1. If you were to select photographs to paste into your Summer Diary, called ‘Summer Panorama’, what would they be? Thinking back to when you took them, what struck you?
In my summer photo diary, I could not miss the story of a trip I made years ago to the Pontine island of Ventotene. At the time I was living in Rome, and that summer I was looking for some isolation to recover from a broken romance. I read the name Ventotene on a map and was fascinated. The powerful sound evoked in me a mighty force capable of moving mountains. Then I discovered that the island is the emerged part of a volcano, a truly wild place and a bit off the tourist track, since the days of the ancient Romans a place of exile. The Emperor Augustus sent his daughter Julia there in solitary confinement, and during the years of the Second World War several anti-fascists, including Pertini and Altiero Spinelli, ended up in the prison built on the islet in front. When I take my photos I always look for symbolism between what I encounter on my way and my inner landscape, with what I feel at that moment. Ventotene was the right place. I was struck by the stillness and sacredness of this island, as I wandered along paths inhabited only by cicadas. Everything resonated and accompanied me on that cathartic journey that was a rite of passage for me.
I also remember some truly incredible dreams.
2. If you were now in that precise condition, and you had to send a postcard, to whom would you send it? What message would you write?
I would send it to a dear friend of mine who came to visit me on the island in those days. He is from Milan, with a boundless love for the Mediterranean islands, so much so that he has now chosen to live on Alicudi in total hermitage. I remember that he only joined me for two days, because he had never been to Ventotene and had to put his flag there. The message probably refers to the cycles that return, I would quote the inscription found on a plaque during an excursion to the abandoned prison: ‘I am the resurrection and the life, whoever lives and believes in me will not die eternally’.
3. What is one object you would never part with (apart from your camera)? What emotions does it arouse in you?
I have carried around a plastic toy tiger, specifically the He-man tiger, since I was a child. Green with yellow stripes. It is a bit of my totem, it protects me and gives me the strength to start my creative projects. It is always on my desk!
Ph. Aziza Vasco