The reason behind it
Let me tell you first a little bit more about it.
My photo project – Times of Change – was part of my final assignment of the photography course. The theme was not chosen by me, it was instead suggested by my trainer. What it came immediately to my mind? The coronavirus and the changing times we are living, which will be definitely taught in the years to come as a landmark in our history. But the idea of registering through photos our new Covid-19 life was something that I immediately refused. For two reasons: first, because it’s a mainstream topic at the moment and second, because to tell you the truth, I’m so fed up of these challenging, incomprehensible and uncertain times that it’s enough already for me to handle with all this every single day.
Said that, I struggled in the first days trying to figure out what to photograph and how I would put my project into practice. How to show on paper, or better, on image that our times are changing? I was lacking ideas and I was totally lost. Things from the past are no longer photographable and I cannot travel through a time machine back to the past.
But then I strolled around the city of Vienna and ideas started to pop-up in my mind like popcorn heated on a microwave. The first sign of change that I saw was when using the metro. A sign of a man holding a child on his arms instead of the stereotype woman image. This made me stop! Think… that was it!! I just needed to walk around the city with open eyes and observe. That would be the starting point. And suddenly it was all clear how I would conceive this project, how to pass the message, how to turn it into a material form.
The photo project
The photo project is made of a set of 2 images placed side by side, one representing the old times and the other the actual times. Each set of images puts a focus on the changes we see across different areas of our society, like health, social roles, culture, religion or leisure time.
I only had about two weeks to think, conceive and organize the whole project, which was very daunting if you take into consideration that some scenes had to be staged to convey my message and trying to recreate the old times is not always an easy task. Add to that the fact that I had to set up a time when moms and children had free time for me and children were in the mood to accept my instructions or would play according to the scenes I had in mind. On the day that I photographed the boy with the kite there was no wind, so I had to improvise and pretend that he was going to fly the paper kite. With the drone I was luckier as he was quite interested in the drone and he actually flew it by himself for some minutes.
If you walk around the city with a purpose in mind, you begin to look at things differently or even wonder how many new things coexist with old ones. That was the case of an old pharmacy of the 18th century that I found in the 8th district still selling old shaving products in antique bottles of glass as opposed to many CBD shops that are now booming in the city (the so called Cann Pharms or CBD shops), which sell Cannabidiol for medicine use. This part of the Cannabis plant is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments.
The most striking example that I found was the old, mostly abandoned and no longer in use telephone booths. Did you know that in the city of Vienna there are still 4100 of them? Incredible number, if you think that almost every single person now has a mobile phone. But the most interesting is to see how the city of Vienna came up with the amazing idea of giving them a second life instead of removing them. Why not to use the old telephone boxes as a book exchange? Any person can bring and take a book for free!! “Et vive la culture”.
One day I was just wandering around the city, enjoying the beautiful atmosphere of the inner city and I ended up visiting the St. Stephan’s cathedral. Suddenly I looked at the altar and there, hanged, was a big 80 square metres pullover from the modern artist Erwin Wurm. I was very impressed and admired that such a modern piece of art is being embraced by the Catholic Church. And that’s how another set of photos came up being part of my photo project: the classic renaissance/neo-classic paintings of altars representing the old times as opposed to the openness from religion to the new modern art.
As I told you in the beginning one of the themes that immediately interested me and was the ignition for my project was the gender roles. I must say I feel proud to see more and more fathers nowadays picking up their kids from school, pushing their baby trolleys on the streets, giving them food, changing diapers and generally taking more part in all the daily tasks of raising a child that once was mostly only done by women. But I do not want to bore you with much information. If you want to see how I turned this subject into pictures, just go to gallery Photo Project – Times of Change on my website and check all the photos of my work.