by Lorenzo Castore (2015)

These photographs are my sentimental education, my battlefield, a source of warmth, the definition of a territory – not only literally. The half conscious origin of this body of work brings me back to 1993, when I took my first good photograph. The second one dates from 1994 (however I only understood this many years later) and the next one in 1997, in India – a life changing journey, where I blossomed from child to adult state. In 1999 – aged 25 – the real life began. Independent, I firmly started my journey, although holding my breath as a maw of uncertainty and emptiness opened under my feet. It was intimidatingly beautiful. At the end of my studies, I left for Kosovo, to photograph a foolish war that struck me, because it was so close from home, where my neighbours were battling each other senselessly. I went there to challenge myself, to understand what to do of my life, not only theoretically but also by involving my physical being. Then, the feelings of frustration fathered by the perception of the impossibility of improving and better inform our world, the violence dominating both parties, pushed me into not taking part of news events (where in the heat of the moment, I could just not understand). I had to perceive, above all, who I was, where my overwhelming desire to affirm myself came from, and where the indistinguishable omnipresent intimate brutality that I felt every day around me came from. Thus, I travelled to places where silence moved in, after so much has happened where we all carry the weight of History on our shoulders: I left for Poland, for Gliwice, where took place the Nazi attack that detonated the Second World War. This war started in the south of Poland; there was Auschwitz, there was a large concentration of coal mines. They still exist but tend to be disappearing. The representation of a miner always pursued in me a fantastic fascination, mythological. In my imaginary, the miner is the Man, the real one, the person that fights in obscurity against nature with other men, where he shares fear and fatigue before returning to light. These men still exist, but are becoming increasingly scarce. I started all this to look into the heart of horror, searching for the miner, and to understand who I was in between these extremes, and how I would react in this situation with them. From that moment onwards, I started to photograph everything that interested me by doing it in the most honest and intense ways and by enriching my vision through the living experience of the “other”, through read books, listened music and movies seen. I have tried to be as open and as flexible, to not only talk about myself but also to share something common with all. These photographs are a jump in the unknown: I was guessing what I wanted to do, without knowing how to. I was progressing, without knowing in which direction I was going towards. Rilke advices to the young poet to have patience with unresolved things, and to love questions themselves. I try somehow to do so, with big moments of discouragement. With the years, the work evolved itself whilst I was myself, and hasn’t finished to as it is linked to my life. It is a photographic autobiography where – like in literary biographies – the facts and thoughts blend in with sensations and destiny, and sometimes, reality with dreams and the imaginary. My photographic journey is my salvation, my Northern Star, like all the people that I met, those I met briefly to those that have always accompanied me, those lost in sight to those that are no more. The main scope of the work takes place in Europe (but a few photographs are taken in the United States and India) and my experience that first meant a violent uprooting then an endless wandering searching for a place more inner than real. Also in achieving the desire to give back the love which, in one-way or another, I have been fortunate to receive. Photography itself never really interested me but as a tool to discover myself, others, to try to define the unfathomable, to be both in reality and my own world, to raise questions, to fight my own demons, to recreate the tensions between the contradictions that govern us, and that, suddenly, bring us to a revelation. Advancing towards our true being isn’t a linear route but a succession of surprises, coincidences, unforeseen doubts and mysteries. The decision to work on all that I could gather in a scattered and fruitless way since so many years, coincided in the unexpected death of my best friend that was more than a brother to me. His departing marked an end, a radical change, a life that wouldn’t be the same anymore and that brought me to put order in all that was caring of the essence of what of my path I wanted to share it. The tensions between the contradictions is certainly something that attracts and interests me the most, it’s the source of the mystery of existence and to find the most original way possible (not necessarily strange or eccentric, but personal) – in the present – is to me the most important, difficult, sorrowful and stimulating duty in every man’s life. And certainly, to mine.