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Interview

Camillo Pasquarelli: By looking at recent projects, I deal very much with social and cultural issues

text:
Futures Photography
Date:
December 7, 2020
“Despite photography is my very first love, recently my attention has been driven toward a wider meaning of ‘image’: that could mean second-hand photographs, moving images, documents, X-rays.” In this interview, meet Camillo Pasquarelli, nominated for Futures by CAMERA.

Camillo is interested in long-term projects adopting photography as a tool of knowledge contaminated by the self-reflective approach of anthropology. In the last five years he has been working extensively in the valley of Kashmir, India, at first documenting the political conflict between the population and the Indian administration, and later trying to explore a more personal and oneiric approach to the issue. This project is being published this December with Witty Books.

Below, he talks about his projects and inspirations:

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Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations? Which themes do you often work with?

I would say that I often find myself inspired by movies, books, music, conversations and my daily life in general. The spark can also come by chance, but from that moment I start doing a lot of research before starting to take pictures. Then, when I am actually on the field, I let my instinct take over immersing myself completely into the place or social environment that I am willing to investigate. I think that serendipity plays a crucial role at this stage.

I don’t really have specific topics triggering my attention more than others. In fact, I enjoy changing themes very often. But if I have to look at my latest projects, I would say I deal very much with social and cultural issues exploring in particular notions as identity, memory, perception and history.

How do you see your relationship with the medium? How do you use photography to express your art?

Despite photography is my very first love, recently my attention has been driven toward a wider meaning of “image”: that could mean second-hand photographs, moving images, documents, X-rays.

Collaborations and contaminations from different fields, arts and with different profiles is something that I feel very attracted to right now, in order to reach a more collaborative and interdisciplinary practice. But I preserve a unique inclination to the great power of ambiguity contained into photography when it engages the viewer in a very active relationship.

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Do you have any ongoing (or more recent) project that you would like to share with us?

My latest work, “Monsoons never cross the mountains” (featured in this page) published by Witty Books in 2020, is a visual investigation of the Kashmir issue through the eyes of the children. It is an attempt to explore a place and engage the iconography of conflict photography with a narrative that tries to evoke and disorient rather than explain. This body of work is definitely contaminated and influenced by my previous studies in Anthropology which brought me to Kashmir in 2015 for my master thesis.

I am now focusing on a new work regarding the figure of Cristopher Columbus and his legacy. The core of this investigation will be the role of his memorialization, how it is perceived and its implications in Italy and in USA, especially among Native and Italian American communities.

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We have been facing a lot of challenges this year. How do you see this moment for art? Is it changing your practice?

It is definitely affecting my practice, especially regarding all the travel restrictions we are facing. I was preparing a trip to the United States in the spring to begin the work about Columbus just when the pandemic broke out.

But personally, I feel a further, and more problematic, issue emerging when I try to think and plan the projects I would like to work on shortly: creating images today means that it will be difficult to avoid the visual references of this pandemic, such as people with masks. What worries me most is to create a body of work that will always be included in the "covid period" box even if it doesn't address that issue at all.

What do you expect from this experience as a Futures talent?

Being part of the Future program is a great experience and I expect to discover interesting new bodies of work from the other artists selected having the precious opportunity to meet curators and publishers. For my experience, I can say that networking and having different feedbacks and advices from experts can be a crucial moment of growth for my career.

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