For over four years, Ale Sandra – a 31-year-old Italian artist and photographer – has been aiming to draw insight about people’s lives by focusing on their ‘intimate living space.’ The project is called Souls in a Box and, so far, around 80 people have taken part. She wants to know how personal spaces can represent personalities; how objects and themes and natural environments can be a reflection of “memories, dreams, obsessions, hopes and points of view.”
“I’m just really interested in people,” she tells Huck over a mug of peppermint tea in her Berlin studio. The space, an Aladdin’s cave of fine art nude photography with a cornucopia of trinkets covering every available surface, is a piece of art in its own right. “I guess by knowing people you know the world – by seeing how people live, you get into their personality.”
How did it start? “I come from a very conservative place in southern Italy,” she explains. “People there fight diversity most of the time. When I left, I realised how important diversity actually is in the world. So, it’s my aim to show the world how beautiful diversity is, and how diverse diversity can be.”
Ale wants to reach 100 people, so that she can finish the project and publish the work in a book. The final image will be of herself in her ‘intimate space.’ “In a way, this has made me very rich,” she says. “I like to explore personalities. So, this is a really good opportunity to first get to know people and then explore who they really are from an anthropological perspective. Each character is totally different from the other ones.”
“Most people I met through this project ended up becoming friends. Some of them I ended up collaborating with on other types of projects too; a lot of them are performers or collectors, so we often have a lot in common. You get to know someone very deeply when you go into their place and photograph them. They explain all the details and what memories are connected to what objects.”
What has Ale learned about the human condition? “Most of these people are creative but not just because they work as ‘a creative,’” she muses. “They are creative in the way that they live, the way they set up their home, even in the way that they prepare their breakfast – it permeates every aspect of their life. When you accept creativity you just throw it into your everyday life – it’s just a reflection of who you are.”
Ale still needs to photograph around 20 more participants to complete her project. You can email her on: email@example.com.
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