To travel is to take a journey into yourself – Davide Buscaglia’s 365 Strangers
Summer 2015 is over. Memories of high temperatures, Turin’s crowded pools, ice creams and bike rides across Parco del Valentino are still fresh in my mind. There is another thing that keeps me very good company over these rainy and windy first days of Autumn. A project – a dream, maybe – developed by a very smart guy who I recently interviewed for this website. Davide meets the Other. Capital O. He has a boundless trust in the human beings. The Other – we are told – should be scary. They steal our jobs. They rape our women. They invade us. Neither Davide, nor many of you dear readers, agree with this outlook.
This is the interview. Reading it again moved me and touched something really deep within me. From Davide’s words, a good world arises. People keep dreaming and fighting and finding new solutions, although dreams are shattered.
Tell me briefly about yourself: who you are, how old you are, what you do, where you live?
My name is David Buscaglia and I have recently entered my 30s. I’m almost a psychologist / psychotherapist, and after seven years in Turin I’m back to Savona province. How long for … I do not know. In the meanwhile, I write and I take photos while accepting work proposals that sometimes fall from the sky.
Where does the idea of the “Strangers” come from?
I think the whole project, as perhaps everything in life, was born out of a need. Or rather, more needs. I’d say, at least 3. The first need was to definitively exclude goalless days from 2015. 2014 was full of them. Then, the need of reducing lonely days. My partner is who I’m usually sharing full and wonderful days. I’m referring to another type of solitude. It comes from afar. Through this project, I share at least one hour a day with someone; it is an exciting challenge for me. Then – the third need: expressing myself. I felt and still feel an intense need to express myself. Photography and writing are the tools that today meet this part of me. Another need is to learn how to photograph and portray people on the street. I said 3 needs, and I gave you 4 …
The idea of the Other is essential for me, and in my blog … travelling is a continuous crossing of border that are real, imposed, imagined. Until now, I guess the Other you have met has enriched you?
Absolutely yes. I say this often, especially to the people I meet. I will meet 365 Strangers, but if I stop for a moment I realize that reality is more complex: I am meeting 365 shares of myself through the eyes and the stories of others. The humanity I’ve met has been deeply varied: there are several issues that are activated in these contacts. The final message I make my own and I would like to convey is that there is only one way to live but there is only one at that time, in that environment. For those people that is the best way of life for themselves. Thank you for this question.
Photographing strangers out there has probably given you an idea of the current Italian society. Can you give me some comments on this?
Although I often meet unemployed people, both young and old, and some have been let gone, what surprises and moves me is they do not surrender or give up. On the contrary, I meet people who have re – invented their lives with enthusiasm. They are willing to take risks. Some have left a job to find their own freedom and tried to be self-employed. Others have made the opposite choice to find the same freedom: there is no universal recipe for health and happiness. The best solution is to get in touch with what you love, and follow your passions. Abroad, we are often described as controversial and grumbling: I have not met any of that. I sometimes met people that were a bit tired, but they have not stopped dreaming. I met skilled people in their twenties, and I found them so much more mature and aware than my generation that immediately precedes theirs. We know all negative consequences brought in by crisis, but I think it can also generate new opportunities: people start following their intuition and creativity. And that’s great. I have a good feeling.
An Indian proverb says that “By travelling to the discovery of countries, you’ll find the continent inside yourself”. I understand that your project is a work on Others, but also on yourself?
You hit what I believe is the essence of the project. The Strangers I meet and I share that sort of familiarity. As I said above, I meet 365 strangers and through their eyes, their stories, I meet 365 shares of myself. Each of them is a source of discussion and reflection: What stroke me? How have I felt with him/her? What topic did we really speak about? What was important? What have I learnt from this meeting? What will stay with me? When I started designing the project I wondered “I will meet 365 people, who knows how it will end?” Today, after 258 days, I’m beginning to understand the answer.
Nowadays, talking to strangers looks weird. However, I think it is necessary, like you. Among all your strangers, who’s still holding a special place in your heart?
I think of my first Stranger, because he was the first and because I was so tense and I was not alone: my partner supported me at the time of the first choice, just giving me a bit of her courage. Then again, every encounter carries a story, a fear, a satisfaction, an anecdote. And yes, some have touched me more intensely. I believe this feeling leaks out from the descriptions. As already mentioned above, and as we learn when we study the Gestalt therapy, a relational contact is full and nutritious when subjects meet in “between”, in a border area between the two people. The emotion after these meetings is immense, the days cannot erase it.
My blog deals with travels, near and far. If you were to recommend to my readers a destination among the many that you used to photograph your strangers, which would you recommend and why?
Good question! Like you I love traveling, I have been in many places in Italy and abroad, but in this case I would choose Italy. As says Dmitry, one of the Strangers I met in Genoa a few days ago, we live in a unique, beautiful and envied country. So, I would suggest the labyrinthine alleys of Genoa, dark and light, the Palazzo della Rovere in Savona as a fascinating encounter between modernity and antiquity, Brera in Milan, such an artistic place, the Colonne area in Milan, the famous Via Roma in Turin, and Pratonevoso, my first and now distant day on the slopes. As I write I realize the beauty of it all. And the beauty moves me. Vanessa, thanks for this question.
You know I’m passionate about photography. Can I ask you what camera do you use to shoot your Strangers?
Nikon D7100 D 50mm 1.8 purchased online and received on 24 December 2014. …. What if we meet in Turin, and we do a photographic expedition – would you like it?
It will be a pleasure, Davide! See you soon and thanks a million for your time.