In May 2017 Slideluck Editorial opened a global call and with the help of a jury composed by Monica Allende, CJ Clarke, Louise Clements, Renata Ferri, Emanuela Mirabelli, Annakarin Quinto and Maria Teresa Salvati, 10 projects were selected. The preview of the selection was presented at Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, in a reduced format during La Nuit de l’Annèe in July.
Each of the ten photographers have now produced exclusive multimedia that will travel globally. The tour started October 14th in Bari, in the main city square thanks to Spazio Murat and F.Project, Scuola di Fotografia e Cinematografia; and following that, the next step will be Buenos Aires, New York, Hong Kong, San Josè, Bombay, Derby and more cities to be confirmed. Thanks to content and media partners like Format International Photography Festival, Foto-feminas, PHmuseum, San Jose Foto, Yet Magazine, ICP.
Quoting Ernest Gellner (British-Czech philosopher and social anthropologist): “People in different parts of the world still utter different sounds, but nowadays they say more or less the same thing everywhere”.
Does the sense of familiarity and similarity makes us feel less alone? If we feel more similar to each other, what’s the effect this can have on us and on the way we relate with others? How can photography and creative visual narrative work on an awareness level and bring to light important stories that could make us think differently about of the issues they depict?
Slideluck Editorial launched the Born The Same idea a few months ago, opening a global call, looking for projects and stories that could trigger some thoughts. Ten authors interpreted the Born The Same theme gave back a range of narratives touching not only different countries, but mainly telling stories related some hot topics, culturally and socially relevant today, delivered through a very personal and creative gaze. Griselda San Martin takes us to the US-Mexico border and, through the story of deported musician Jose Marquez and his daughter Susanna separated for almost 15 years, she delivers a very powerful short film that talks about immigration, inequality and human rights violation. Jose and Susanna only meet every month on either side of the border wall, being just able to touch each other fingerprints.
We remain in America with The Red Road Project by Italian photographer Carlotta Cardana. Through her lens we meet some of the Native Americans, which count just 1% of the American population. "We were a people of millions and now some tribes have a few left, if any. We are losing our languages, many of our lives have succumbed to alcohol, our children don’t know our traditions. We ask ourselves everyday, what did we do so wrong?”. And identity and belonging are the themes brought to the Born The Same project by Stephen Gerard Kelly, with the work Irish Travellers. They are a distinct ethnic group of commercial nomads. “It’s so ingrained in the Irish psyche that racism towards Travellers has become normalized and acceptable for people to do and say things about Travellers that they wouldn’t say or do about any other community”.
Karen Paulina Biswell, a Colombian-French photographer explores the theme of identity too, though the journey is more intimate, painterly, mystified. It revolves around personal and collective identity against a backdrop of extreme beauty and violence in Colombia. Nama Bu, in native Embera means, We Exist.
The right to exist and profess their religious faith is the topic brought by Nausicaa Giulia Bianchi, with her long-term documentary, You Gave The Virgin a New Heart. Bianchi has been following and interviewing many women priests between United States and Colombia. The Roman Catholic Women Priests movement counts today over 250 members, and all of them have been excommunicated for breaking the Vatican law. They ask for the spiritual equality of men and women to be recognized.
Tania Franco Klein, with her surrealist series Pest Control, uses the collective fear towards pigeons and created a fictional representation of a city plagued by pigeon-repellent spikes. Klein uses the spikes as metaphor to emphasize the fractured relationships that exist within society and the revulsion generated by the media and everything that is considered “different” in terms of ideology, ethnic origin, religion or any other factor that might threaten our “peaceful” way of life. On a more private dimension, Laura El-Tantawy takes us between the walls of her “home”, with an abstract series that reveals her inner world and the relationship with her surroundings, on the passing by places. Through an intense journey made of shades, details, empty fridges, hunger, silence, absence, Beyond Here is Nothing becomes a deeply honest conversation with oneself and the sense of loneliness.
Ed Kashi and Tom Laffay, have produced a short film documentary about Maheshwari, a young Indian student whose father is on dialysis for a form of Chronic Kidney Disease caused by dehydration, pesticide contamination and heavy metals in the water sources. The story illustrates the collateral impact of this disease on families, and particularly on younger generations. Maheshwari has to take care of her father, rather than follow her dream to become an engineer.
Daniel Rodrigues, takes us back to Africa, and exactly in Mozambique and Malawi with his black and white reportage depicting the violent lives of albinos (mostly young), which are hunted, kidnapped and violated in their basic need to live a safe and secure life. Apparently there’s a popular prophecy that says that if you have a piece of albinism carrier body (hands, feet or head) you'll have luck or money.
Going Southern in the African continent, South African artist Nobhuko Nqaba delivers a very creative, simple and utterly effective performative work called Umaskhetkethe, which is the Xhosa name for the plastic mesh bag, made in China. These bags have became global symbol of migration and Nobhuko has created a series of self-portraits making the bag part of her daily life. She emphasises on the idea that “although we have different lives and many people move and travel in search for greener pastures, what it should matter is that we are all human. If we were to change our perception of what makes us similar, instead that what makes us different, we could change the world”.
I don’t know if we have or will give some answers to the initial questions, or if we really could change the world, but I believe in the power of photography: documenting micro-stories in search of hints of universality where the viewer can feel somehow emotionally connected, empathetic. And, in that hint of recognition and similarity, feel less alone in this short journey that is life.
-The ten selected projects are: Griselda San Martin, The Other Side; Nausicaa Giulia Bianchi, You Gave the Virgin a New Heart; Karen Paulina Biswell, Nama Bu; Tania Franco Klein, Pest Control; Nobukho Nqaba, Umaskhenkethe; Daniel Rodrigues,The Hunted; Ed Kashi & Tom Laffay, Hidden Under The Indian Sun; Laura El-Tantawy, Beyond Here is Nothing; Carlotta Cardana, The Red Road Project; Stephen Gerard Kelly, Irish Travellers.