It was October 2011.
My youngest sister (at that time she was just 19) had just arrived in Italy to continue her studies at the roman university Roma Tre.
Like I did 8 years before her arrival, she left everything behind, our family, her friends, her memories … everything. She came to live with me, and unconsciously she brought me back in time, when I was 18 years old and had just arrived in Italy. I saw on her face fears and doubts that 8 years ago were mine too.
I saw myself on her face. This is why I decided to work on a autobiographic project. Since I wasn’t ready to point the camera on my face, I asked her to become my model.
I wanted to show how a person can feel in a foreign country; how difficult the initial time can be.
To make it more personal, I decided to add Rome as a background element at least in one photo.
On the roof of “Musei Vaticani”I had an idea. The distance between us and the city inspired me, I thought it was a good element to have in my project. I tried a few shots.
When we went back home, and I was editing my photos, I realized that there was an element which I hadn’t valued at the beginning: the shadow on her mouth. I had an idea. Eureka! I emphasized it, and the shadow became a gag. Yes, that was what I was looking for: the huge distance between me and the city and the inability to speak. I saw in that specific moment “Do not speak!”
When you are new and, specially when you are alone, integration might be very difficult due to the barriers that a group put in front of the newcomer.
The photo is part of the project holding lightly