FEDERICO CIAMEI. TRAVEL WITHOUT MOVING
by Rocco Venezia



© Federico Ciamei from the series 'Travel Without Moving'

We have recently talked with Federico Ciamei about his practice and latest project 'Travel Without Moving', a metaphysical journey inspired by the diaries of several travels and explorers of the world.

What is your background and which of your past experiences do you think have shaped your visual language the most?

Federico Ciamei (FC): I worked as a graphic and multimedia designer for some years before moving to photography. I've been part of the new economy boom (the rise and the fall) and thus I have learned beyond a visual language to work with an hacker ethic (sharing information, learn how things work hands on, the value of community and collaboration).

Can you tell us about 'Travel Without Moving'?

FC: It all started in a museum of natural history. I love to wander in those places and I was looking at a diorama of the habitat of some big cat in the Costa Rica Cloud Forest. I noticed that the text was referring to a very specific place, also with latitude and longitude. Back home I have searched the web for more information about that place, and I stumbled on a page from the diary of an explorer telling a local legend about the forest and a treasure hidden under a waterfall. That discovery gave me an Indiana Jones feeling I wasn't able to suppress and I started my 'Travel Without Moving' project.


© Federico Ciamei from the series 'Travel Without Moving'

The project is also a book published by Skinnerboox in May 2016. Did you have a book in mind from the very start? Could you tell us a bit on the book making process?

FC: Yes, it was a book from the beginning, and it developed with that idea in mind. I still miss the experience of a big exhibition but the one of doing a book is fantastic. And I think I've done all the steps: working with a designer to make the dummy in 6 copies (note to myself in the future and to the other photographers: 6 is not enough, make 10 copies at least), the dummies prizes, then the publisher, then the crowdfunding, the promotion, the interviews, selling the books, the fairs, the book prizes, the acquisitions from museums and libraries, and now the sold out. I think I made the first photo 5 years ago and now that the book is sold out it is still part of my life. I'm telling this because I undervalued the time scope of the whole experience when I started. It must be something that you really like to be able to keep going for so many years.


© Book 'Travel Without Moving' by Federico Ciamei


© Book 'Travel Without Moving' by Federico Ciamei


© Book 'Travel Without Moving' by Federico Ciamei

At the beginning of the book we find extracts of travel diaries can you tell us more about the importance and the relation of the text with the images?

FC: Those texts are very important for my book. I think that the main activity of a photographer is the framing, the selection of a part from the total and this activity can be extended to something that goes beyond the images.


© Federico Ciamei from the series 'Travel Without Moving'

 
© Federico Ciamei from the series 'Travel Without Moving'

You are working also for editorial and commercial clients, how do you balance your personal work with this commercial aspect of your practice?

FC: My personal projects and the commissioned ones are two distinct activities that share my time, energy and dedication to photography. Recently I've been working on many assignments, and ironically many of those were real, traditional travels, so I didn't have much extra time. But I love both aspects of my work.


© Federico Ciamei from the series 'Travel Without Moving'

What next? Can we expect a new personal project any time soon?

FC: In the future I would like to experiment with shorter narratives that I can develop in less time and, on the other side, partner with some institution or magazine to work on a bigger commissioned project without giving up personal autorship.

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LINKS
Federico Ciamei
Urbanautica Italy