Isolation Portraits Project - Part 7
The lockdown in Ireland is coming close to an end, so this is the penultimate blog post with my beloved Isolation Portraits.
It’s been quite a trip down to memory lane, meeting all these friends during the last two months. I’ve been sharing with you pieces of my life and heart, just because.
I guess I kind of miss the time when I kept a diary. I started when I was a child and continued with various degree of constancy until my first years in Ireland. I’m not doing it anymore, basically, because I used it more to keep records of my love troubles and now that this part of my life has found stability, I feel I don’t have anything too exciting to report!
Laura is the most organised person I’ve ever met.
Everything she does has been thoroughly thought and planned, to dominate all the possibilities and be sure that nothing goes wrong.
That’s why she’s so good at her job as a Project Manager!
I met her when I was studying basic HTML and CSS, a course thought by her partner. They were both very fun so we ended up having a pint after the end of the course and we went out even after. But there’s another link between Laura and me: one day I saw on Instagram a photo of my friend Maria preparing for a Flamenco show with Laura. It turned out they were friends and had danced together for months! I couldn’t believe that lol. Dublin is such a small city!
My name is Laura and I come from Madrid, Spain. Ten years ago I decided to change the sun for the rain and the tapas for the pints and I moved to Dublin, Ireland. I’m passionate about Flamenco and I looove travelling and exploring new cultures. Even though I’m Spanish, I don’t like coffee, but I love a cuppa tea.
I speak Spanish because it’s my mother tongue. I’m fluent in English because I’ve been living and working in Ireland for 10 years. I speak Italian because I have Italian friends and I took classes many years ago. I also speak French although is very rusty since I haven’t practiced for years… Now I’m learning Russian because my other half is Russian and it’s a beautiful language 🙂
La soledad suele tener connotaciones negativas pero creo que es una oportunidad para mirar de cerca tus pensamientos, reflexionar y encontrar respuestas. Me encanta estar acompañada y compartir momentos con las personas que quiero, pero pasar tiempo en soledad es absolutamente necesario para nuestro autoconocimiento y crecimiento personal.
Loneliness has often a negative connotations but I think it is an opportunity to look closely at our thoughts, reflect and find answers. I love being around people and sharing moments with my loved ones, but spending time alone is absolutely necessary for our self-knowledge and personal growth.
Marco & Claudia
I am an only child, but Marco is my brother in spirit. I lived in his house for years, when I was studying at university.
We didn’t grow up together as children but we became adults together during those that I still consider the best years of my life.
We shared so many experiences together… laughter, anger, tears (mine), trips in Italy and abroad, countless kilos of pasta, many movies at home and the cinema, some booze and hangovers too, also one dawn at the top of the Gianicolo hill (one of the most beautiful places in the world), a few days before I took the plane to Dublin.
He was definitely one of the people I missed the most as soon as I left Italy.
Six years have gone by and our lives have completely changed.
I guess that happens when you plan to live abroad for 3 months and end up counting the years instead…
Now, when I go back and visit him, I always find him in very good company: Claudia is taking good care of my cousin! And she confirmed that he still opens the fridge, just for the sake of it; looks inside, like waiting for some inspiration, and then closes the door. I witnessed that scene hundreds of times! Therefore, I immediately thought to take a photo of him like that when I asked him to be portraited for this project!
I was born and raised in Rome, where I live with my family. I work in the hospital and in my spare time I like doing sports, traveling and taking some photos. Today I find a little less time and desire to do these activities, but my main passions still remain.
I speak Italian, more precisely Roman. For work I occasionally had to get by with English, but I am out of training and I always regret not having done an Erasmus at the University.
Non ho mai avuto problemi a vivere con serenità la solitudine, anzi è sempre stata una condizione che ricercavo ciclicamente nella mia vita. Adesso ho scoperto di non essere più così capace di vivere la solitudine con serenità e per lunghi periodi. Questo perché il mio assetto famigliare è cambiato è ho difficoltà a stare lontano dalla mia famiglia.
I have never had problems living solitude with serenity, indeed it has always been a condition that I have been looking for cyclically in my life. Now I have discovered that I am no longer able to stay on my own with serenity and for long periods. This is because my family structure has changed and it’s not easy to stay away from them.
I’m claudia, I come from Puglia, precisely from Barletta. For about six years I have lived in Rome, a city with its splendid monuments, perfectly responds to my passion for architecture. I love strolling around the streets and discovering something new every time, an exhibition, a little Madonna hidden in a corner, I like to go into a craft shop or get lost in the stalls of a market and enrich my collection of necklaces. I am a sporty person, I really like running because the movement, associated with the pressing noise of the heartbeat, makes me feel free and alive. I like traveling, getting to know new cities, cultures and new landscapes. There are many things that I’m passionate about even inside the house, but the need for freedom, triggered by this forced quarantine, forces me to write only the kind of activities that I usually do outside the confines of this “Truman show”.
I speak Italian still characterized by a series of closed accents and vowels typical of my being an Apulian DOC. I studied English at school, in fact I speak purely macaronic English.
Il significato di solitudine è difficile da descrivere perché rientra tra gli stati d’animo più intimi che ti lasciano senza fiato. Oltre a sentirti solo, quello che ti fa più paura è il silenzio e la conseguente sensazione di vuoto. Per me la solitudine è un momento di crescita, il silenzio aiuta a concentrarti su te stesso, a guardarti dentro per capire chi sei e cosa vorresti. Arrivata a Roma, ho provato questa sensazione, all’inizio non è stato facile perché mi sentivo persa, come se ad un certo punto si fosse spenta la luce in una stanza. Ogni riferimento è perso, ma in quel buio ho imparato ad attivare lo spirito di sopravvivenza. Oggi, non vivo più da sola, ma in dolcissima compagnia, però ogni tanto mi piace spegnare la luce e continuare ad ascoltare quella parte di me che, tutto sommato, da sola ci vuole stare.
The meaning of solitude is difficult to describe because it is one of the most intimate moods that leave you breathless. In addition to feeling lonely, what scares you most is silence and the resulting feeling of emptiness. For me, loneliness is a moment of growth, silence helps you focus on yourself, to look inside yourself to understand who you are and what you would like in the future. When I arrived in Rome, I felt this sensation, at the beginning it was not easy because I felt lost, as if at some point the light had gone out in a room. All references are lost, but in that darkness I learned to activate the spirit of survival. Today, I no longer live alone, but in sweet company, but every now and then I like to turn off the light and continue to listen to that part of me that wants to stay alone.
Erin. Isn’t that a lovely Irish name? Actually it isn’t, according to some page I googled, this name is not often bestowed to baby girls in Ireland, but it’s more common in the UK and US. However, they say that Erin derived from the Gaelic Érinn, the dative case of Érie, which is the Irish name for Ireland. Well, I think never a name has been more appropriate for a woman than Erin for my American Erin.
First of all, she is a beautiful, strong redhead. Second, she absolutely loves Ireland and when here in Dublin, she was over the moon to be able to experience a bit of life in the Emerald Isle. She came to Dublin for a school internship, where we met. That has been the most useless work experience I’ve ever had so far, but at least I got to know a kind soul with a beautiful smile. I took her for an Irish breakfast, once. That is a beautiful memory of my early times in Ireland.
When we chatted for these portraits, she shared her feelings of fear for this uncertain situation. She works in theatre and, like all of us whose work depends on big live events, she is wondering whether there will be new normality for her and how to cope with this endless waiting time. <3
“Who are you?” is a hard question for me to answer right now. I’m nearly 25 years old which equally feels ancient while reflecting back and young while looking forward. I grew up and went to school outside of Philadelphia and after finishing my education, I moved to where I now live in Los Angeles. My answer to “who are you?” as well as my main motivation in life has always been my career.
I love theatre and get to work at one of the best theatres in the country as an Assistant Production Manager. It really is my dream job. I love to the community aspect of the art form and that we make something that starts as nothing. Right now with the pandemic and ban on large gatherings is the first time I have ever not been working.
One of my friends in the entertainment industry asked what job I would do if live entertainment never returned, and I realized I have no answer. They say theatre is a tough business and only to go into it if you are so passionate about it that you cannot imagine doing anything else. If there was ever a time I doubted that, this has certainly solidified it.
So I don’t know who I am right now, but I have a good amount of time to figure it out.
I speak English because it is my mother tongue. I understand/read/can speak a bit of Spanish because I took many years of it in school. I wish I had kept up with it better and could really speak the language because it is so beautiful.
Being alone has definitely had different meanings throughout my life. As an outgoing extrovert, I always filled my free time by spending it with others. Some of the hardest moments in my life have been when I first moved to a new place and did not have people to connect with. Now, I have come to cherish those moments in the day when I can center my thoughts and detox. Living in Los Angeles means having the worst traffic one can imagine, and being alone in my car commuting after a stressful day at work has become a great space of peace for me. I really thrive on community and I am extremely fortunate to have an outstanding support community of friends and family.
I’ve always considered Francesco one of the most cultured of my friends. When he showed me the photo of this very bookshelf, I thought it was his home’s bookshelf. You know, the one where all the family’s books are. Then when I video called him, I realised that that bookshelf covers a full wall of his room and that was his own collection of books! Other kilos of books where all around, on the desk, on the bed table… I loved it and it confirmed my idea that the best Francesco’s portrait would have been surrounded by books.
He has a very funny side too. In fact, he showed me that among the books he not only keeps a pair of shoes, but also his very own paper figure dressed up like James Bond.
So the references for his portraits ranged from Albrecht Durer to Jim Morrison.
We have been in constant contact during the last weeks, because I did a freebie for him and his colleagues and created a very basic website with the free version of WordPress, to help them start their adventure as Tourist Guides, under the association “Olon”. If you live in Rome or plan to travel there (once this bloody pandemic is over) check them out!
I’m Francesco, 33 years old, I live in Rome, the city I love and where I’ve always been. I have a degree in history of art, and lately I became a touristic guide. I have always love to work in the field of art in my own town and I have always wish to show to the other people beauties and monuments of Rome. I love travelling to discover new customs and traditions, reading (I can say I’m a serial book’s devourer), writing, watching movies and listening to the music. I’m a very brainy person with a lot of critical attitude but sometimes I think I should focus less on facts and let the things happen just following the flow of the day.
I speak Italian because It’s my mother tongue and I live in Italy. I speak English due to my work and because I love English and American literature and music. I speak a little bit of French because I studied it in the middle school. I would improve my French to be able to work with it.
Con la solitudine ho sempre avuto un rapporto complesso. Fin da piccolo non sono mai stato troppo estroverso e spesso mi sono sentito come cantano i Red Hot Chili Peppers in Under the bridge ” senza persone a me vicine e con la mia città come unico amico”. Devo dire che con gli anni questa cosa è cambiata e conoscendo persone straordinarie come i miei amici più cari e la mia ragazza, ho scoperto la bellezza dello stare insieme e del condividere. Ancora oggi però non sono un tipo molto “social” e non mi piace circondarmi di conoscenti o legami superficiali, preferisco avere intorno a me persone a cui tengo, che possono darmi qualcosa e su cui posso contare nei momenti del bisogno. Credo di aver finalmente trovato un equilibrio nella gestione dei rapporti e ne vado fiero. Ancora oggi vivo la solitudine come una dicotomia di concetti: essere solo può significare stare bene con se stessi senza bisogno di cercare quello che sei negli altri. Ma può anche essere una cosa negativa come essere abbandonato e trovarti senza gli affetti più grandi con cui crescere e condividere esperienze. Una volta una amica mi ha detto: “Nella solitudine il solitario mangia se stesso, nella moltitudine lo divorano i molti. Ora scegli.” Non ho ancora scelto.
With loneliness, I have always had a complex relationship. Since I was a child I have never been too extroverted and often I felt like Red Hot Chili Peppers sing in “Under the bridge” “Sometimes I feel like my only friend Is the city I live in”.
I must say that over the years things have changed and meeting extraordinary people like my closest friends and my girlfriend, I discovered how great it is to spend time with others and share experiences. However, even today I’m not a very “social” type of guy and I don’t like to surround myself with acquaintances or superficial ties, I prefer to have around me people I care about, who can give me something valuable and whom I can count on in times of need. I think I have finally found a balance in managing relationships and I am proud of it. Still today I experience solitude as a dichotomy of concepts: being alone can mean feeling well with yourself, without having to chase your own “meaning” in other people’s vision. But it can also be terrible, if you feel abandoned and find yourself without your loved ones to grow up with and with whom share meaningful experiences. Once, a friend said to me: “In solitude the loners eat themselves, in the multitude the many devour them. Now choose.” I haven’t chosen yet.
Stay tuned for the last chapter of the Isolation Portraits Project, coming in the next few days.