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YarT Photography presents

This is my story... Or ours?

Photography exhibition by Laura Bessega and Laura Frasca

Curated by Yulia Tikhomirova / YarT Photography

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On occasion of the Human Rights Nights festival, which is held in Bologna in April 2013, the photography exhibition This is my story. Or ours? has been inaugurated. The exhibition presents the work of two young Italian photographers Laura Frasca and Laura Bessega and is part of the AMITIE campaign. The photographic project is composed of 33 portraits, accompanied by a series of "ID photos". The exhibition, located inside the Palazzo d'Accursio, comes along with a sound installation that proposes traces of interviews with the subjects represented, and with a video demonstration of the characters' everyday life.

A Brazilian painter, a Russian ballerina, an Argentinian creative, a Japanese artist, a Palestinian restaurant owner, an Angolan fashion designer along with many others are the protagonists of this exhibition. This is my story.... explores the relationship between people and the context in which they live and work.

"Work" is a fundamental concept for this art project. The authors have chosen to portray the subjects within their work environment (or, in some cases, in a place that has a particular value for the character) and exactly the environment acts as a key to reveal their personality.

The "main" series of portraits is inspired by the tradition of environmental portraiture, which emphasizes not only the face but everything around the subject, portraying also the social environment. Nonetheless, it would be wrong to consider this photographic project exclusively as a social research, or as a study of the immigration phenomenon.

The characteristic of this work is primarily a conceptual decision made by the two artists to involve the characters in the decision-making process, giving them the freedom to choose how to be shown: the place, the clothes to wear, the objects around them.

The active participation of the subjects is a brave choice, taken by the photographers in order to mark the distance between their approach and the common superficial attitude, which tends to portray immigrants as victims (both of the immigration policy and the everyday racism) and, as a consequence, as a passive character in the eyes of a photographer and public.

The project This is my story... shows a series of faces that do not frame an immigration phenomenon, but reveal the individual stories, diverse origins and background, making it impossible to catalogue.

The concept of "individual personality" is highlighted in the series of the "ID photos" presented along with the "main" portraits. The passport encloses somehow the migrant's existence in the new country: visa, residence permit, working permit, new passport, in case the immigration ends with the acquisition of a new nationality.

The visual language used by the common ID photo is a rigid, "bureaucratic" language itself, serving to show everything, but not being able to tell nothing about the people portrayed.

In the work This is my story.... the concept of the ID photo is completely reversed. The choice of using a "toy" lens, to leave the areas out of focus, to allow the subject to smile or to hold items in the hands, puts the cold and indifferent approach used for passport photos upside down, emphasizing once again the main idea of the project: to look at the people with attention and curiosity focusing on their individual life stories rather than to classify them with the label of an "immigrant".

text by Yulia Tikhomirova

©YarT Photography. All rights reserved.

Laura Frasca. Born in Sora, she works and lives in Bologna. She works at Ottica Paoletti, an historical photographic shop in Italy, where she comes into contact with professional and passion-driven photographers. She attends several photography courses and workshops, among which by Canon, Nikon, Leica, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony. She graduates in Political Sciences at the University of Bologna, with a thesis titled 'Photography and World War II. Language and Image Involvement and Displacement.' She continues to photograph events and arts. She collaborate with the artists Guy Lydster and Dim Sampaio, with whom she publish a monographic catalogue in 2010 commissioned by Vontobel Bank. In 2008 she take part to the first collective photographic exhibition within Human Rights Nights, sopraVivere. For 2009 festival edition, she realises with another photographer an itinerant exhibition in various bookstores and cafes of Bologna titled ImagiNation. In 2011 she creates with the primary and secondary school Luigi Zamboni of Bologna a photographic project made by a workshop and itinerant exhibition Da un metro e venti circa / From 1 meter 20 ca. , who sees as protagonist children from 6 to 11 years old. In 2011 participate and score among the first 20 finalist in the National Geographic Competition, category nature. In 2012 she has published on the FOTOgraphia July edition, number 183, a photographic work with Lensbaby lenses, of which she is testimonial. IN 2012/13 she curates photographic courses and workshops as well as several photographic exhibitions on behalf of Paoletti, some in collaboration with YarT Photography and U.F.O.

Laura Bessega born in Pordenone (Italy), lives and works in Bologna. After several experiences in the architecture and culinary sectors, Laura Bessega arrives to the world of photography and falls in love with it. She starts to work as assistant for the Brasilian photographer Monica Silva with whom still collaborates. In Sardegna is selected for an exhibition linked to the competition 'Prendiamo Aggius', with Alessandro Majoli from Magnum agency as President of the jury. She is photographer of public events. In 2011 she actively participate to the organisation of the exhibition 'L'io dentro di me / The I within me', by Monica Silva, where she exhibit her own photographic installation next to the main exhibtion of the Brasilian photographer. At present she is curating a special section for the online news Il Fatto Quotidiano, a series of reviews with photography.

Yulia Tikhomirova, is an Italy based Russian photographer and curator. Born in San Petersburg in 1981, she started her interest in photography and visual communication while graduating from Journalism Faculty of San Petersburg State University. She worked for several years as correspondent for a German-Russian newspaper and later moved to Bern, Switzerland to coordinate the Russian editorial office of the Swiss Radio International. She pursued her interest in photography by enrolling on a photography course at Bologna Fine Art Academy. In 2010 she earned her Master's Degree in Photo Editing from the Rome Luiss Business School. Tikhomirova collaborated with various photography associations like Fotodepartament Saint Petersburg, TerraProject Florence, Rodchenko Photoraphy School Moscow, Casa della Fotografia, Scuola Pratica di Fotografia, PaolettiFoto, Passion&Profession, 10b Photography Rome. In addition to her work as a curator of photography exhibitions and events for YarT Photography collective, she is in charge of Photography Workshop in Saint-Petersburg & in Moscow and of a long term education project FRESH! Young Italian Photographers.

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