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Home Closed Category: Closeness

The Brief: 'Closeness'

'Closeness' can be interpreted in any way you want. You might choose to portray closeness in a literal, technical way, or from a more metaphorical or impressionistic point of view. Whatever your interpretation, Renata Ferri from Io Donna, the women's weekly magazine of Il Corriere della Sera, will be on hand to judge your masterpieces from 1 November.

'Closeness' in photography, by Renata Ferri:

"The dictionary tells us that 'closeness' is a noun meaning the distance, or lack of it, between a person, place or thing. But what can that mean in artistic terms? Closeness can be the distance to another person, but also to another country, family, nature, body, fear or disease, for example.

"In photographic terms I think of closeness as 'intimacy'. Taking pictures, after all, is an intimate and complicated act. Some artists gave us extraordinary poetic images, mirrors of our emotions. Nan Goldin's work is pervaded by intimacy. In her photographs, her private world and relationships are the subjects. Michael Ackerman also delves into his own experiences, doubts, dreams and nightmares to produce gritty, dark images.

"Francesca Woodman's work focuses on herself and especially her body. Antoine D'Agata digs deep into his, and our, obsessions: sex, desire, limits, and fear. Closeness is an important ingredient in the epic work of Eugene Richards. The way he uses the camera is crucial to his intimate examination of the lives of other people – their pain, their drama.

"Taking pictures, especially intimate ones, is complicated and ambiguous. This is what Susan Sontag wrote in On Photography: 'To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.'

"Closeness, in the end, concerns proximity with the world around us, but it is also the measure of the empathy that we have with the world and other people, and with ourselves and our own feelings."

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