La bête noire de Saussure c’était l’arbitraire  (du signe).

 On sera scientifique par manque de subtilité.

Roland Barthes

Alexia Clorinda selfportrait


I see photojournalism with skepticism. It either dramatizes or estheticizes the Other without understanding, integrating the horror, the exotic and the need to invest them in something as part of a secure consuming technocratic society. Press photographers are always very sure of what they want to say, they always fill the images with meaning and just one meaning because our alienated society need it. Photojournalism produces images and mass cultures consume them. The relation is pure capitalistic.

Through the cameras people become customers or tourists of reality and the abundance and distribution of images made reality itself little more than a spectacle.  I agree with Susan Sontag: “one has no right to experience the suffering of others at a distance, denuded of its raw power”. It is absurd that in well off countries people have the dubious privilege of being spectators or of declining to be spectators of other people‘s pain, just as it is absurd to generalize about the ability to respond to the suffering of others on the basis of the mind set of those consumers of news who know nothing at first-hand about war and massive injustice.

The great photographer Robert Capa said that if a photograph failed, it was not taken close enough. But that’s not always true. To be close sometimes means to be impudique and in this case everything is missed. Moreover, the reader of the image will feel embarrassed by any abusive familiarity. To be a photographer does not mean to be a voyeur. Anyhow, between indifference and indiscretion, there is a fair distance: close enough to expose oneself, far enough not to be intrusive. Intimacy is only possible if it is shared by the person photographing and the person being photographed. Entering the chamber of joys and misfortunes requires the photographer to be involved in the socio-cultural context, to accept being judged and watched too. and not look at what he is not allowed to see.

In my practice, I photograph what I cannot understand and to understand for me it’s a way to suspend meaning and sharp my incomprehension. Part of understanding is to embrace the not understanding, to inhabit a feeling of uncompletable understanding. Before looking at, I am looked by. The camera for me is a meter that measures the distance between us and a photograph is the result of a dialogue. Dialogue is more than a conversation, it’s an act of mutual trust. It takes me a long time to be able to say something about my images. I stare for hours at the photographs I have made. They seem to know more than I do. It’s difficult to encounter the Other. In this encounter lays the possibility of self-transcendence in the way that the Other discloses another other in myself overcoming the need to belong to a specific culture, tradition, code. What I want to say is visualized in my self-portrait. It’s a (re)presentation of (my)self as nomadic, diasporic, transitional.