Photography “Letters to Little Me” to make peace with the past
Photographyphotography

“Letters to Little Me” to make peace with the past

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Laura Tota
Alexa Sganzerla | Collater.al

We often hear that a photograph is worth a thousand words and that often a good photograph does not need words to be explained. Although photography and writing belong to two different worlds and two very different languages, history taught us how their complementarity and coexistence can be salvific: a text accompanying an image can reveal other readings, as well as an image to support writing can complete its vision.
But when photography and writing coexist within the same visual space, unexpected things happen, and it becomes difficult to define which language supports the other. It would be even more interesting to ask how this coexistence changes when a writing and an image, conceived at different times and born with different purposes, are put into dialogue. How does the meaning of both languages change?

A few months ago I came across a delicate project by Alexa Sganzerla, a young Italian author committed to addressing the issues of femininity, self-representation and identity.

Letters to the Young Me” is a photo-graphic work dedicated to the care, healing and pacification with the past through the use of vernacular photographs and texts.
The vision of childhood, the happiest period in the existence of each individual, is de-romanticized by combining photos of a young Alexa with texts related to moods, experiences and emotions experienced by the adult Alexa. The result is a powerful discord, sharpened by a delicate, sometimes playful and ironic lettering that conveys violent, disenchanted and suffering textual contents.

So, the smile of the little Alexa is hidden by the embarrassment felt by the adolescent Alexa in showing her teeth, crooked and not very photogenic according to many people, or the young Alexa in the high chair is criticized on the role of food for women in contemporary society. Sometimes, other photos are small hugs of consolation, tenderness and affection for all the times that Alexa resisted and held on.

Alexa’s is together a genuine attempt to warn the little self about situations and feelings that she never imagined she could feel, as well as a therapy to make peace with the past, for all the times she couldn’t keep her childhood dreams and promises.

Alexa puts in dialogues an archival image with a today written thought, creating a necessary short circuit to apologize to herself and take care of the person she is today, giving a new meaning to those images that acquire a therapeutic role different from the simple function of remembrance (typical of vernacular photography) for which they were taken.

Alexa Sganzerla | Collater.al
Alexa Sganzerla | Collater.al
Alexa Sganzerla | Collater.al
Alexa Sganzerla | Collater.al
Alexa Sganzerla | Collater.al
Photographyphotography
Written by Laura Tota
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