A picture, in the most literal sense of the term, from Eastern Europe of the last three years: the Roman photographer Benedetta Ristori has discovered the architecture of the socialist period in her project, that has then led to the publication of the book East.
The book is raising funds through a crowfunding campaign – that will end up in exactly one week – to finally get to see the light. We suggest that you take a quick look and support the project if you like it, very little is needed to make it.
If I had to introduce you in 5 words, what would you say about yourself?
I’m messy, distinctive, anxious, creative and passionate.
From 2015 to 2018 you have captured Eastern Europe with your camera, developing a photograph project into a book: How did this happen? What made you take this decision?
The starting point of the project was my great passion for the architecture of the socialist period, in particular for the Belgrade – Novi Beograd architecture – and for the Spomeniks, memorials built in the former Yugoslavia during the period of Tito to commemorate the victims of war. From that moment I began to study the history of these countries, and immediately I felt the need to get to know them and tell their story right away.
What was the most impressive element that you found in your way?
In the first place, the story. These nations have lived through very dark chapters in periods not so long ago from now.
“The scars are perceptible but there is also a feeling of change and recovery, I trust that this corresponds to reality, today and in the future.”
The architecture that fascinates me is closely linked to a historical period, and, as I said, this is the starting point of the project. The territory is composed of a very intense landscape. Although I focused more on the urban side, I also tried to insert the natural aspect to create a varied story of all countries.
The esthetic research is powerful in these photographs, although “beauty” is not the main subject. How do you get this result? Is it the analogical factor that helps in this sense?
I think this result is due to the combination of lights, colours and atmospheres.
I tried to reproduce the sensations that these places have aroused from the deep, trying to represent the poetry of what surrounded me. The use of analogue certainly has an influence, but I think that most of the impact comes from the scenarios themselves, from the subject rather than from the instrument.
At the moment the book East is the object of a crowdfunding campaign with the aim to produce and publish it. What is your experience with this type of fundraising? What surprises you the most?
I had never faced a crowdfunding campaign before, for me it is the first time, and I have to admit that it is a challenging and complex process. What amazed me was the great response that the project received internationally, I’ve received a lot of help from Australia, Japan, the United States and many European countries.
It was also surprising the support I got from magazines and websites related to photography, I can definetely say I feel very lucky and satisfied with the results.
Did you have in mind to publish a book since the first picture you took?
Actually yes. From the beginning, I started to design the project with the intention of enclosing the material in a book, as most of the towns, monuments and architecture I have photographed have a strong history behind them. Through the book I am able to tell their past and create a comparison with the present, not only through the photos but also through deeper texts.
Was there something that absolutely amazed you and that was completely out of your plans?
The biggest surprise was that I fell in love with most of the places I visited and with the people who live there. I would like to have the chance to spend more time in Serbia or Romania, two nations that have conquered me.
How is the book composed?
The volume, hardcover and bound in wire, will contain sixty photos selected from the approximately one hundred and twenty total images that form the project. The photos will be introduced with two texts written by the authors Gaia Palombo and Sasha Raspopina. In addition to this, in the final section of the book, there will be some in-depth content regarding the history of the places portrayed.
What are you dealing with at the moment? Are you working in any new projects?
During the last months of 2017 I started a new project, that hasn’t been published yet, I hope to be able to work on it again soon. It is my first documentary project in Italy, unfortunately I still can’t give you a lot of details.
Another project currently on stand-by is Lay Off, a series about night workers in Japan.
THE LAUNDRY ROOM
Email o watsapp?
Breakfast or dinner?
Your worst nightmare.
A locked room full of insects.
Travelling: never without?
Camera and a notepad.
Summer or winter?
A secret mania.
Avoid money or hats on the bed, I’m superstitious.
The word you repeat most often without noticing it?
The Roman word ‘Cioè’.
Your biggest dream.
Exposing my photographs in a museum where I actually go as a spectator.
To cook or take a way?
When you were small you wanted to be a…