Giulio D'Ercole - Canvas Africa Productions
Photojournalist and Documentary Director Producer
"Impressions from Somalia" is the fruit of a very careful selection of photos taken in the country from 2004 to 2007, when I worked there as UNESCO and ILO project officer and as film-maker for other NGOs. Photographing in Somalia, a post-conflict and conflict country (Somalia is divided in Somaliland, Puntland And Somalia/South central) is never easy and very rarely possible. Most of the photos of this exhibition were actually taken from a driving car as traveling around the country. But Somalia never ceases to surprise and to fascinate, even when you look at it from a car window. The ability then is basically only about being able to quickly spot an interesting scene, you might have only a second to capture., and set the right aperture speed and distance from it. The title of the exhibition plays around with the idea of my own memories of Somalia, which I did not want to portray in the stereotypical manner, and with the fact that those memories were my own "impressions", and as such printed out to be shared in an "impressionistic" way. In fact I worked on the photos with a software that allowed me to give them a sort of oil painting look. The objective of this manipulation was not only aesthetic, but also conceptual. I wanted to create a puzzlement in the viewers' mind, making them questioning the nature of the image: is it a photo or a painting? As asking themselves this question, they would have come closer to the photo, and they would have paid more attention to it, rather than just passing by it thinking it was yet just another of the hundreds pictures seen over and over about Somalia. The objective was fully achieved and the exhibition, sponsored by UNHCR and NRC, and held in Nairobi at the USA Ambassador's Residence, at the Italian Institute of Culture, and at the artsy restaurant "Le Rustique", was a great success.
Giulio D'Ercole Humanitarian and Development Projects Photographer