The photo project “The Readers”. The story behind the photo

Mrs. Gloria Gravina reading “Cuore di pietra” by Sebastiano Vassali

Honestly, when I started my first photo project “The Readers“, the hardest thing seemed to approach somebody on the street, tell them about my project and ask them to be photographed. I don’t even know why this seemed so scary. The worst thing that could happen was that they refused to be photographed. Or that they laughed at me. Or they pulled out the chainsaw 🙂 But this is not what prevents us from talking to strangers. Most of the times, the barriers are only in our head. It’s the insecurity of getting out of our familiar environment. What are we gonna talk about? Will we have something to say to each other? Will there be an uncomfortable/embarrassing silence? Will I manage to be funny/outgoing, like other people/photographers? (although if we talk statistics, how many people are really like that?) Will I make it past my shyness? I don’t know about you, but for me it’s still hard to do this. Still, I noticed that every time I managed to get past these barriers, only good, unexected, unplanned things happened.

This is the first stranger that I approached for my project because I saw her reading in a square in Timisoara. To my surprise, she was the cultural representative of the Italian Consulate in Timisoara, and a fervent admirer and supporter of the cultural life in our city. We had a lovely, warm conversation. And I got to practice my “rusty” Italian. She spoke so nice of Timisoara, unlike many Romanians. And this made me think of another photo-documentary project that would really like to do, that is to photograph and interview foreigners who live in my city, to discover a different perspective, from the outside, on the city and environment that seems so well known and familiar to us who live here since a long time/forever. I hope I’ll start this project soon!

This is the text that she wrote:

“Adoro questa citta perche ti da la possibilita di essere sempre in mezzo alla gente, nelle piazze bellissime, nei parchi rigogliosi, e allo stesso tempo di godere di uno spazio tutto tuo per poter stare in piacevole solitudine, magari in compagnia di un buon libro o di buona musica”

…and the translation:

“I love this city because it gives me the opportunity to be always close to people, in beautiful squares, green parks, and in the same time, to be able to have your own space so you can enjoy the pleasant solitude, maybe in the company of a good book or of music.”

The gallery of portraits of readers that I made until now: here

For the Romanian version of this article: here

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