When I grow up
by Giovanni Savino
About the Book
In these images we are able to re-explore the chronology of pain in human life: from the pain and confusion in our infancy with our pre-natal and post-natal mother, to the persecution complex of our aggressiveness that brings back, as a boomerang, a sense of guilt and the need of expiation, from the pain of caducity, of our separation from the object of love, the loss of a dear one, to the pain of a necessary self-revision and the following feeling of being alone.
And this is not a useless suffering; on the contrary, it is a source of knowledge of ourselves, as philosophy and psychoanalysis taught us. Pain is a part of our lives and through pain humanity can acquire wisdom and understanding.
Surely pain can generate knowledge but it is also true that knowledge can induce pain.
The pain, the “pathos” of viewing these images, of hearing these stories, makes us “aware” in the sense of “Pathein mathos”- from ancient Greek- I learn though suffering. Surely this kind of knowledge, which represent many things but indifference to the condition of man, a theme very central in Savino’s work, makes us suffer once more.
Even if pain is a very personal feeling, by indentifying with these photographs, much more intensely than through many intellectual and verbal analysis, pain reaches and envelop us at a personal level.
Savino is a photographic master of identification interplay and reminds us, along with Marina Cvetacva that “ The soul, vertex of spirituality for the common man, is for the spiritual man, almost flesh”.
Italian, medical doctor,
psychiatrist and psychoanalyst,
accomplished diver, musician and writer.
I first discovered photography through an old shoebox of yellowing pictures on my grandparents’ kitchen table in Italy. They were born into extreme poverty at the beginning of the 20th century in the malaria-ridden swamps of southern Tuscany. Their pictures quickly became a portal for me to travel to a different era. They became a visual corroboration of the oral histories I heard over and over around a bowl of roasted chestnuts during the long winter evenings of my childhood. My passion for photography is about documenting and preserving oral culture. The main subjects of my personal work have been unsung heroes of everyday life: everyday people. For many years I worked for CBS News, traveling around the world learning to tell visual stories. Now, based between New York City and the Caribbean, I continue to find stories worth documenting and people worth giving voice to.