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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
Sometimes I Cannot Smile
An intimate, personal journey into the greenlandic juvenile world where nature, boredom, violence and a strong cultural legacy have been claiming for decades the highest and saddest “toll”. That of hundreds of young lives.
The experiences of Ole, Elvira, Kaleeraq, survived to several attempts, are not just single isolated stories but the mirror on the fears of a huge part of young greenlanders incline to suicide. A documentary that brings a different social perspective on the 3.000 Inuit community of Tasiilaq and the other 6 villages that make up Greenland’s east coast.
Greenland has the highest suicide rate among young people. Almost twenty percent of them attempt to end their lives every year. Two percent succeed.
It’s a far journey to greenland. Up there our conception of life and death shakes, priorities are inverted, elements shuffled. A fatalist, dichotomous approach to life. Black or white, without shades in between, raw and cruel.
It’s about surviving, often psychological.
A delicate exploration of the subtle and intimate war many young people fight against violence, boredom and emptiness, a struggle that has always been the “raison d’etre” of young generations, the difference being that in east greenland many of them lose that battle.
From 2009 to 2012 i went back and forth to east greenland trying to paint the environmental, social and psychological landscape of this community, with no psychologists and with local goverment for decades being in denial of a societal affliction that, according to experts, goes back to the dawn of this civilization.
This self-produced project turned into an award-winning short doc, a documentary and a book, “Sometimes I cannot smile”, self-published in 2013. These pictures are an abstract of the book created as a part of the wider Arctic Spleen project.
Born in Reggio Emilia in 1972, Piergiorgio Casotti graduated with a degree in Economics / Statistics from University of Parma.After finishing several photography courses at Pratt Institute of New York City in 2005, he found work as a fashion photographer, but longed to pursue his real passion of documentary photography. Since then, Piergiorgio has been exploring the unique dynamics of societies around the world through constant interaction with the people and places that shape them. His photography balances strong personal emotion with documentary qualities. In 2010 he began working with video, enabling him to tell stories in ways that photography does not allow.