I first became acquainted with California photographer Douglas Stockdale through the blogoshere. At one time, he was involved in four blogs and making his own work, all will holding down a full time job in the “real” world. He still produces the blogs Singular Images, The Photo Book, and The Photo Exchange.
In his sliver of free time, Douglas has created a new book, Ciociaria. Ciociaria, about a region in central Italy, is having its European launch in conjunction with FotoGrafia Festival Internazionale di Roma, this September in Rome, Italy. The Festival runs from September 23rd to October 23rd. Edizioni Punctum will be distributing the book in Europe and Douglas will be handling the distribution in the US, and taking pre-sale reservations on his site or blog.
Ciociaria: This project is an investigation into complexities of familiarity, ambiguity and displacement, about an underlying discomfort with your surroundings in which it seems you belong, but do not fit in. It is about being a stranger in a vaguely familiar place.
My project took place in a loosely defined region in central Italy that encompasses places called Anagni, Pigilo, Fuiggi, Morolo, Acuto, Torre Cajetan, Ferentino, Fresinone and Porciano. The people of this ancient Latin region have adopted a traditional name, Ciociaria. This name is derived from a particular ancient leather sandal, the ciocie, worn long ago and yet still today by a few. This region is without a known history and this has intrigued my imagination as the terrain and environment remind me of my home in Southern California. I am drawn to investigate the similarities and contradictions I sense about this region, and it is a metaphoric place for the dichotomy of belonging while yet feeling a sense of alienation.
As an American, I have only the slightest ability to converse in the local Italian language. I was neither raised in this region nor can I claim to be very knowledgeable of the culture or customs, I am truly an outsider who is looking in. Although I observe events that I relate to, nevertheless, these same events also make me feel uncomfortable, as I can never be sure of the true meaning of what is unfolding before me. This region remains an allusive mystery to me and reveals many hints of a complex and multi-layered culture that elicits familiar memories of home.