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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
Important Things Are Said Softly
I met Leila a few months ago and the first thing I learned about her is that she was 23 years old and she was working as a prostitute.
She has two children to support. I went into her daily life and I found a strong woman, careful with her context, stubborn, generous and in fact, quite romantic.
I also witnessed her loneliness and frustration. I was wondering how she feels every time she gets undressed in front of a stranger, and what she dreams of, when I hear her humming a romantic melody.
Months went by and now I know that Leila is actually called Yesica and she is a single mother of two lively children. She strives to support her family, paying on her own skin the price of prostitution. With love and with power, she guarantees them the most important of all securities, affection, on which human chances of being happy strongly depend.
The family, as a primitive social core, has been changing and taking new shapes: the traditional concept of family has rapidly expanded to include, among others, the single-parent families, the blended families or the families made up by people of the same sex.
In “Important Things Are Said Softly,” I decided to tell the story of a mother and her two children: three individuals who live together, make reproaches, say “I love you!”, take care of each other, play, fight and grow, discovering together, day after day, what it means to be a family.
Today, about 16% of the children worldwide live in a single parent household and in 75% of the cases, they are accompanied only by the mother. Lately, in the last fifty years, families have experienced unimaginable changes, linked with the evolution of a way of thinking and also with the new forms of capitalist production as well as a new distribution of roles between men and women. However, the social imaginary keeps clinging to the classic family type, leaving the door open to the stigmatization of those who live in a different reality.
In these times of change, it is crucial to understand that the family is an active element that never remains stationary. It moves from one form to another as the society evolves.
The characteristics it takes on are endless…
Myriam Meloni (b.1980) is an Italian documentary photographer based in Argentina. She is a Law in penitentiary law from the University of Bologna. In 2004 she moved to Barcelona where she alternated her job as a criminologist at the “Modelo” jail, with her work as photographer in several Spanish magazines.
In 2010 she was nominated for the Joop Swart Mastarclass, and selected to participate at Transatlantica Photoespaña.
Her work has been exhibited in Italy, Spain, Poland, Argentina, Peru and Brazil and has been featured in many international magazines. She is currently combining her freelance career, working for newspapers and NGOs, with her personal projects.