In a recent interview, granted to f50 member Matteo Ceschi by Italian artist/director/photographer Federico Garibaldi, the latter talked about how he felt after completing an assignment. Federico described the feeling as “something in between a state of mind and a state of heart”.
This description immediately resonated with us and led us to consider how this notion of head and heart might exist in our own imagery. Here are our own responses.
When as a collective we decided to take inspiration for a new photo project from a concept expressed by artist friend Federico Garibaldi, I started to reflect on how I could “translate” in frames this existential core concept. I had many ideas but none really convinced me in the end.
One morning walking around the city with another friend I came across a small bamboo forest. The stems rose up to 15-20 meters and here and there there was evidence of vandalism. The strange and spontaneous presence of exotic plants in a polluted city and the damaged and broken stems aroused something in me. On the one hand my emotional part pushed me to feel disgust at the signs of vandalism and to wish the worst for those responsible for it; on the other, the rational part has led me to consider the strength of the wilderness, capable of resisting anything and thriving even in the most unthinkable environments.
I started shooting, a bit with my cameras (Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Fuji X100) and a little with that of my friend (an amazing Leica M9) and click after click my “state of heart” began to blend with my “state of mind”.
The solution was more simple than I thought: I just needed to find the right provocation!
Federico’s description – echoing René Descartes’ notion of mind-body dualism – parallels a recurring theme of my own street photography. Capturing people ‘lost in thought’; distracted from the surrounding reality by the act of processing their personal thoughts and feelings.
Federico suggests personal experience is the result of this interaction between our intellect and emotions. Could this explain those candid off-guard moments when facial expressions are unposed, glances revealing, gestures unconscious and behaviour idiosyncratic?
All images taken in Liverpool city centre.
When the idea of “state of mind/ state of heart”, was originally mentioned as a theme for a group post, it immediately brought to mind, for me, cinematic imagery. I had been thinking about the films of Luis Bunuel at the time, especially his collaboration with Salvador Dali, ‘Un Chien Andalou“. I liked the idea of disjointed imagery and the play in one’s mind of trying to put it all together to formulate a story. The idea of disorder and the human mind trying for order was very appealing.