by Niko Devera of FIU in Rome, Italy
Rome, you are spectacular. You’re a chaotic fusion of an ancient past in a modern world. The effortless host of an entire world religion, with an ornate exploitation of its beauty and atrocities. You’re a myriad of cigarette butts accumulating on cold wet paved streets, in a city lined with pedestrians crossing congested roads at times that would kill them anywhere else. You’re the unbearable and inexplicable smell of human feces on a metro train, the constant rejection faced by impoverished illegal street vendors, the arena where bodies were once viciously mutilated in the exchange of an uproar cast by a crowd of 80,000. You are a city full of life that is conscious of the death of its past. The source of my numerous facile dissociations with reality, and my muse. I chose to photograph you in a raw and unidealized way so that I may never forget you. Where my words falter and have been barricaded, my photographs communicate to and about you. I photograph you so that my laughably deficient memory has the visual aid of my unhindered perspective of you and your people in the years and decades ahead where I look back on my time with you in reminiscent nostalgia. But you are incredibly overwhelming. I constantly find myself in necessary moments of motionless awe where all I choose to do is look at you, so that I may only have that single solitary moment with you for the rest of my mortal life, rather than an attempted preservation of the emotion I felt in that time for you. But at times, to be frank, you’re a bitch. Your beauty is double-sided; I fear it’s familiarity which raises the question of my possible subconscious blindside to the beauty in my own hometown. Is your unfamiliarity fabricating my sense admiration for you, or are you inherently beautiful? How long will it take for me to hate you?