My conversation with photographer Franca Perra about a life near the sea:
I live with the northern sea and Franca comes from the sea of the south. Franca says, if you want to “meet” someone in the digital world, you have to stay authentic, then magic occurs even in this fast world and you learn something about the other person and about yourself. That’s true. I know the northern sea and the sea of the south both from childhood on well. Franca’s words and her pictures showed me that in the end, there is no gap between them despite all the differences, no gap between the two worlds I grew up in.
Franca is born near the sea and in some way she comes from the sea. Her mother used to call her flower of May, but she preferred the name her grandmother gave her: little sea spider. Franca has the sea in her soul. As a photographer with an architect training she thought a lot about why people so urgently want to live near the coast. Franca: “In the end we all have this inner voice which drives us to the sea, some kind of instinct of our earliest childhood probably. It seems that we all have to revive the experience to see and feel the sea again and again.” Even if it’s through looking at Franca’s pictures.
The sea of the south and the sea of the north are two different worlds, with different horizontal lines, lights and dewiness, with so many varieties. Franca told me, that she is always caught by surprise when suddenly a slight difference occurs in the air. At her home, at the isle of Sardegna, the summer light is very sharp and the air is hot. The sea in these days is peaceful without clear distinction from the sky. What remains, she said, is a blankness full of nothing and yet full of all thinkable possibilities. Her isle is a land of the wind like my north too, a strong wind, called the Maestrale. Franca: “There is a small, nearly unknown, sparse and dry island near Sardegna, impossible to live on, because of the hard wind and the drought, with wild garlic and no shades for shelter, just some sea-gulls and wild rabbits.” She loves this place, the different lights, the smell, the wind, the sparse vegetation.
If she is to long away from home, she feels the absence of the sea. If she is traveling, she is always seeking her southern sea and she finds it in the northern sea on her journeys in Denmark, Norway, France and Netherlands. In the North she describes the coast as different:” The horinzon is more open, but the light is barred. The colours reflect a nostalgic light with variations of a soft colour palette. The sea here is imposing, the coastal line is unstable. The landscape is ephemeral with the sea and the tides assiduously leaving the shore and the flint naked, the sea is molding them continuously, painting an abstract canvas, an authentic land art.”
Franca told me, that while she was bowing to the sea with all its weather changes and its infinite lights and tides, she realizes that the desert land of the south is not so different from the lonesome northern steppe. The mild horizon from the north shaped by the fog is not far away from the southern humid cloud cover of the Mediterranean Sea. Franca: “What remains different and captivating is the alterability of the light, that defines landscapes, inner landscapes too, that have the capability to renew themselves continuously in my mind and have the power to inspire me.”
© all pictures Franca Perra, all rights reserved
An inspiring week my dear followers! Take good care of yourself, Melanie Kettner