Photography Chiara Borgaro’s black and white shots

Chiara Borgaro’s black and white shots

Giulia Guido

Don’t try to look for hidden explanations, looking at Chiara Borgaro‘s photographs there is only one thing to do: let yourself go.

Chiara Borgaro is an Italian photographer who now lives and works in Turin. Scrolling through her shots we can see two recurring elements on which her artistic research is based: the use of black and white and the link between man and nature. We find ourselves in front of photographs in which the silhouettes of young women blend with the rocks, the trees, the earth, the sky and our imagination.

Some of Chiara Borgaro’s shots will be exhibited for Ph.ocus – About Photography in the “Please, Take Care” section and for the occasion, we didn’t let them tell us anything more about her work and her style. Don’t miss our interview below!

What’s the first memory you have of photography? 

Maybe the image of my grandmother who occasionally asked me to follow her in the tavern at home, where she still keeps a large amount of old photographs in a drawer. She used to tell me that she wasn’t interested in photography at all, but when she found all those memories running through her fingers it was as if she forgot how little she cared about it. She tried to remember who was portrayed in those pictures, it wasn’t always easy to find them. Some of them were family members who had emigrated to Argentina, others were old school mates, then there were the family photos, of when she and her grandfather were young. For each one of them, the story began to be told and I knew that it was only our own moment.

Often your shots are in black and white. What makes you choose this technique and what aspects of it do you appreciate the most? 

One day a song was born as a joke that a friend of mine wrote about me and in one verse he quotes a black and white world, calling it a bit nostalgic. Well, the choice perhaps ties in well with this feeling that characterizes me and keeps me always tied in a rather romantic way to the past.

Photographing in black and white allows me to give reality another dimension, to leave room for the imagination and it is precisely the images that are generated in my mind, often surreal, that I am interested in reproducing. I don’t want to recreate reality, that’s why I don’t need colors. The viewer can certainly intuit them and they may not necessarily correspond to the real ones, which is why it is an exercise in imagination for the observer too.

Many times your photographs develop around a human figure. What do you want to convey and tell through the bodies you photograph? 

Exactly, they are bodies that become part of the landscape, of the context they are surrounded by. Often it is as if they are somehow deprived of their proper human dimension. They become like a tree, a stone or any other natural element.

My photography is not intended to convey messages, but rather seeks to extend to the viewer the possibility of finding meaning. Many times they are intimate images, which generate from a personal (perhaps selfish?) need for expression, and not even I am able to fully attribute their meaning.

Perhaps this is exactly how one leaves room for imagination, widening, rather than narrowing, the possibilities of interpretation.

Part of your project realized about Porta Palazzo will be exhibited at Paratissima. Tell us and tell us how it was born. 

After spending months in the Irpinia countryside to which I owe a lot, I moved to live in the city, in Turin. I found a flat that immediately gave me the feeling of being on a border. On the one hand, the life ordered and arranged according to certain canons of the city center, on the other, behind the palace, the chaotic and characteristic life of the neighborhoods that open beyond Porta Palazzo. In the marketplace, people who lead very different lives meet and share the same space. It is a privileged observation point on humanity, but you have to go inside to tell it, which is why the whole project is entitled “La vie ici”. It is life here, mine and the lives of those who share a reality that rises and falls every day with the market. Specifically, the photographs on display at Paratissima depict moments when nothing makes more noise and silence dominates the square, but I cannot explain the images.

Is there a shot to which you are particularly attached? Tell us about it. 

There are more shots that I am very fond of. It is not easy to choose. I certainly have a significant bond with a black and white photograph of a tree, positioned on the right side of the image, whose trunk bends towards the opposite side of the shot. Little space is left to the ground in which it sinks its roots, while ample space is left to a sky of dense clouds that create with their whiteness a strong contrast with the other elements. For the more attentive, a thread of stars can be glimpsed descending from the foliage towards the ground. Two years after that shot another one followed, the subject was the same, but next to the tree this time there were two bodies, bare, in the act of an embrace. It became for me a symbol of a phase of my life, which like a circle closed at the very point where it had begun.

Written by Giulia Guido
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