My neighbors

 

My neighbors – Milan March- April 2020

On March 9, 2020, Italy was the first country, among Western democracies, to apply a full lockdown to counter the spread of Covid-19. It would last 69 days and the measures were as unprecedented as restrictive. For the first time in living memory, Italians were forbidden to leave their houses if not for groceries or urgent needs and the whole country seemed to pause. Confined indoors, our daily routines were disrupted and we struggled to make sense of what was happening. Striving for some diversion, I started observing my neighbors. Before March, we had crossed paths almost daily but never really looked at each other and hardly spoken at all. That’s when I started looking out of my balcony to watch the 20th century’s building in front, opened the door of my apartment to check the stairwell. Keeping the recommended distance even in those small quarters, this is where I started to get to know my neighbors, who soon became characters in a story. These people, unknown to me in the past, had suddenly become a precious company in the long days of indoor confinement. It’s in these common spaces where we met, staircases and balconies, that I collected pictures and stories to compose a visual diary of those days. The present portfolio is a selection of the portraits that may not correspond in full to the actual personality of the subjects as pictures also reflect what I was undergoing since I was myself part of what seemed a massive social experiment. Therefore, these pictures reflect not simply the reality of my surrounding during those months, but also the will to distance myself from that experience. The choice of black and white comes from the will to avert the repetition and place in the past this experience that scarred our memories so deeply.