to give me life with your chains. You gave them to me, as a weight that I then had to carry with me so far. My back bent more and more forward, feeling the damn heavy boulder of things that didn't belong to me.
I don't want those chains anymore.
I suffered violence, but I never gave up my freedom even if everything weighed on me, weakened me, knocked me down, destroyed me.
I didn't ask to let me live as if life was a boulder instead of a formidable experience.
But luckily, I got there alone, without you, over time.
I had to suffer, swallow, ruin my stomach, my mind, my heart.
I ran away, I left home, I left my country.
I could no longer live with you and your chains that had become mine.
My mother spied on me, followed me, checked me on every occasion and I had to wear a mask that I didn't like, I had to tell lies because the truth caused me problems.
They didn't believe me. They didn’t believe the truth.
My father was a violent father, who never learned to communicate emotionally and the only thing he did was to swear and beat when I disobeyed.
But for me that was respect for myself, not disobedience, respect for my freedom as a human being. Disobedience is intelligence. Now it doesn't do it anymore. And then, people who talked and talked ... "lit the fire". Some things I can't forget.
Even now, they look at me and believe that 'I am still a loser' because I am without a home, without a car, without a family, without a job.
Am I a loser for what I don't have?
I don't need a house, or a car or family to define me. I'm not that narrow. I am immense and infinite like the Universe, and now you can think of me what you want.
I ran away at 18 y/o. I remember that day.
I also had a plaster cast on my left leg after a very bad accident where I broke both of my legs and went to study Economics in Bologna.
I was confused.
My artistic work
Around the age of 40 I collapsed, mentally, emotionally and then physically.
I was living in London.
I realised that I had accumulated resentment, guilt, anger, lies ... and my relationship partners accused me of being unhappy because of me.
One even wanted to jump from the fourth floor of one building and another told me that I had transformed him from a sublime being into a beast.
He was bi-polar and depended on alcohol.
I watched them stunned without being able to understand their violent reactions to my words. They criticised me constantly, blaming me for their unhappiness.
At first, I actually thought I was responsible for their unhappiness, but then, I learned that happiness is something that you have inside you and cannot be created or destroyed by anyone but yourself.
Happiness is our responsibility and nobody else's.
1.I am your mirror
From there the beginning of my work, "I am your mirror".
A world collapsed on me. Maybe it was good.
I wanted to understand what was wrong with me and instead of photographing people I knew (… relatives, friends, boyfriends ... etc ...) with whom I had already established a habitual relationship, I wanted to explore the 'unknown', to understand what were the reasons for which already established human relationships did not work, in most cases.
Were they due to repetitive habits? To attitudes and masks of defence that strangely formed or came to the surface unconsciously without the subjects were realising it?
At the beginning it also happened to me, to be led unconsciously by negative thoughts and emotions, which then, became misunderstandings and incommunicability in the present moment, without me being able to recognise and control them.
I think that most relationships between people work this way. We play a part, many times, without being aware.
My mind was an accumulation of twisted thoughts, which were repeating, continuously with the same intensity, as a hammer that heavily beats on a nail.
I had no peace.
In my mind I was creating absurd stories.
Repetition was deleterious and I wanted to create silence.
From there the necessity to create a photographic project that helped me to re-acquire self-esteem and strength in myself that I felt, I was missing deeply.
I was a beginner with the camera.
I didn't have one of mine yet, but I had wealthy friends (then they disappeared from my life) and as long as they were present I borrowed their analog cameras and depending on availability I tried to organise the meetings with my strangers.
First thing I did was to put an advert on gumtree.com.
I went there to look for people who had obsessions, fears, difficulties in being themselves, exactly like me, at that moment. I asked them to meet me where they wanted and spend an hour or more of their time with me using my camera as a mirror.
From there the beginning of a photographic project called 'I am your Mirror'.
My journey to an unknown world began with the exploration of myself through others, exactly like a mirror, a reflection, an observation full of beauty and ugliness, darkness and light, fear and love.
‘I am your mirror’ concerns the prejudice and acceptance of oneself.
The project is made in London.
I searched all the subjects via the Internet.
I met them with enthusiasm, an open mind and without judgements.
I wanted things to happen as they should happen, open to letting everything manifest as it was, without intervening.
The camera became a "means" to access unknown worlds and I was just a friend with whom they could relax and be themselves.
The camera was the mirror that reflected their being and mine at that present moment, which then changed with us.
I realised, that the energy of the subjects involved reached very high levels simply due to the possibility of expressing themselves freely without the fear of being judged or defined. Definitions limit us, classify us, label us.
Fears if experienced with curiosity in the unknown, expand us towards a world without definitions / limitations.
That state of mind, when we feel at ease with ourselves, gives us the opportunity to open up completely. Only then, we are able to show secrets, and make confessions that we never would have said in other circumstances, we strip off those layers of onion, which I mentioned earlier and one enters a state of deep intimacy with oneself without boundaries, where the other is simply a reflection, whether we like it or not of our certainties and fears, of our strengths and limitations.
What did I represent with a photograph?
Did I represent them? .... or myself?
Everything is a process. The final photo represents the death of the same process. Everything starts and everything ends. We cannot explain a process, we can only live it.
Some of the pictures I took, look disturbing. When I see them as a spectator, I understand how people can feel, when they look at them. Most of the times, the annoyance in the other is connected with a part of ourselves that still disturbs us, and with which we still have a lot of work to do.
From there the prejudice.But what is a prejudice?
Prejudice is a negative assessment of a person or a particular situation. It is an anticipatory judgment that is not completely real, because it is not based on concrete facts.
It is a vicious circle, from which we must free ourselves, starting to reason with our own head, making our fears fall and going beyond the negative evaluations at first sight.
How do we eliminate a prejudice?
First of all to break down the barriers it is important to put oneself in the other's shoes, identify oneself with the victim of prejudice, adopting the same behavior towards the other, that one would like to receive.
Prejudices are the children of ignorance and superficiality.
We must enhance our curiosity and abandon closed thoughts, we must experiment with new ways of thinking and challenging beliefs that are held tight. Having an open mind allows us to be tolerant, open-minded, resourceful, adaptable and respectful.
The prejudices obviously have consequences, triggering uncontrolled chain reactions, which can lead to racism and discrimination, lack of self-esteem and depression; they can even become a cause of suicide.
It is necessary to work on one's own interiority to learn to face prejudices against oneself and others that cause pain, so it is important to take responsibility, free the mind from this handicap that leads to nothing, thus breaking down a virtual wall around objective reasoning.
Therefore increase our self-esteem. We must learn to accept ourselves.
2.Love, Sex & Relationship
Immediately afterwards, I began to work on 'Love, Sex & Relationship'.
It is my second photography / video / book project, while I was living an 'abusive relationship' that lasted nine months.
I didn't want to be with him right from the start.
I know this sounds like a contradiction, but there are probably needs in the human being, even if they are wrong, that they want to be satisfied and understood, in particular periods of our lives.
I remember that there was a little voice inside me that warned me. And I heard her telling me something. But I didn't listen to it.
In all intimate relationships sooner or later you get hurt. But also you clarify and apologise.
I understood that the relationship did not work. But there was a strange attraction that pushed me towards him, which I could not understand and control.
He said that his drinking problems were caused by my negative behavior towards him.
Many times, he left me alone, either in the middle of the street, in a pub or at home, shouting at me, finding an excuse, in my words, for going out and get drunk somewhere and then call me at 3 in the morning making me talk on the phone with women he met on the street, and the next day don't remember anything.
Already all this was enough to discourage a relationship.
I was continually angry and I began to become jealous of someone who didn't respect me (or was I perhaps not respecting me?). And every time I forgave him because I thought alcohol was the reason for his discomfort of the moment and I wanted to help him.
But in this way I was put aside the love for myself. Too much empathy hurts at some point.
We must be able to understand to what extent we venture into the unknown intricacies of those in front of us, and abandon everything if it does not make us feel good.
This is where the strength of loving oneself resides.
Slowly, I realised that I was about to lose myself again, but the awareness of my being lost, gave me the strength to want to find out why I continued to be in a 'relationship' with this violent man, although we didn't want to be together.
Consciously, I started a new project to understand what love is, what sex is and what a relationship is. Again, the camera was my inseparable friend of adventure, a means to understand and get out of a rather difficult situation.
I decided to interview couples and individuals (25 people) who were in a relationship.
I asked them the same questions ending up with a six-hour video (from 40 hours of interviews) and photographs in black and white.
What is abuse?
Abuse is when the screams, the aggressions, and the threats are constant and serve to make us frighten, to feel small, unable to defend ourselves.
Many times, they also serve to make us feel guilty and lead us to apologise for things we did not commit.
We are in an abusive relationship when we feel something strange inside, sometimes even just a vague feeling, that something is "wrong" in the relationship: the other has so much power over us and we feel we don't have any, we are not free to express ourselves , but forced to change to adapt to him. We feel controlled, stuck, angry and powerless.
All this is emotional abuse. Not love.
Once again, with my camera, I had the opportunity to express myself, to enter into a relationship with the other, to be completely open to listening without judgment, and able to establish a sincere relationship, to speak of love and relationship, of betrayal, abuse, respect, intimacy with people I didn't know, to look into their eyes and to emotionally share my experience by listening to their experiences and then evaluate mine.
In the listening process, after interviewing 25 individuals, including my ex, my mother and father and a 7-year-old girl, I realised that what I was missing and what I was looking for was above all love for myself. I had entered a vicious circle of dependency, I had left my power to someone capable of destroying me.
And from there a new awareness ... that what I saw and the love I felt were nothing but dependence on love, and therefore not love.
I was now able to recognize the evil that was done to me and able to heal once I recognised the evil.
We cannot heal from what we do not see.
Until we see it (that evil) we will continue to behave according to pre-established unconscious patterns (fears, habits ...). It is important to have these dynamics clear, to focus on these mechanisms. Because we can't heal from what we can't see.
Emotional abuse is insidious and difficult to recognise.
Abuse is a gradual spiraling process in which it sinks over time. It is also difficult to give voice, to find words to reveal and expose one's own traumatic experience, even to oneself.
But it is from the awareness that we start: injustice must be recognised and find a place within us.
The abuse damages deeply, there are many wounds to treat, there is a need to strengthen the sense of personal value and the ability to protect oneself in relationships.
Often, attempts are made to resolve through new relationships, but those who have suffered tend to be attracted by "familiarity" with potentially aggressive partners, as if they were not able to deserve better, ignoring dangerous signs, desperately thinking they can overcome them.
This is why it is important to realise the mechanisms of power imbalance in the relationship, to re-read all those little things that together make a huge thing. Looking at each other and recognising that no, what happens does not depend on us, it is not our fault, we are not responsible for the disturbed behaviour of the other.
The comparison/conversations with other people, the so-called "outside perspectives” gave me the strength to overcome the old models, and to acquire courageously strength.
The camera, the use of the camera was a powerful means of healing.
In my case, it helped me to cure many internal wounds and to recognise my rocky layers formed over the years, to observe them first and then to look at them, to try to understand and then eliminate them, one at a time.
I met photography very late. I was 33 years old. My first camera was found near the garbage in 2009 when I lived in Florida St, London.
Over the years, I have interpreted it as a gift from heaven to free myself, understand and solve the deep problems that resided in my deepest being, to discover myself, to confront myself with the rest of the world, with humanity and going out of the box that my narrow reality, my country, my church, my family, my prison wanted to force me.
My too much freedom as a child was annoying.
That freedom clashed with the traditional patterns of the conservative southern family, of the condition of the female firstborn free, of the church, of the prejudice of a small village where what matters is what one possesses and what one says about the other and not one's own freedom.
3.The Theatre of the Mind
In the creation of ‘Love, Sex & Relationship’ I realized how thoughts can influence reality and how important it is to be able to recognise and control them, how materially they become true over the years. I realised how difficult it is to stay awake and conscious in the present moment, how important it is to select what makes us feel good from what makes us sick and that we are the only ones responsible for our own reality.
In that moment of total lucidity I ventured into another video and photography project called "The theatre of the mind", to understand how much we are really aware of our choices.
At that time I was reading a fabulous book by Maxwell Maltz – Psycho Cybernetic.
Moved by this new awareness and conscious that the mind can be guided to its own service, I decided to interview and photograph seven subjects met on the street. I would have meet them for just one day at their home, and on that day I would have made a little video interview with them and taken few pictures.
I was wondering what trust is. Who really is someone who strongly knows himself. Is he afraid of being himself in any occasion or is he completely authentic?
I came into contact with 7 characters: a cross-dresser, a young woman with a burka, a comedian, a transgender person, a person who, over the years, had built an alter ego to feel at ease, an art performer and a 6 year old girl.
I went to visit them in their homes, asking them very private questions to which they responded in all sincerity.
I documented everything. I was keenly and completely interested in their lives and their stories. And I discovered that the image of oneself is the greatest challenge that every human being has to face sooner or later in his life. It is the way we see ourselves, the attitude towards ourselves, and how we think we are. The self-image is built on the basis of one's beliefs and convictions regarding oneself, on the positive and negative characteristics of the character.
What is also called self-esteem is not the way you really are or the way others think you are, it's the way you think you are. It is like a luminous sign, turned on 24 hours a day that tells who we are and what we believe in and this sign radiates its information in and around us, so that other people unconsciously perceive it and react accordingly.
The concept of 'self-image' was conceived by Maxwell Maltz, a cosmetic surgeon, who realised, at a time when cosmetic surgery was aimed at problems much more serious than the current ones, that even after a perfectly successful operation people were not happier than before, as one would expect, but they continued to show some dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
At that moment he understood that each of us has an image of himself that does not exactly overlap with the external image.
When we close our eyes and visualise ourselves (and we always do it even if we are not aware several times a day) we often focus on some small imperfections that nobody notices like a negative behavior or a problem that we think is without solution and day after day this negative programming can become a bigger problem than it really is, a mental pattern of behavior.
The image of the 'self' is the key to human personality and behavior.
Change the image of the self and you will change your personality and behavior.
Beyond that, the image of the self establishes the limits of the individual, indicating what can and what cannot be done. Extend this image, and you’ll extend the "zone of the possible".
The development of a fair and realistic image of the self will seem to give the individual new skills, a new talent and even will change failures into successes. So it happens that you end up adapting to the routine, even if you don't like it, that you give up venturing into new projects and prefer to stay in a relationship that impoverishes you.
Then suddenly something happened to me.
4. L'oscurità, ma Io ho una luce
I started feeling sick, losing 7.3 pounds of weight in two months and from there a treatable but not curable disease to my gut, which is my emotional brain.
I had to abandon everything, my life in London after having lived 11 years, my work, my friends, my independence and return to the country from which I had fled 25 years ago, to take refuge in the countryside of my own in solitude .
Two years passed. Now I am still here. What did I do?
I worked on my four projects. They were a messy heap of sheets, videos, photographs, notes collected in folders scattered in my hard drives. I struggled to put them together, I was not at my best but I wanted to shape them, create them, make them visible, tangible.
I had to learn Adobe Premiere and Indesign but I consciously took advantage of this two-year period to conclude them, because I really need to turn page.
I worked incessantly in the making of two video-interviews: 'Love, Sex & Relationship' (6 hours with English subtitles ) and the 'Theatre of the mind' (7 individual videos lasting 5 and a half hours with subtitles in English) and in addition I realised four photographic books containing my stories of personal and human research, photographs and poems,
I remember my 55 days in hospital. I arrived there almost dead.
I found myself writing and reading because it was the only thing I could do to free myself from anxiety and take information about my personal situation, how to be healthy, nutrition, yoga and Qi gong, and how to succeed to get me out of this chronic disease after my life has suffered such a trauma.
I had to learn to re-program my whole being, recognise unreal negative thoughts and turn them into positive hope.
I had to learn to transcend myself, my problems, to have an unconditional faith and to think that without any doubt I would have made it and continue to work and achieve my goals, despite the difficulties that gripped me and wanted throw me down but I didn't allow it.
A journey on its own that scared me but I had the courage to live it.
I started writing sheets of thoughts that I then assembled creating a fourth book - project, which I called – l’oscurità ma io ho una luce.
I found light in the most complete darkness of my life.
The book is a hymn to life and to the praise of the little things we take for granted.
It is an advice given to myself and every single individual, to become a responsible, to take care of ourselves, to believe that everything happens for a positive reason and that everything can be overcome, if we want.
In my case the loss of everything made me completely regain myself and these photography books, which I hope in the future, can enlighten the souls of those who find themselves trapped in limbo and do not yet know how to find that light to eliminate darkness.
It is difficult to illuminate one's own darkness and understand that that darkness never existed. Darkness is just our creation. The darkness is illuminated by light. The presence of light cancels the darkness.
What is a disease? What is impotence? ... that impotence of not being able to look up to the sky because you don't have the strength.
The lack of physical strength is terrible. If there is no energy there is no life.
Take care of yourself first and foremost, your body and your mind, your breath and your heart.
The book (280 pages) was written in the most acute period of my illness.
A spontaneous way to discharge that pain and powerlessness outside of me, to feel mentally active in a place, the hospital where your brain atrophies, especially after so many days of stay.
Observing the time that passes inexorably, living in another prison, not being able to move, not being able to walk, tied to drips and parenteral solutions and steroids, 24 hours a day.
When I could, I started researching information about my illness, about traditional and alternative, holistic medicine; from nutrition and the discovery of new and alternative lifestyles to control my personal stress and lighten my mind trying to reduce my inner weight by introducing disciplines such as yoga, Qi gong and meditation as a daily practice, to regain control of my mind and, therefore, of my life.
It was and is the darkest period of my life, but also the brightest from an other point of view.. In my memory and in my body, the pain caused by myself, alone, remains marked: simply because I forgot about myself.
A small symptom, if distracted can become something destructive, can cause you death
"Forgetting ourselves" is the evil of today.
We are all committed to leading a hectic existence. But at some point, perhaps it does not happen to everyone, we find ourselves on the ground, put on our knees, without having any strength to react.
The impotence of not being able to walk, or write, or drink a glass of water or not being able to talk because you don't have the strength to do it. Impotence as an absolute and demeaning absence of the normal or necessary abilities is a huge wall that presents itself to you at a certain point in your life.
From there, there is no reaction but only acceptance and then unconditional faith that everything will settle down over time.
The experience of pain is not simply physical; it is also emotional and psychological. However, the cognitive mind is not alone in forming memories of pain.
Current research on the nervous system has discovered that this too can form memories of pain, which can persist even after tissue removal.
Researchers have discovered chronic pain by erasing memories stored in the brain.
It is known that the central nervous system "recalls" painful experiences; that leave a trace of memory. This is because the brain remembers the pain.
Is it possible, consciously, to erase our memory? Is it possible to rewrite our internal programs? Once the pain has been erased from memory, would it be possible to heal?
But what is the memory of pain?
This is my body of work, from 2013-2019. Without all this I would not be what I am today.
I am grateful to life and I thank all those people and situations that have caused me discomfort, pain because from there my greatest achievements were born.
I thank my parents, who, despite everything, I love, because without them I would not be the woman who I am now.
It took so many years to understand that life is a wonderful story and only by looking back we can understand who we are ... but now, right now here with you, there is only a moment, this moment where past, present and future meet.
Believe me ... everything is possible. The limits are only created by the mind, not by the heart.
Just do what you love.
This is my story and my work - Hope you like it and always you'll find the strength to never give up.
I am looking for 'illuminates publishers' interested in my projects. Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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