“Desperate Intentions” by Viviana Peretti
Conversation with Viviana Peretti
by Paola Núñez Solorio
How would you describe “Desperate intentions”?
“Desperate Intentions” is a journey through New York, a chaotic and always too busy metropolis. The exchange of words, desires and memories that is typical of many cities often doesn’t exist here where solitary shadows cross the metropolis facing the paradox between the myth of New York as an island of salvation for many immigrants and the human desert that often welcomes newcomers.
Referring to this myth, the images of this project are charged with a sense of solitude and nostalgic isolation. How do you explain this feeling?
The inspiration for the series “Desperate Intentions” came as natural response to what I experienced when I arrived in New York after living almost a decade in Colombia. The warm and friendly welcome I received in South America that made me feel immediately at home, was replaced by the vertigo indifference of a city where everyone is always too busy and focused on himself and his small universe made just of duties and obligations.
Is that why you decided to shoot in black and white using a panoramic camera? Do you think it contributes to conveying this feeling of coldness and indifference?
I didn’t plan to shoot in black and white or go back to analog photography after years shooting digital and mostly in color, but once again it was something that came to me as an obvious response to this city and my life in it. Octavio Paz used to say that “reality is more real in black and white” and for me NY is more true in black and white, without the distraction of the color that makes it looks so glamorous and fake, the set of a movie devoid of reality. The decision to shoot with a panoramic camera was also a kind of accident. I started using the Widelux that allowed me to show the mood of the metropolis, a kind of “how life feels in this city”. But I also mixed the panoramic format with the 4:6 one to make the series more dynamic.
What was your experience taking photographs of New York, a city that has been photographed more than any other? Was it difficult?
It wasn’t at all. I don’t look for inspiration in the work of other photographers; I don’t want to be inspired by others. I respond to places by taking pictures; I love to discover a new city walking around without a plan or photographic target. How the city feels to me and how I feel in the city; what surprise me; what gives me different emotions; what language a new place and its human soul speaks, these are the only things that matter when I’m out taking pictures. Sometimes from this first exploration and response to a new place, other photographic plans come that generally end in a series about some specific aspect of a place, city or community.
About the artist
Viviana Peretti is a freelance photographer based in New York. In 2000, after graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Rome, she moved to Colombia where she specialized in Photojournalism and spent nine years working as a freelance photographer. In 2010 she graduated in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism from the International Center of Photography.
She has received fellowships and awards from the International Center of Photography, the Joannie M. Chen Fund in New York, the University of Salamanca, the Spanish Embassy in Colombia, the Photo Museum in Bogotá, and the Colombian Ministry of Culture. She has been published in a number of international newspapers and magazines including The New York Times.