A silent journey away from chaos. Discovering Linda Pezzano’s photography was exactly like that.
Born in 1992, Linda studied a lot, first at the Centro Romano di Fotografia e Cinema, then at DOOR, specializing not only in photography but also in directing, as her short film “Basta Poco” of a few years ago attests.
Today, Linda Pezzano works as a freelance photographer and video-maker and often her projects take her on long journeys, in cold countries like Iceland, always armed with a camera.
How did you approach photography?
I was born in Trani, a small village by the sea, on June 05, 1992.
The sea was everywhere; a few meters from the balcony of our kitchen or when I used to accompany my mother to work.
I saw it every day, for many years. It changed color all the time. I began to wonder more and more often what it was like to enclose and ” freeze” all those colors, but nothing more.
One day, after reading the book “Ritagli di cielo”, I started taking pictures with my eyes, together with my mother; we would sit on the balcony in the evening, with our eyes pointing towards the sky and, clutching our eyes, click, we would take a picture. And, in the end, when I had my first camera in my hand, my mother was the first person I ever photographed in my life, it all started with her.
For the rest, I also grew up taking pictures from an old Canon of my father’s on our many trips. There isn’t a thing that I haven’t documented during our childhood, I think he took pictures in an almost obsessive way.
I took my passion for art and travel from him.
And he bought me the first disposable Kodak.
What do you like to tell through your shots?
There are moments when I look at something and I just need to observe, stop that moment in my eyes, in my mind. Of these years, I carry a lot of photographs with me, but many I have taken only with my eyes.
Until taking a photograph, it almost becomes a need, like a hurricane that overwhelms you, arriving in a natural and unexpected way.
I see the self-portrait as a cure (on the other hand, photography has saved me quite a few times). Photographing myself and the people I love is the thing that I have always done best together with landscapes.
This is because I need to create bonds, to immerse myself in things and not stay on the surface
For example there are places where there is a deafening silence and you see the light filtering through the trees: there for me it’s time to take a photograph. There are places and people that leave their mark inside us.
Mine is a way of saying that there is so much beauty in the world, but personally I photograph only what touches me closely, in a “direct” way.
A few years ago for the project “Til Norðurs” you took a road trip from Rome to Reykjavik, documenting everything with your camera. What are the main obstacles for travel photography? What is the necessary equipment?
Yes, Andrea Roversi and I left from Rome by jeep to Iceland, passing through Austria, Germany, Denmark and the Faroe Islands. On our return, the odometer was 10510 km. It was a beautiful trip. Take and leave without knowing who you will meet and why, which places you will see, accompanied by a wind that gradually becomes more and more icy, I think it is difficult to explain in words. Among other things, there are places that you can try to tell through a photograph, but that should be seen and touched with your fingers to understand how wonderful they are. This is completely subjective. Personally, I have not encountered any kind of obstacle. Every person we met along the way literally left us a piece of themselves.
Let me give you an example: one day we were in Funningur, a small village near the highest peak of the Faroe Islands, where it is said that the Vikings docked their ships and founded the islands. I started walking and I met a gentleman who was feeding his sheep.
We started talking, but not much, as I was having difficulty understanding him. But in the end, we still managed to communicate. He took me to a house, one of the first-ever built on the island, to let me see it, leaving me the keys so that I could warn Andrea too. He would return quietly to his work, with the only request to leave the keys under the door, once we were gone. Well, I don’t think that unfortunately, this is something that happens every day now.
Personally, I have always used the Canon 6d and the 50 1.8 and with this same equipment I left. Together with a polaroid and my father’s old camera.
From a creative and working point of view, how did you experience the lockdown period?
I spent the months of lockdown in L’Aquila, with Filippo, my boyfriend (who will also be my husband next year). And they were months in their own way strangely almost beautiful, slow, accompanied by a very sweet piano music in the background. Covid fortunately did not directly touch us: we experienced what happened by observing it from outside and seeing it on the skin of someone who was close to us. This was fortunate. I started taking a picture of the same mountain I saw from the balcony, every day: with snow, sun, pink clouds, rain and fog. I began to photograph Filippo, in the most hidden moments, but not with the camera, but with my eyes, I began to observe him slowly.
In the end self-portraits with Filippo were born, they were almost a necessity. They arrived in a natural and spontaneous way; we tried to recreate the world we had built for us, in a photo.
We wanted that in those photographs we could perceive the slowness, the sense of letting time go, the sense of letting everything go, in general. And when I speak of slowness, I am not referring to this word in a negative sense, on the contrary.
«We wanted that in those photographs we could perceive the slowness, the sense of letting time go…»
We are always in a hurry, often we don’t even stop for a moment to look at what is around us. We look in front of us, but almost never raise our eyes to the sky or turn to those around us. Filippo taught me to stop, to breathe, to shake hands a little more, to stretch the time that is not infinite, but you can well try to stretch it, why not.
And I am grateful to him for this, more than you can say in words.
In fact, I decided that every amount of time I will take my self-portraits with him. I would like this to become a larger project. Continuing to take pictures of myself and Filippo would be a very simple, real and natural way for me to continue to tell a story.
I started to be grateful, despite the pandemic. I thought I would return, in spite of everything, to the ranks of the lucky ones. The secret is to think, every time, that there is someone who does not have what we have. That what is bad luck for us is even worse for someone else. That as long as we have the sky above our heads, we will always be free.
Anche lavorativamente, ovviamente, è andato tutto a rilento.
Even in work, of course, everything has gone slowly. And I won’t hide from you that the moments of discouragement have not been lacking, even later, in front of an Italy that encloses theaters and cinemas within “free time”.
When in reality the ranks of this “free time” are moved by thousands and thousands of workers, by young people and human beings full of dreams and hopes, eager only to spread culture. This, in reality, makes me angry and not little.
It’s hard sometimes to remember to be there and almost to demand an acknowledgment that in reality should not exist, because art itself is a simple thing and should be lived without any complication.
If you had to choose a photograph to which you feel more attached, which one would you choose? Why?
This one. This is my mother.
I have a thousand other photographs of her and with her, but this one is different for me.
I remember everything about that day; we were on the balcony of the house in Trani, we were talking, she didn’t want me to take pictures of her, she was moved by a long story and I took this picture a little later.
It was not a day like any other, or maybe it was, but for us it was different.
It is part of a project, Echo, about my non – feeling and my way of interpreting and living the world (I have a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss since birth).
I need it to remind my mother that for many things it is not her fault, unlike what she may still think.