What have you been doing since graduating from the General Studies Program?
I have been trying to get some exhibitions, show the work while keep making it. Making work after school is much harder and slower, it deserves dedication and self-discipline. I have also been a teaching assistant at ICP and working part-time for a B&W darkroom master printer. I was one of the 2013 darkroom residents at the Camera Club of New York, and that kept me busy and gave me a great opportunity to have a solo show, that is opening this week, the 7th of November.
What impact has the experience of going through the ICP program had on you?
It was intense. I was lucky to get into the program because I didn’t know that much about photography, I was really young and my background was barely anything. So I learned a lot, it really opened my mind not just about photography but about art in general. I believe that year at ICP really sped up the process of finding my personal voice.
Is there anything that has surprised you subsequent to graduation?
I experienced how you really need time to digest all the information you have been acknowledging in a short period of time. I really realized how much I’d learned and achieved only the year after school.
What would you say to people contemplating applying to the program?
If you are willing and able to spend a year completely dedicated to photography I would say go for it. Remember that you get from the program what you put in. Dedication is the key. And you’ll get to know amazing people from all over the world, with different backgrounds and age, becoming part of a great community that hopefully will remain.
In your Mente Originaria / Original Mind, there’s a repetition of a physical theme, and in particular a facial theme. Does it represent your interest in identities? Can you talk a little bit about that?
More than a facial theme, I would say a “head theme”. I’m interested in the head because it is where the mind takes place. The mind is definitely the most interesting and crucial part of the human. At the end, everything comes and goes back to the mind and there’s not much left. Speaking about identity, I have a few photographs that deal with that issue. The first one that comes to my mind is the self portrait face covered with clay. I made that photograph in a period of my life when I realized that the everyday mask I used to wear was kind of falling apart, leading me to show the real myself more clearly. But I don’t think that getting rid of your mask is really possible. We are always wearing masks and unless you totally eliminate your ego, like for an example a zen monk would do, you don’t have that much choice. Anyway, I would say my interest in the head is mainly driven by my attraction for the mind in a more general way.
Francesco’s Mente Originaria / Original Mind opens this Thursday, Nov 7 at the Camera Club of New York.