Printed and Bounded in Italy in March 2016 by Graphic Line, Faenza.
40 pages glued on the back cover, with coated paper 150 gr. and paperback Cacciari special. A4 color.
Cover GMUND 300 gr.
Text by Caterina Serra.
Book Design Giovanni Cocco and Filippo Nostri.
Size 21×28 cm.
Standard edition plus a limited edition of 100 copies which special signature by Monia
Winner at the Fedrigoni Top Award 2017
As I look at that finger pointed upwards against the darkness, it seems to be reaching out to touch it.
I could stay like this for hours, hypnotised by Monia, who I imagine lying down whilst her body and her eyes—which are no doubt fixated on that finger—remain outside the frame. The photography is ambiguous, partial. It portrays what the viewer is able or chooses to see, what the photographer has seen a moment before, and what the photographed subject has revealed of herself.
Perhaps you wanted to photograph the darkness that contains Monia, I think to myself. Perhaps you are interested in what surrounds her, as though that were your way of entering that space. Your way of grasping her, or at least searching for her.
I look at Monia with her body in the water, as she seems to enjoy her weightlessness. I observe her entranced when looking into empty space, as though she senses the joy of time spent thinking, or simply doing nothing. And I watch her as she closes her eyes, lost in that sensation with which I am familiar: the hot air of a blow drier drying her hair. It is as though she perceives the moment, welcoming it with all the senses. With the joy and the freedom of someone who is in no hurry, or someone who understands the gratuitousness of the gesture, and owes nothing in return.
The more I look at the photos you have taken of her over the years, the more I notice the attempt to look within that darkness. A provincial town, that table in the kitchen, that bedroom which has not changed since you were children, and those rituals that define the domestic calendar, in which time seems to stand still or perhaps appears less interesting in its flow.
You portray Monia as she lives her life, day and night, following other people’s rhythm, following her rhythm, which seems made up of a slowness that only a moment suspended in time or a joyful hour could possess. Without gravity, as though it were slightly lunar.
The way we view that body, and the surrounding space, is perfectly faithful to the way in which that body lives its life. Without fear of losing itself or losing something. As though that were all that mattered.
The expressions, with that light you capture in certain moments, become placated, leaving the struggle behind in the shadows, perhaps the pain too—some would call it sacrifice, others an act of love—as if to say: deep down it does not matter if life could be different, lighter, freer perhaps. To then do what? To thenbe whom?
It requires a pact of trust to photograph someone intimately, so intimately that you enter into the time and space of a body that allows itself to be touched, washed, observed. So that it does not become voyeuristic, when the body is naked it does not become obscene, or so that it seems naked even when it is not.
Trying to tell a story in which there are seemingly no words or actions, a story that seems to exist in an entirely internal world, is like wanting to salvage something unknown, one must bind oneself to it, for a great deal of time, so that it takes shape and finds its voice.
Photographing Monia seems to me to be this, the story of a bond kept tight by silence, by the complicit game (‘I’ll let you do it because it’s you’), by a code of signs and gestures that leave out words, as though it were clear to both of you that it would not be possible to understand each other with words, or that perhaps words are not even necessary.
Photographing Monia is the attempt to establish a relationship and, as such, an act of learning. Trying to understand her is perhaps to try to understand something of yourself, of those around her, of what a loving bond means.
(from an unsent letter)