Earlier this year, we interviewed Chiara Dondi about her experience with the antique technique of hand-painting photography. Now, she is back with a special, intimate series of self-portraits. These are no ordinary shots. Her series Me Through the Storm is Chiara’s painful experiences manifested through fine art photographs. She discloses that this series was built from many sorrows: a broken long-term friendship, illness of family member, and more.
“I have always thought that having self-control even in these type of situations and running away from the pain was the answer, but now I’m starting to understand that I can lose control and that I can suffer or be desperate. It doesn’t mean that I’m fragile.” shares Chiara. She hopes that this series will inspire those who are going through a difficult time.
Here’s our intimate conversation with Chiara about the series.
Welcome back Chiara! Let’s talk about your Me Through the Storm series. This series is very personal, a self-portrait of ’you’ in a certain state. Did it scare you at all to see the images that you were about to take?
Every time you show something very intimate, both in photography or in relationships, is frightful. We are so used to covering parts of us that when you try to take off that lie, even people who love you accept it with difficulty.
What were your first thoughts when you saw the results of your photography?
Surprise. I could not believe that something that was so difficult to do or even to think about could appear so clear and focused.
You’ve explain that this project has helped you deal with sorrow. How much did photography help you through this troubled time?
So much. I’m already undergoing psychological therapy, but after taking these photos my mind has broken a lot of his chains. Suffering and pain can be transformed through art. But sooner or later, if you don’t try to solve your problems, they will destroy you.
Could you share with us what you’ve learned about yourself when making the series?
That the more you bury your emotions deep inside you, the more powerful they will be when they burst out. And not just in a positive way. It’s better to face life step by step, without thinking too much at your future and even less about your past. You have only your present.
Lastly, may you leave a few words for artists and photographers going through their own issues?
I hope to be clear. It’s very difficult to transform sensations into words. I’m very happy to share this experience because these types of emotions or situations are considered such a taboo, but every one of us will have to face a period in life like this. Be kind to yourself. Everything seems to be bigger before you have done it so try to be confident and to accept all of yourself, especially what makes you feel uncomfortable. And use photography not only to heal you, but also to express yourself without any mask.
We would like to thank Chiara Dondi for trusting Lomography Magazine with her very private and special project. Head over to her portfolio to see more of her photography. All rights reserved to Chiara Dondi.