In 2015, photographer and scientist Bob Farese, Jr., moved to a new and somewhat bewildering city, finding himself suddenly without the usual creature comforts of family and friends, and experiencing aloneness in an unexpected way. To soothe his feelings of isolation, Farese began taking street photographs drawing inspiration from the spontaneous and observational style of iPhone photographers David Guttenfelder and Gueorgui Pinkhassov and the work of Cartier-Bresson. Images were captured in a mindful, open and receptive manner, alert to interesting viewpoints of everyday things that are hidden in plain view. Beauty in the banal.
Over the next five years, Farese continued his deeply personal photographic journey with perceptive guidance from his mentor, the noted British/Egyptian photographer, Laura El-Tantawy. Over 100 of Farese’s exquisite images from the collection will be published in his first monograph, Am I Not Light (Lecturis, August 2021). The work reflects the photographer’s experience of arrival, the yearning for connection, and the newfound feeling of solitude. It is a meditation on loneliness, but not on solitary aloneness. Rather it expresses how one can feel alone even whilst being among many.
Feeling alone is a universal experience; Farese’s book is his artistic response to these feelings. The work transmits a sense of distance and solitude as the photographer roams the streets sometimes in the rain, in the cold, at night. Yet Farese’s photographs are punctuated by bursts of light and color that elevate the everyday to the extraordinary. Wandering glimpses. Beauty.
The images are lyrical, sometimes sensual, at times direct, often with a delicate distance. They made their way into the photographer’s eye from his peripheral vision, unexpectedly, as light called out to him. Many are abstractions of the ordinary, framed with an aesthetic to render them extraordinary.
The images are embedded in an accompanying poem, written by Farese, that capture his emotions while walking and shooting. Together the poem and the images offer a contemplative experience, inviting one to stop and rest within the pages. This experience is heightened by the book’s design, which beckons the reader to discover the connections between the words and pictures.