Final Major Project – The Genesis

I’ve finally decided to inaugurate this blog with some thoughts about my final major project.

First of all I would like to explain why it took me so long to start using this blog: I’m italian and my english is so poor that I often feel too embarrassed  to write in this language and I make many mistakes.

Anyway I’ve decided that I should make an effort to overcome this problem to be able to document the progresses of my final major project.

This is the most important project of my course of studies, it determines most of my degree grade and it is quite long, starting in January and ending in May.

Well, actually it was supposed to begin in January, but I had a huge creative block and I didn’t shoot anything until approximately three weeks ago.

I couldn’t come up with any good idea, I was stuck because I couldn’t think of anything that would be good enough for such an important project.

After all the research about semiotics that I’ve done to write my dissertation I’ve found myself skeptical about many aspects of photography as a media and this disillusionment about the essence of my discipline wasn’t helping the genesis of this project at all.

I kept thinking about why I photograph and if there is any meaning in my practice beyond my shallow enjoyment of taking pictures.

Every time that I’m stuck with my work I tend to move in the college library and spend my days researching the work of other photographers, reading interviews, looking at pictures and absorbing informations like a sponge.

I normally end up more confused than ever till I get some sort of mystic englightment about the what to do.

For this project I’ve found myself coming back frequently to the work of Diane Arbus, Michal Chelbin and Mary Ellen Mark, three female photographers who deeply inspire me.

I was particularly fascinated by the pictures of circus performers of these photographers, but I didn’t want to do the same kind of work and I finally got the idea of making my project about the street performers who act as living statues.

Performers of this kind are a common sight in the street of Rome and I have always been fascinated by their acts, since I first saw them when I was a little girl.

Ten years ago there were only a few living statues working in Rome, passionate mime artists with elaborate and original costumes, while nowadays the city centre is crowded by street performers working sometimes at a distance of a few meters from each other in the main touristic streets like via del Corso and via dei Fori Imperiali.

Nowadays most of the “living statues” are just beggars and immigrants who wear standardized costumes with  plastic masks to conceal their identities and the occasional movement of the face.

I soon realised that it could be an interesting topic for my major project because of the different questions that it could explore (like the role of the street performer in modern society and the immigration problem in Italy).