Semiology of Place by Davìda Carta

Italian born, American based photographer Davìda Carta shares her process and influence this week. Her work explores the emotional semiology of domestic places and things. She captures being a being caught between two cultures. Her images display an irrevocable tactility of light caught between the outside world and a window. Her romantic depiction of banality offers a discursive on culture and domesticity. As well as a current Masters student in photography Carta is the founder and editor of Underexposed Magazine - an online platform and magazine for female photographic artists at a time, in America, when it's needed most. We spoke to her about her work and influences in photography.


Tell us more about you and your artwork.

I am originally from Milan, Italy, but I have been living in the US since 2010, between Vermont and Massachusetts. A year ago, I decided to finally get my MFA in photography, and I am now studying at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. 

My personal work is about identity, living in between cultures, being in transition, and exploring the meaning of “home”. I am also working on making a series about Autism. 

In the last few years I realized that I was interested in making photographs, as much as looking at, and curating other people’s work. I became also aware of how little space women have in the art world. So, I started Underexposed Magazine, a weekly blog/zine where I feature female photographers and share their work. So far I have been enjoying it very much, made connections and looked at great work. What a privilege has been getting to know so many great artists!

How did you plan for this project? What was your creative process?

I keep my camera with me at all times, I photograph every day, it’s pretty instinctual. Then, the editing process leads to a cohesive body of work. I often ask feedback from other photographers and friends to help out in the decision making. 
The featured project started as an exploration of what home is, and it is still evolving. Some of the photographs are from places I actually lived in, others were made at friends’ houses. I wasn’t interested in showing the same physical space to the viewer. Instead, it was more relevant to me to see how the places were connected by a common feeling.

What work inspires or has inspired you?

I try to look at work that is relevant both historically and contemporary. In general I am inspired by artists who make personal, intimate work with an eye on the quotidian. But I am also interested in photographers who document transition and places. Besides others, I admire the work of William Eggleston, Elinor Carucci, Carrie Mae Weems, Denny Lion, Nan Goldin, Rinko Kawauchi, and many contemporary artists that I have the pleasure to work with or feature on Underexposed Magazine. 

Are there any artistic movements you enjoy in particular and why?

Some artistic movements that I enjoy are very far away from my photographic aesthetic, like Colour Field or Abstract Expressionism. Although, I think that everything feeds into it, in a very organic way. 

Do you have any opinions or ideals underlying your art?

In a way or in another ideals and opinions always show from one’s work. Although all work can be, mine is not strictly political. When I explore social themes like immigration, autism and identity, I try to be mindful of the subjects without compromising meaning and dignity. 

Your images often evoke a feeling of romanticism which contrasts against their banality and stillness. Was this intentional? Can you comment more on this aspect of your work?

No, I would not say it is not intentional. My work shares with romanticism the subjectivity and emphasis on emotion, but that’s about it. I am drawn to the quotidian more than the banal, to me it has a different connotation. I am interested in documenting the simple moments that happen in everyday life. They can be small but very meaningful. The viewers can relate to these moments and make connections with their own experience, memories and life.

Any words for aspiring photographers? 

A friend once told me that there is nothing to fear but fear itself, which is a quote from F. D. Roosevelt. I find these words true, so…don’t worry about anything and just keep shooting! 

See her work here. See Underexposed Magazine here.