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Interview

Introducing: Valeria Cherchi

text:
Futures Photography
Date:
November 15, 2018
Valeria Cherchi is an Italian photographer nominated by The British Journal of Photography as Futures Talent. After her master in Fashion Photography at the University of the Arts in London, she went back to Sardinia, her native land, and started to focus on the connection between her personal experience and memories together with the facts and the history of the island. She created the body of work "Some of you killed Luisa", currently on-going, related to one of the darkest moment of the 70's in Sardinia where 200 people have been kidnapped and some murdered in acts of vigilante justice. With this work she has been nominated as "Ones to watch" by BJP and exhibited across Europe.

In this interview, she talks about her inspirations and career:

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What are the main themes that drive your practice? What inspires you?

My practice focuses on projects confronting social and cultural issues. I normally start the research process driven by the need to explore topics such as time, memories and history connected to my personal experience. I am inspired by true and tangible character-driven stories, often told by combining photography and text.

How would you describe your relationship to the medium and how you use photography to express yourself?

Photography is a relevant tool to be consciously used to speak out. It is a way to state something important about myself in relation to the society I am living in. I analyse a particular personal experience and try to examine it on a large scale. The outcome of the photographic research has to be tangible, for myself and for the viewer. By tangible I mean to raise awareness of an issue and to question it via an analytical process, not necessarily by finding an answer.

Photography is firstly a medium of communication, and to be recognised as such it needs to ‘document a true’communication between yourself as a human being, with the subjects of your research and with the viewer. In between this communication there remains the “How”, which should never be neglected. I opt to take my time in order to understand the most suitable way to gain information from my subjects and enable the observation of the communication between them, the viewer and myself.

In my work the photographic process represents an important learning exchange, especially in regards to the dichotomy of communication-silence. Silence can be terrifying and dangerous, communication can bring growth, both on a personal level and by looking into society. This is epitomised by the quotation from Joy Hendry:“The West is overly concerned with 'unwrapping,' with revealing the essence of things. We should rather look at the method of concealment.

What did you take away from the Futures meeting during Unseen Amsterdam?

The Futures meeting during UnseenAmsterdam was an invaluable opportunity to know more about the practice of the other photographers, likewise for meeting new artists in person and having the chance to confront and contrast our respective artistic processes.

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You are one of the selected talents for Futures, how do you think Futures can help you in your career?

As an artist it is important to take part in festivals and events but often it can be difficult to afford the participation in practical terms; it's therefore extremely important to have another way to meet professionals, new markets and audiences and this practical access will surely help me in my career.  

Could you tell us a bit about your plans for the near future?

I am planning to spend the last months of this year principally in Sardinia working on my ongoing project about kidnapping “Some of you killed Luisa”. It is approaching its end and I am extremely excited about the completion of this work which has been so rewarding already. Next year I will start working on the book of the project. It will be my first book and will include both my own photography and text. I am also very much looking forward to starting -hopefully early- next year the research for a new project, which will be about one of the dark side of contemporary Italian society.

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