/09 Adolescence

Alessandra Dragoni

School Days

SCHOOL DAYS is a photographic project focused on Public School’s students from the age of 6 to 13een. Three years ago I was asked, by the Municipality’s School Institutions of my home town, to document a festival called “Nutrimenti per la Crescita” (Nourishements for the growth). This festival, a result of the work done by Cantieri (a cultural promoter in the fields of education and performance) has become, in the years, a receptacle of schools expressive and performative projects, successively showed during public events with the aim of giving them visibility. Though, as soon as I was assigned, I thought that I would have directed my attention more on the “backstage” than on the performances itselves. My attention was, and still is, focused on the relationships between the kids, their attitude, their way to relate to each others. Their faces, their looks and most of all, their being the new generation. To be allowed into schools means to enter a territory normally forbidden to strangers. Schools are protected areas. They are, if you have the privilege to look at them from closer, the reflection of our entire society. Looking at those kids I look at myself. We are a mirror for the kids we live with, and they are for us. This project is meant to celebrate the “School Days” intended as an happy moment of life but also to raise questions and doubts about everyone’s responsability in doing all we can to guarantee youth a proper future.

Here under a couple of thoughts taken by an interwiew I did with Maria Rita Bentini for Ravenna2019.blog:

What kind of reality are you trying to show with your pictures?
I photograph trying to intervene the least possibile in my frames, trying to make kids compose their own image, to let them show me how they want to be seen . Generally I do not have much time so I need to make quick decisions about what I want to “save” from a certain situation. Often I shoot too much, taken away by the uncontrollable energy that is around kids at that age. Energy is beauty, and it often overwhelms me.

Does photography mean snapshot in your way of working, or is it something else?
“Alessandra’s snapshots, often ironic but never affected, are fast and immediate samples, which focus on apparently insignificant details”. (Silvia Loddo “Nutrimenti per la crescita: school days” by Anticorpi edizioni, 2011):
I like to define my photography kind of “snapshot deluxe”. I am quick in operating but the formal result is very important to me. I try to combine the way of the snapshot with a more documentary language. This is my way, or, at least , my aim.

Alessandra Dragoni

Ravenna, 25 giugno 2012

at 14 extended version by Ale Dragoni from Alessandra Dragoni on Vimeo.