JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
FRANCESCA MARCACCIO HITZEMAN: I wanted to be everything at some point. One of the thing I remember well is that I wanted to be an explorer. When I was twelve I had, as a gift one of those simple 35mm film point and shoot cameras. From that day taking photographs satisfied my basic instincts to understand and catalog the world around me. As a child, I used to photograph the things that most people would expect from that age; friends, people around me that I was familiar with, places we used to return to on holidays. It was all familiar and intimate and I never threw away any film, I have boxes and boxes of them around my family home to this very day. So, I think from an early age I was interested in photography.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?
FMH: Ruins, abandoned places, and how they act as a medium between the past and the conditions of the present. On a the same note I’m interested in the potential for a similar silence to ruins in some urban landscapes and how they can act as active ruin. I’ve been reading The Life of a Photograph by Sam Abell where he presents on each spread an image juxtapozed with a compelling text written in the first which describes the act of seeking the picture as a process with no absolute ending, as time and thought continue to shape the life of a photograph. It’s very intriguing publication and I feel its affecting me although I’m still trying to determine its exact significance for my work on the whole.
JC: What are you up to right now?
FMH: I’ve been doing some research for several projects, from ghost cities in Italy after the earthquake in 2009, to the 19th century in the Physiognomy related to contemporary portraiture-which is mostly a scientific-medical side.
I’m very attracted from the sculptural work of Berlinde De Bruyckere and her particular composition of distorted parts of humans testimony to cruel death and sublime. She empties the bodies allowing the spectator to view the dark world and interior.
I’m about to start a documentary style project with a performance artist but I don’t want to say too much at this point
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
FMH: My father. He traveled a lot in the Middle East and Russia for his work. He would always take lots of photos and develop them to show us a slide show of his trips. This perspective of seeing the world encouraged my curiosity towards the complexity of the outside.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
FMH: I’m based in London but travelling between London and Italy. London can be a time machine, a tough city to live in and it’s incredibly fast place can make lots of opportunities happen in rapid succession but also it can feel like lots of things pass you by just as fast, the result is that you become relentless and often it can be hard to focus. I find it best to sometimes, go somewhere else to see things from the right distance, take a deep breath, and then, dive back in.
JC: One piece of advice to photography graduates?
FMH: Things don’t happen automatically. You have to be proactive and make them happen. Organize shows, go to galleries and be open to peoples opinions but trust your artistic instinct. And remind yourself that the job that pays your bills can free you up artistically.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
FMH: I think a large community is distracting for me. I honestly prefer a small one or several ones who are supportive and engaging in a meaningful way. At the same time you can’t be isolated completely. I think one can decide how to be part of a community and how to engage with it.