back next wendy campbell photographed by luigi cassinelli november 2015

Enduring Truth - 11/12


Polyphemus' monstrous selfishness is innate. Empathy has been blinded since birth because the creature only sees through one eye. Homer's monster has been designed to perform the ultimate fanatic.

In the quest for truth, the epic duel between Ulysses and Polyphemus speaks to me as the human struggle between freedom and fanaticism. Ulysses desires to know and seeks to learn from his wrongs. Polyphemus' nature is destructive; the creature lives to hurt and tear apart to feed his obsession. He doesn't question the rights and wrongs of his actions; for he follows the cult of narcissistic absolute power: 'I hurt, therefore I am.'

My assessment is that we all face choices at each breath. If we choose fanaticism, we flip into monsters in a blink. By refusing one eye, we relinquish perspective, depth, right and left views. It all starts when our heart falls for egotism and narcissism. In that space, we become indifferent to the search for truth and we fabricate truth. We build fables, fantasies, online virtual "relationships," theories, plots, ideologies, and we treat them as real. On that path, while facing reality we only see what we want to see; we let our mind become prisoner of obsessions and feel only what is convenient and serves the current one. Cowardly, we disregard what we actually do and our focus is for our intentions only.

In and out of photography, I also learned that earning truth means facing and connecting to the whole orchestra of sorrow woven in the human condition. Stress, betrayal, disappointment, and grief are in permanent union with beauty, bliss, freedom, and the inestimable feeling of being alive. I won't fully earn truth without accepting how life unfolds. This is why I see truth as a practice, rather than a judgment. When I ignored empathy and compassion, I chose to close one eye and built my own no way out cave. I can only blame myself, not the gods. I value my ur-photographs precisely because they are permanent fossils of the history I experienced. They help me to ground my mind with my choices, rather than my interpretations.

Facing choices, at times I had the courage to practice honesty. I truly felt how nothing is better than being yourself. Other times, I mingled with denial. Why? I am a human, a living struggle of contradictions, and in the name of justice I did the unjust. I feared fear, forgetful of how important fear is. Denial is the enemy hiding in the cave. Denial froze the continuity of my quest, not fear. When courage and grit revive, I find again the enduring path, my persistent search for truth.

The Ur-photograph

Ref. UR-W372430-1-16

scan of original photographic negative ur-w372430-1-16

Ilford Hp5+ | Kodak XTOL

November 2015, South West Florida