Digging the Dark

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My photographic series “Digging the Dark” was developed between 2019 and 2022. The images were produced at night, bringing to light an alternative visuality over coastal landscapes that are usually only seen and represented as “sunny days.”

The pictures were made using the hybridism between photography and self-performance, straining the boundaries between two distinct processes. Following a fantastic narrative and operating from a double position – that of being behind and in front of the camera at the same time – I venture into the pitch of the night, proposing imaginary dissolutions of my body in space, in mimetic relationships with the landscape.

The photographic act takes place from a double blindness. Firstly, not seeing through the gesture of becoming the object of one’s capture, giving oneself to the camera as an image, and losing control of one’s gaze through the self-performance performed for the camera. Secondly, not seeing from an optical perspective due to the absence of light. To photograph scenes that only the camera can reveal, that the eye cannot reach. The double gesture of photographing and performing is conceived from the imagination and the senses since the landscape is only revealed after the click.

On the other hand, the work takes place as an expedition through the night, driven by the intention of capturing the last remnants of light and brightness, which is led by small discoveries and interventions with objects of brilliant quality that bear a resemblance to the stars and night lights.

Contrary to an occupational project of controlling space and sanitizing the territory through anthropic action, I propose to rescue not the “paradisiacal” character of the “sunny seaside” that is sold in pamphlets and advertisements of large allotments, but images that are brought by the encounter between the body and landscape. A symbiosis between the absence of light and the small points of light is mediated by the artist’s body.

“Digging the Dark” tries to rescue the protagonism of the natural environment, showing the configuration of the territory through images. It is an account of a return to nature and its oneiric dimensions.

Daniela Paoliello’s “Digging the Dark” was awarded second place in the Foto-Feminas 2022 Portfolio Review. VII Insider is pleased to partner with Foto-Feminas to bring these stories to our community.

@danielapaoliello on Instagram.

Daniella Paoliello’s personal website.

See the other winners, Bea Zamora C’s “The Circle of My Flesh” and Luiza Kon’s “In the Name of the Mother and the Father.”