MY BROKEN WORLD
BY MICHELA PALERMO
Michela Palermo was born in 1980. After obtaining a degree in Political Science at the University of Bologna (Italy), she attended the General Studies Program at the International Center of Photography, New York. While at ICP, Michela was nominated for the Director’s Fellowship, and in May 2008 became a visiting student at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles (FR). She is mainly focus on the analysis of a territory using different registers, such as landscape photography and observed portraits. She received 3rd Prize for her Portfolio at the Fotoleggendo Festival in Rome in 2010; she won the Camera della Moda section of the Canon Young Photographer Award 2011; and she received a Special Mention in “Motherland” at the Rome International Photography Festival in 2011. In 2013 she was shortlisted for Vacatio at the Rome International Photography Festival. She was among twelve photographers chosen for the Middle Town Project, which was organized by ISSP (Latvia), GAPO (Turkey) in cooperation with Paradox (Netherlands). Since 2015 she works in collaboration with CALAMITA/A’ project. She loves stray dogs.
I was born in 1980 in a small village in the south of Italy.
Six months later a terrible earthquake shook the region: it was 7.34 p.m. of November 23 1980, when the earth shook for 90 seconds in Irpinia, Basilicata and Alto Sele districts of Campania Region in Italy.
The seismic waves snuffed out the life of some three thousand human beings, tore down the houses of 280 thousand people, changed the geography of the land, and created in the aftermath expectations that were swiftly deluded. Irpinia, at the earthquake epicenter, was the area that suffered the greatest damages; this land, considered one of the poorest of southern Italy, saw the already slow developing process suddenly stopped.
I grew up in this world, until I was 19 and I had the chance to go away, looking for my paths. 30 years later the aftermath, I came home as a photographer. I spent ten years far from home, before to start this project. I have no memories of the event, although these endless seconds affected my perception of this land forever, where everything is still “broken”.
In a more subtle way my work would raise questions about the development of the region, the cost of a process of modernization, the impact on the environment, giving voice to what speak to me.
I tried to assemble a poetic journey, fascinating myself for what was in my past and is still standing by in my present, freezing in timeless pictures a interior landscapes.
I tried to put together a story told through images of a shuttered world,
about a land that was shaken by deep quakes and chasms that haven’t been bridged.