a photographic project by Francesca Cao
Housing communities are residential services for disabled people, that aim to meet the needs of the person, to improve the capability of autonomy, their personal growth and the social integration, with a particular attention to the existing personal relations and to the organization of supporting networks for the single person and for the group.
The people that live in these communities, live in a very particular situation because they have to live at close contact with strangers, sharing with them almost every aspect of their daily life.
They are alienated from their home environment, to live in a house where they can have a new role.
The days change rhythm and every guest needs to learn new tasks, like cleaning the house, preparing the meals or during the activities that are proposed by the staff.
The photographer Francesca Cao started working on this theme during March 2016, when a community in Milano asked a photographic documentation of the daily life of the house. During this work she decided to take some portraits using a very personal technique, shooting them through a broken filter. Since three years Francesca started photographing backlit portraits, panoramas and still life through the broken filter of a Mamiya VII camera. In these pictures, when the light hits the crack on the glass, shapes of light appear on the frame.
Shooting the backlit portraits with this effect, the identity of the person is veiled, because the light partly covers the faces, creating a correspondence between the disorientation that these people live when they move to these facilities and the photographic technique.
To complete the storytelling of the places, there are details of the interiors of the communities, shot through the same filter. In normal light conditions though, the effect is not present on the picture, giving to the photographic object a percentage of casualty that is almost human, becoming a metaphor of the vulnerability of the portrayed people.