Conference in Venice

Conference in Venice

Giving a lecture at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, about covering events in Turkey as a foreign photojournalist. (photo by Franco Gatti)

Telling the stories we see as witnesses is one of the main goals of our profession.

To meet in person and to have the chance to discuss my point of view with some of the most interested, most educated of my readers and followers has been a rare chance.

To do this at the Ca’ Foscari University which is the main window on Turkey, in that same Venice which has always been the gate and the trading outpost to the East, reciprocating what Turkey is for Europe, has been a unique, unforgettable experience.


Turkish Embassy’s 2013 yearbook

Embassy Yearbook 2013

My photos of Turkey in the Embassy’s yearbook.

To try to describe a foreign country is always a hard task.
Living there, trying to understand a different way of life, needs love and respect for the people of a land where a guest is always welcome, but is still a yabanci, a foreigner.

Like all images, photographs are by definition ambiguous, and prone to interpretation, and often I doubt of my ability to represent through my shots such a multilevel reality like the daily life in Turkey.

Still, when the Embassy of the Country where you live as a guest decide to choose some of your photos to depict its own country, you have the feeling to be on the right path.
This year, the Cultural Office of the Republic of Turkey’s Embassy in Italy has decided to insert some of my photos, along with those of other Turkish and Italian photographers, into their 2013 official yearbook.

Thanks to Müzeyyen Nalkesen, the first female Shadow Theater animator, to Urlice Vineyards of Urla and the nameless street kids of Istanbul, some tiny bits of my Turkey can be seen by many as I did through my lens.


“Natural Born Moody”: exhibition in London

"Natural Born Moody": exhibition in London

"Natural Born Moody": exhibition in London

 

A challenge, the choice among the photos from a year that has been a rainbow of mixed moods and feelings.

A staff made of enthusiast and friendly organizers, and a gallery in the heart of London.

Anger, Happiness, Enthusiasm, Sadness and more have mixed up into thousands of photos, all of them shot in 2011, and have produced the final choice of the ones that will be exhibited at the Vibe Gallery from March 1st to the 10th, thanks the organization of Art Caffe London.

Ten days in London to tell moods and feelings that produced five images. And new emotions.


“Back to the Future!”

 

"Back to the Future" at Marevivo, in Rome

"Back to the Future" at Marevivo, in Rome

The Sea is often cited as immutable, in spite of its volubility. Sea is eternal, and Civilization, risen on the sea, has always been based on skills and resources as immutable as the sea itself..

Thousands of generations have strenuously grabbed the secrets of fishing, of boatbuilding, of navigation. And thousands of generations have jealously saved and passed each other through hard training the secrets to make a living by the sea.

But at Sea, like on earth, industrial models for mass production have been imposed, and through the XXth century have upturned the world of fishing, a world used to survive, unprepared to manage resources ever considered unlimited.

The result has been devastating. Fleets of industrial fishing boats have swept away the tiny family owned coastal fishing boats, turning fishermen into salaried crew members, and then depleted the fishing stock to the pint that fishing is now a losing enterprise, unprofitable without the heavy government incentives it keeps getting.

The cultural “genocide” of coastal communities, effectively fulfilled by property speculation and tourism “development”, could be irreversible, as well as the loss of a source of food that until the ’70’s was talked about as the solution to the worldwide problem of famine.

Now we have learnt from our mistakes, and the development model that has proved wrong and disastrous for us and for the planet that sustain our lives, must be discarded. Fish farming and sustainable, selective fishing are the new ways to bring Sea and fishing back as resources. But it is easy to see that they are long known ways, and to realize that the most effective way to enter the future is to learn from the ways of the past. The small coastal fishing, that has always been a mere subsistence economy, is now a model of environmentally sustainable development, a possible source of financial and occupational growth for myriads of family level micro enterprises. Fish farming, tightly ruled and managed, can provide great quantities of fish for food and trade, as required by the modern market, giving relief to the oceanic fish stock while developing a new fishing model that could exploit them more rationally than the one who ravaged the oceans for a century.

The “Settimana Europea della Pesca”, from June 4 to 12, 2011, has involved more than 100 environmentalist groups in a series of events, to make the public aware and call European Union to a new fishing management policy.

In Italy, beside the press coverage of the topic, the association Marevivo has organized a photographic exhibition and an evening of music and cuisine on a barge moored on the Tiber river, in the heart of Rome. I took part to it with pride, meeting a constructive and enthusiastic atmosphere, with wonderful and tireless people, fully aware that they can build the future.


An image or a hundred words

Images or words

اخترت طريقي بنفسي - "I choose my way by myself"

They say that an image, a photograph, says more than a hundred words, and that is true.

But what it does say, as in every art, it’s up to the beholder. Every message, every tale is interpreted by who receives it, who processes it in the way he prefers. Because of this, art prescinds from the medium used by the artist, and glides into sensorial perception. And because of this, communication by images is so prone to manipulation.

Being it advertisement, journalism, entertainment, every image that is not merely fine art is prone to be exploited or twisted.

We live in a world where our sight is bombarded with images of any kind from awakening to sleep, even milk boxes, bus sides, official letters saturate us with images supposedly funneling our attention.

But our attention span is limited. The written words, being abstract, force us to elaboration, even only to translate a word into a thought, and the thought into an image. Information obtained through images are absorbed without filtering, amassed passively pending assimilation.

Once being used to accept a passive behavior in front of information, maybe only out of tiredness, we turn incapable of elaborate the facts suggested to us. So we end up to select facts according to our own opinions, but opinions shaped before elaborating information, can only be prejudicial.

As a photographer, after avoiding for years to be involved in “politics”, I cannot be unaware of the damage that this careless usage of images is causing to civilization. I think to the Romani People, to the anti islamic prejudices, but to Naples too, and how much it has been damaged by the mythology of illegality built by Neapolitans for years.

This website, like my job, will keep being based upon the photos and videos I shoot, but will be mostly a blog, with more frequent posts about what I do and what I think, for words and images should be delivered together, to tell stories that take us back to thinking.

Digisea.it will not be updated any more, but a selection of posts I find still interesting are available here, in the category “Digisea.it archive”. Photostories will keep publishing photos only, with the comments left up to visitors.
And to avoid any doubt: ALL the photos, ALL the videos and ALL the texts, except the few ones clearly labeled otherwise, have been shot or written by me, and are © piero castellano 2011, except when labeled as c/c.
This is for the ones, usually friends and especially relatives, but even customers, that send comments like “Wonderful, those photos of yours, but who shot them?”
Now, I hope to tell new stories, soon. The travel goes on.