crossmedia

  • A love story, from photojournalism to crossmedia storytelling

    Throughout my years working as a freelance photojournalist, I developed the focus of my personal and professional interest: to meet and listen the women who choose to fight with rebel groups in contemporary conflicts to understand their motivations.
    At first I documented my journey in Congo using photography, but at the end I realised that to better explore and show this story, I needed other tools to amplify the anthropological and historical perspective, and ideas on how to continue it on a narrative level.
    Meanwhile I felt a growing dissatisfaction towards the media system in which I worked. After operating in that environment for years, I became less and less convinced about the editorial standards of so called in-depth journalism. The preference for dramatic stories, more ‘bang bang’, sensationalism, situations where people are perpetually portrayed as victims; some media tendencies and bias are designed to emphasise certain conflicts while ignoring others and enforce certain types of narratives over more complex ones.

    My questions regarding the effective functioning of this information system and its effectiveness became more urgent: I needed to experiment, deconstruct, and emancipate myself and my work from the constrictive cocoon of the mainstream which was making me feel disillusioned.

    I took a sabbatical year in which I developed the female fighters project through some development labs. It is a process - combining different disciplines and professions- that leads to a deeper reflection about the story, why it must to be told, who will be the audience that will read / see / experience it and the experiential / cognitive / emotional process of the narration.

    The decision to construct a platform -creating a type of experience for that audience- is a consequence of that reflection. It is no longer very much important which media you work with, but what will work best to tell the story and provoke the social, cultural and political debate. We should always be focusing on our motivations, why we do storytelling, conscious of our journalistic responsibility. Sharing a project from the beginning with other professionals revolutionises the creative process. For me this was an explosion of creative / narrative / experiential possibilities that led me to explore the different components of my reasons and my desires as a storyteller.

  • Dal fotogiornalismo alla narrazione crossmediale

    Dopo aver lavorato per anni come fotogiornalista indipendente mi sono imbattuta in quello che è il mio principale interesse e ricerca personale: seguire e capire le donne che scelgono di combattere in gruppi ribelli in conflitti contemporanei. Il primo capitolo di questa ricerca è stato affrontato attraverso la fotografia, in Congo, ma alla fine del lavoro mi sono resa conto che per esplorare questa tematica necessitavo altri strumenti, avevo bisogno di ampliare la ricerca dal punto vista antropologico e storico, ma anche capire come proseguirla a livello narrativo.

    Nel frattempo crescevano alcune insoddisfazioni sul funzionamento del sistema editoriale nel quale lavoravo. Avevo collaborato con magazine internazionali per anni ma le regole dell’editoria in merito al giornalismo di approfondimento mi convincevano sempre meno: l’agenda politica predilige storie drammatiche, sensazionalistiche, dove spesso le persone appaiono come vittime; le regole editoriali sono rigidamente volte a sottolineare determinati conflitti e stili narrativi anzichè altri.

    Le mie domande sull’effettivo funzionamento di questo sistema di informazione, sulla sua efficacia diventavano sempre più urgenti: avevo bisogno di sperimentare, destrutturare, e spogliarmi di un ruolo che stavo acquisendo, in maniera più o meno subita/agita, più o meno consapevole.

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    Mi sono presa un anno sabbatico nel quale ho sviluppato il progetto sulle donne combattenti attraverso alcuni workshop di sviluppo. E’ un processo - combinazione di differenti discipline e professionalità- nel quale si compie una riflessione approfondita sulla storia, sul perchè deve essere narrata, su quale sarà il pubblico che leggerà/vedrà/vivrà questa storia, cosa si desidera che accada durante il processo esperienziale/conoscitivo/cognitivo/emozionale della narrazione. La decisione della piattaforma, cioè che esperienza si vuole creare per il pubblico, è un passaggio conseguente a una riflessione. Quindi è una destrutturazione importante per (parte) dell’ego: non è più molto importante cosa sei e con cosa agisci, ma come funzionerà meglio quella storia in merito all’obiettivo finale, cioè l’impatto sociale, il dibattito culturale e politico. E’ un processo che rimette al centro le motivazioni, i perchè facciamo narrazione, ricorda le responsabilità di chi narra e fa giornalismo, obbliga ad avere sempre chiara la domanda dell’efficacia, e per chi si sta facendo cosa. Rivoluziona il processo creativo, condividendolo sin dall’inizio con altre professionalità. E’ stata per me un’esplosione di possibilità creative/narrative/esperienziali che mi ha spinta ad esplorare le differenti componenti delle mie motivazioni e dei miei desideri come storyteller.

  • photo-essay: Democratic Republic of Congo

    During 2013 I have met, followed, photographed and interviewed a selection of women fighting in the alphabet-soup of rebellions. They were operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their stories reveal not only the significance of their roles within the rebel groups of which they are a part, but also show the striking contrast between the danger of their liberation struggle and the almost mundane reality of daily life in an armed group in eastern DRC.

    In contemporary African wars women continue to play a variety of crucial roles, and yet they remain invisible to the world. Only a handful of researchers and journalists have appreciated the importance of women in these conflicts, and the way in which gender stereotypes continue to mask their involvement.

    “Even today, in mainstream thinking on war and violent conflict, women and men are still often positioned at opposite ends of a moral continuum, where women are considered peaceful and men aggressive, women passive and men active. As war is so often associated with these generalized images of masculinity and femininity, women have become associated with life-giving and men with life-taking. (…) But analytically, in trying to understand the complexities of these experiences, the male-female opposition seems an unnecessary limitation. (…) In modern African wars and violence conflicts women have shown themselves as capable as men of performing violent acts. Fighting women are frequently considered by their very existance to be transgressing accepted female behaviour, and the very act of fighting by definition makes women and girls less feminine and by extension “unnatural”.

    Young female fighters in African wars : conflict and its consequences” Chris Coulter, Mariam Persson and Mats Utas / Uppsala : Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 2008 

  • Publications / international magazines

    Ms Kalashnikov the photo-essay has been published worldwide in different magazines such as Sunday Times, Spiegel, Courrier International, D-La Repubblica delle Donne, Internazionale, Globo TV among others. Being independent, the distribution time lasted 8 months. During that time I've been contacted by news editors and many different authors, artists and academics.


    publications

     

    If you want to see the full list of publication please click here.

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