ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
The project ‘In The Absence Of Things’ explores life in darkness and the difficulties of true communication between people.
Every year the city of Murmansk (because of its arctic latitude) descends into darkness for forty days; the sun doesn’t even rise above the horizon. These are the ‘Polar Nights’.
This is not a project about Russia, it is a project about being human… and yet the fact that it was shot in Russia does matter.
It was born from an urge to explore darkness. Both the inner human darkness that sits inside each of us in different forms and shapes and moments, and the ‘real’ darkness; the absence of light, the obscurity, the experience of living in a place which is (almost) completely dark for some part of the year.
Early into the project I understood that what really mattered was how the darkness felt, how it slipped under the skin.
There is no story, it is the tale of a feeling because emotions are the unifying element of human kind. They create a bridge over the incommunicability, they allow us to overcome barriers.
The project may seem obscure and schizophrenic in the way images of interiors clash with landscapes, but this reflects the way the people are disconnected from the places, yet also part of them. The anonymity of the subjects and their facelessness was not at first a conscious choice, it happened.
The fragmentary structure of images and text reflects the nature of human existence – we all perceive the world in different ways and because of this, sometimes struggle to communicate our experience, which is influenced by our personal history, our language, our mood, our current context, as well as those of the receiver. Because of the infinite complexity that results from these myriads of factors, our communication is always a continuous process of translations. The lack of a point is somehow the point.
The 2nd part of the project will concentrate on the opposite phenomenon of ‘White Nights’.
Valentina Quintano (b. 1982 in Napoli, Italy), is a photographer who has worked in photojournalism since 2007.
Her work has been featured in some printed and online magazines and newpapers, in three books and in a few joint exhibitions. She has been commended for the Ian Parry Scholarship in 2011 and was among the nominees for the Joop Swart Masterclass 2011.
After having been self-thought and having learnt through assisting, she studied photojournalism in 2009 at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Rhus, and graduated with a distinction from the MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication in December 2010.
She has been working on personal reportage projects since 2007, as well as on commissioned works.