About the Artist: Benedetta Ristori is a freelance photographer currently based in Rome,Italy. Her work is focus on the tension that exists between a form – such as a human head or a square – and the space which it both occupies and is contained by. Crucial concepts of her stylistic research: decadence, abandonment, emptiness and new approach to classic beauty. In 2014 is interviewed by the magazine Vanity Fair – Style.it in the Emerging Photographers section. In 2015 Benedetta is one of the finalist of the ‘Next Photographer Award’ by D&AD in partnership with Getty Images. In 2016 one photo of her project “Lay Off” is the winner of the People category in the 16th Smithsonian Magazine photo contest. The same year her project “Lay Off” is selected by Vogue Italia for the photographic section Photostories. The series ‘East’ is published on It’s Nice That, Freunde Von Freunden, The Space Magazine, The Calvert Journal and others. In 2017 is one of the 100 creatives chosen to represent the Lazio region in the enterprise “Lazio Creativo 2017”.
East is a 'on the road' journey through the countries of the Balkan Peninsula. The project aims to explore the relationship between the past and present of these nations and show how the past may influence or interact with the world today.
A particular focus is given to countries, which until 2006, were part of Yugoslavia and is immortalized what remains of this socialist period, a period that has left in these lands significant traces of relations with the Soviet Union.
In the project I have also immortalized some ‘Spomenik’. The "Spomenik" memorials are reminders of bloody battles and thousands of deaths in the concentration camps. They were part of the celebratory program of the Yugoslav government in an attempt to show the strength of the Socialist Republic through a strong visual impact.
The nations that you see portrayed are Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania.
Below, Benedetta answered a few more questions about her series and photography practice!
Why did you choose photography over other artistic mediums?
The choice of photography was a very spontaneous choice. I've always had a camera since I was very young; it has always been a natural instinct to immortalize what was around me in a realistic way.
How did this series start for you creatively?
This series began with a great passion for the brutalist architecture of the Soviet era. I began to pass on this theme and consequently to study the history and places where they were built.
Through this research I was very fascinated by the history of Eastern Europe, in particular the history of those nations that formed Yugoslavia.
From that moment on, I decided to make my first trip to those countries to see what I only saw on books or on the web, and I fell in love with it.
What reflections have you come to after finishing this series? If you are still working on the series, what revelations have come up while creating the series?
I'm still working on this series, even though I've almost come to the conclusion. I've been working on this project for almost three years and I can say it was a continuous discovery.
I have met people of different nationalities who have accepted and welcomed me in their reality.
I traveled in places through every season, but despite this the desire to tell the beauty of what I had in front of my eyes never stopped me. This helped me a lot even to know myself, my limitations and confront me daily with my willpower
Do you ever get in creative slumps? If you do, how do you get out of them? If not, what methods have you created not to get into a slump?
It has happened in the past. It was not easy and I'm glad I did not have it for a long time.
What always pushed me to go on was to believe in what I do one hundred percent. I'm not a very confident person, but at some point I I realized that being a photographer and work with photography was what mattered to me most of all. Once you understand this, you can only move forward and deal with all the crises that you will have because you don’t have any alternative. You have to move on.
Are there any books, movies, magazines or podcasts that you would recommend people to check out?
Lately I'm reading Murakami's books - I suggest "Sputnik Sweetheart" and also Don DeLillo's book "White Noise". In this historical moment, I also recommend the documentary about North Korea "The Propaganda Game". As for the magazine the all analogue “Pylot Magazine”.
Lastly, what artists are currently inspiring you?
No doubt, Richard Misrach.