For the duration of March we were seeking work from photography graduates alongside Loupe Magazine to reward with a collection of prizes and interviews. A lot of time was spent looking through the submissions and decisions were finally made. We're really pleased to present here the first runners-up interview.
Lorenza Demata is a photographer and visual artist originally from Italy who studied for an MA in Photography at London College of Communication. We've interviewed Lorenza here about the series It all started when some of us left the country.
It is estimated that expatriates constitute approximately 40% of London population.
At the same time, almost 50% of the total consumption of food resources relies on the importation of fruit and vegetables from other countries.
This project is an investigation of the notion of identity in the contemporary migratory context.
The displacement of human resources is explored through a visual analogy with imported fruit and vegetables. By creating this parallel relation between people and food commodities, Lorenza aims to unveil the process of redefining individual identity that often takes place in the experience of expatriates.
The photographic series and the book ask the viewer to critically reflect on the role of the human workforce in the political context of global migration.
Can you introduce yourself? What and where did you study? My name is Lorenza (Lori) and I am a photographer and visual artist based in London. I come from Florence, Italy, where I first graduated in International Cooperation and Conflict Management. After my first BA, I studied Photography for three years at Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence, until September 2016. Then I moved to London to attend the MA in Photography at London College of Communication. I recently graduated and I am now working as a freelance photographer in London.
Give us an overview of your work. What themes do you like to explore? Because of my multidisciplinary background, the content of my works is somehow always linked to social and political issues and it investigates themes related to the ideas of identity and culture. In my latest works, I have been particularly interested in the processes that influence and change the concept of cultural identity in the contemporary globalised context.
I usually address these concepts through portrait and staged photography, by subverting and experimenting different approaches. As a result, I would say that my practice sits between documentary and conceptual photography.
What encouraged you to submit to the Loupe Magazine and Photograd call for work? Have you got any tips for photographers submitting work for similar opportunities? I usually try to apply to as many open calls as I can. I think these kind of calls are a good opportunity to show work, as well as to get feedback and responses. It is useful to always challenge ourselves and to confront our work with others. Accepting feedback and criticism is not always easy. But taking into account constructive suggestions can make you understand how complete your work is and it can contribute to make positive improvements.
How did this series come to the surface? Why did you decide to investigate identity in the contemporary migratory context through the use of photography? When I started my MA in London I wanted to investigate a theme that could be somehow close to my personal experience. I started wondering to what extent cultural identity changes when we move from our country of origin to another. I have also been interested in the process of commodification of the foreign human workforce in general and in particular in London.
I think it is important to reflect on identity and cultural issues in this place and in this historical moment.
Almost half of the population of London is constituted by people from other countries. While gathering data for my theoretical research process, I also found out that a large amount - approximately 50% - of the food commodities we consume in the UK is imported from somewhere else. By visually connecting expatriates to imported vegetables and fruit, I want people to reflect on how much a country relies on the global importation and migration, as well as on the role of foreign people in this context.
The outcome of It all started when some of us left the country is a photobook. Describe your book and explain why you executed your work in this way. The diptychs are usually installed in exhibitions as a series of booklets, which aim to recall the scale of a passport.
The other part of the project It all started when some of us left the country - I is in the form of a book. In this section, I am investigating the concept of cultural adaptation by confronting a specific fruit with a personal story. As a result, the book mixes different visual inputs, such as screenshots, graphics, manipulated archival material and photographs.
Why have you cut out the faces in your portraits? The face is one of the main elements which defines the identity of a person. It is, I would say, indexical of the existence of the subject, and this is particularly evident in identity documents.
I chose not to show the face to reflect on the concepts of displaced identity and of absence. The size of the white square also recalls the photos that are used for official documents.
I think my aim is to underline how it is challenging to define ourselves culturally and individually.
Tell us about the accompanying pieces of fruit in your images. How have you linked fruit and portraits together? For the still life photos I gathered data about the most imported fruit and vegetables. Every piece is paired with the portrait according to the colours. I did not want to link the food with the subject on the basis of the same nationality. This way I want to enhance the concept of displacement and of distance of commodities and people. Furthermore, I mean to underline how the movement of goods and human migrations are global, by going beyond national borders.
What are your future plans? At the moment, I am going on with this project and with the specific fruits and stories. In the future, I would like to investigate the social and cultural relationship between expatriates and locals. I also want to analyse some form of local cultural ‘resistance’ in the economic context, either in London or somewhere else.