No-one teaches you how to uncover your true self.
And, if by chance, you become interested in it, no-one will bear with you.

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We are born into societies that give out rules, century-old trends, as well as top-down brainwashing. For some of us, social issues ultimately turn into threats, callous threats to our very survival. Hermits bravely take refuge in the laws of nature, in their god, or more simply, in their individual philosophy of life. Perhaps they have grown tired of interacting with humankind, for, more often than not, it shows itself all but compassionate towards the weak and misfits.
The urban scene of the twenty-first century is in need of nature, of its teachings. Furthermore, the only material space in which some individuals can express their true selves, is within four narrow, tightly-packed walls. The Hikikomori phenomenon, those who retire from society to pursue a life of reclusion in which technology being their essential friend, is deemed an illness with varying degrees of pathological severity.

Hikikomori by Giancarlo Colloca sheds light on the beauty concealed by the shadow of those who have decided to forsake society and maybe themselves too. The photo investigation does not seek to tease out the causes underlying the phenomenon, but rather to bring into focus its shared, day-to-day features. It proceeds from the outward namely from what they decide to renounce thenceforth, casting oneself indoors, deep down, to the very core of the slightest emotions.
Each and every snapshot seeks to highlight the very root of social discomfort, as well as the tenderness of the solitary shelter, a microcosm where detail, nuance, simplicity become relevant. Hikikomori represents an aesthetic effort aimed at disclosing, empathically understanding and appreciating what choosing to isolate oneself might mean.

Tenderness and contrasts such as harmony and distress, Yin and Yang continue to move into a suspended time. Each snapshot portrays the absence of effort, of breaking down, of collapse: fringe ideas in the era of willpower, winners, wielding power, its toll. Perhaps the crucial step taken by those who depart from their kind, consists in the longing to seize back their own time, to appreciate the wonder of simple things,  the wonder of silence.
How fragile we might find ourselves, overnight. Behind the strong beliefs of the individual, if not of an entire community, perhaps emotional roots lie hidden. We stockpile stress and expectations, until, one day, some trivial shock blows our world up, leaving us entrapped by our darkest, our deepest-seated fears.

The very title of the snapshot project, Hikikomori, draws its name from Japanese culture, homeland of this phenomenon and from where the photographer’s style draws inspiration. Each haiku placed at the side of each snapshot stands as a homage to the tradition: feelings of solitude, mystery, intensity, as well as the awareness of things, the world, time, beauty of simplicity and frailty are at the core of this verse. If the verses highlight these notions, the snapshots embody them.

2011-2015  © Giancarlo Colloca

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