Sunday, November 25, 2007

Elena Givone

I must say that I hated the whole Facebook thing and resisted it for ages until I got an invite from my old College alumni group and gave in a signed up, figuring I could track down a bunch of old university friends I had lost touch with.

Anyway, I'm still not that keen on it..., but one thing I have found is that it's a good way of meeting (online) some photographers you might not ever encounter otherwise. It's sort of that six degrees of separation thing - through a friend of an old photojournalism buddy, by way of a friend of a friend of David Burnett, I have encountered - among several other good photographers - Elena Givone. Givone is an Italian photographer working in Amsterdam.

She has some really good projects on her site - quite wide ranging in style and concept, but all equally fascinating (sometimes with a wry sense of humour).

Although I really quite like her Pazi Mine/Sarajevo and Portrait of a Consumer Society, I was definitely caught unawares by Fat or Slim (aka the Belly Button Project...) - at once both funny, mildly gross, intriguing and surprisingly profound (I'm only glad mine isn't on there)

"A trip through the belly of every human being… men, women, young, elderly, fat, thin, white, tanned: all different and unique. The belly button, the neuralgic centre from where life starts, from where our mother fed us and brought us to life. They are all in the centre, the skin that surrounds then transforms each one of us. The belly is the site of instincts, where our fear and aggressiveness converge, like a cup of water at a constant boiling point. That contracts, swells, gets grumpy and grows. Our belly is with us every day and sometimes it gives guilty feelings when it looks at us, sometimes it makes us feel sick, it’s with us since birth; do we see it in this way if we stand in front of a mirror?"

And on Portrait of a Consumer Society a series of pictures of the same dumpster with it's ever changing cotnents:

"Crowds of people take by assault supermarkets and shops. Ikea’s politics work perfectly: you buy, use and throw. Every day the garbage containers are full of new things; someone doesn’t need it any more, someone needs it: the day after it’s gone.Deprived of value because it ended in the garbage. Like an illusion in front of a passer by that is pushed to ask himself if he may need what he sees. A metaphor of daily life.15 days, 15 compositions. Like 15 paintings ready to describe something new upon our society based on consumption. Until it fades out like a dream, the last day, before everything will be abandoned and cleaned in order to let the system be renewed."

Of her commissioned work, Ciriè 2006 and Documentation of Territory are also very good.

She says of her work: "I inhabit a location until it becomes an inseparable part of me, something which will never leave me; I study it and research it, but even then most compositions are intuitive. Only by immersion in the full complexity of a location, and then interacting with the local population, do I finally discover what to photograph and how. Not only the location itself is important, but also the contrasts and conflicts which every day brings. Understanding a location properly requires understanding and appreciating all parts of the landscape and the environment, at all levels, not just the physical architecture."

Elena isn't yet thirty - if she keeps this up I think she'll be someone to watch closely.


Unknown said...

Ciao Elena, sei troppo forte!


Anonymous said...

¡Hola Ele!

Me encantan tus fotos. Sigue así y no dudes en enseñarme todos tus trabajos.

Desde Puertollano ¡Eres Genial!

Anonymous said...

¡Hola, Very nice.