February 17, 2023
NOT FULLY VISIBLE
Photography by NSIRIES
Interview by Melanie Meggs
Nsiries is Alessio Maria Ciacio. An Italian artist based in Bologna, delving in particular in photography, videography, and music production. Having been born and raised in Sicily, Nsiries is inspired by the sounds of the sea, sunsets, and the Sicilian soul.
Nsiries has always considered art as a therapy for his personal well-being and he believes that it’s become a fundamental part of his existence. As far back as he can remember, he has always been a creative person and tried to use this creativity in order to express himself. Photography, now, has become an integral part of his life.
Photography, as a symbolic and non-verbal language, same as all the other artistic disciplines in which Nsiries engages, allowing him to create and visualise a bridge that connects his very hidden innerself with the real world. Nsiries is very instinctive in his photographs, trying to capture the spontaneity both in contexts and in the people around him. He often carries his camera with him, always thirsty for the moments that lead him to what he can call a “worthy shot”.
“I am really into the faces that are not fully visible and it particularly represents me. I am inspired by surrealism; I think it's interesting to generate a certain feeling of ‘mystery’ within the observer. The contrast between visible and apparently visible generates some kind of interest in the observer. A feeling that opens the doors of imagination, disorienting the common sense that makes things already fully visible.”
IN CONVERSATION WITH NSIRIES
THE PICTORIAL LIST: Hello Nsiries...welcome to The List! Please tell us about yourself.
NSIRIES: I am a law graduate and I am also preparing to take a law specialisation. I have always been creative person: my first goal when I was a child was to become a painter. I was also attracted to all kinds of technologies and for this reason my parents bought me, at fourteen, my first personal computer. This made me able to explore new ways to be creative, starting to experiment with videos, images, and music art. In the last few years, I have come to understand that creativity is an integral part of my existence; it allows me to escape from the real world and explore an intimate form of meditation.
TPL: Could you tell us how growing up in Sicily has inspired your work today? What special qualities unique to your home country influence both your photography and the way you portray your community?
N: Growing up in Sicily has inspired my work in an indirect way. Sicily is a big island, in the middle of the Mediterranean sea; a place that offers picturesque landscapes, beautiful people, and delicious food. When you are in front of something special you want that specialty in what you do, so I always tried to make something that can be described as unique; something that you can find only where it is shown. Consequently, what I offer to my community is the result of something I felt in the face of something extraordinary (in a sentimental way).
TPL: What would you say first drew you to photography? Can you remember that first moment/s that you pressed the shutter that sparked your passion?
N: Since quality is a must, and since my phone wasn't good enough to shoot videos and photos, at fifteen years old, my parents bought me a small camera. By doing so, I was able to make my creative language more flexible. Even as I started taking photos with my phone, my passion only began to blossom once I started to learn what photography can do, how it can make me feel, and how powerful it can be. I believe this is more of a spiritual moment than a tangible one, and it only came about with time.
TPL: Talk us through the narrative of NOT FULLY VISIBLE. When and how did this project first manifest for you? What was the inspiration? What journey are you taking us on? What have you learned from this project that has surprised you?
N: NOT FULLY VISIBLE represents me specifically. This is not only a project, but it is probably my identity since most of my work depicts people who are 'not fully visible'. All began with the advent of social media, where everything is about aesthetics, and not only in an artistic way. I began my social media experience by putting things in front of my face. Then I experimented with different types of "face hiding" in a more creative way. The impact of this process is incredible because social media is lived by people who show everything, and people who see everything. So, when you see something that is not fully visible, you become curious about it. What's behind? Who is he? Rene Magritte said: "We always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.”
Now the “Not fully visible” represent me, in particular.
TPL: How would you describe your photography, and what would you say you are always trying to achieve artistically? What importance does storytelling or key themes hold for you in your photography?
N: I can describe my photography as cinematic and mysterious at times. To be original, I'm going through my creative flow and trying to just be without trying to be. I think storytelling and themes are important, but because I'm instinctive, I don't usually think about what to do next. Creativity is a flow to me.
TPL: There is an intimacy with your subjects, an up close and personal engagement. Do you know your subjects? Please tell us about the emotion you share with your subjects, and what this brings to your work.
N: Most of the time the subjects already know me and my photography style. Therefore, sometimes I know my subject, but most of the time I'm with people I don't know. In all of these cases, I always encourage them to be themselves. It's important because not all of them are necessarily camera friendly, and since I'm not camera friendly too, I can understand what they feel. As a result, the most important thing is that they feel comfortable, that they feel like themselves. In this way, I am able to make a sincere "collaboration" with my subject.
When you see something that is not fully visible, you become curious about it. What's behind? Who is he?
NOT FULLY VISIBLE represents me...
TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?
N: I think that you should see what Alessio Albi and Paolo Raeli make. Alessio Albi is amazing. He has creativity, quality, and most of the time lights are well used; Paolo Raeli is Sicilian too, and he is more of an emotive person. He takes pictures that make you dream and transport you to an immersive world full of emotions.
TPL: How do you educate yourself to grow in your photography?
N: If you try more, you will fail more and grow more.
TPL: What was the first camera you ever held in your hand, brought to eye, and released a shutter on? What do you use now? How does this equipment play a part in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have anything on your wishlist?
N: My first camera was a Canon 700D, and now I have a Sony A7. Sony makes me able to capture better details, and to manage better shadows and lights. On my wishlist there is the expensive Sony A7iv.