Born in 1974 in the town of Pontecorvo, midway between Rome and Naples, Giuseppe Nora is a self-taught professional who has been working as a photographer for 15 years. “My birth as a photographic artist was almost casual, emerging as a secondary requirement to accompany me on my travels,” says Nora.
After abandoning his medical studies at university, he learned his craft through his association with various artists, including master photographer Claudio Abate in Rome, scenographer Riina Degtjarenko from National Drama Theatre of Estonia in Tallinn, and in the studios of such renowned artists as Oliviero Rainaldi (Rome), Carmen Schabracq (Amsterdam), Ernesto Morales (Buenos Aires/Turin), Peter Liew (Penang) and Li Fong Dominguez (Havana). Working exclusively in the digital format, Nora recently directed a short film, partly utilising a drone camera, for a publicity campaign for the avant-garde Forte Prenestina social club in Rome. In 2014, he also participated in the “Talent Prize” for visual arts promoted by Guido Talarico Publishers (Rome). One of his photographs is reproduced on the cover of Canoa Quebrada (2015), the auto-biography of Venetian businessman Giuliano Vallini.
Nora’s photographs have been featured in group exhibitions at La Pergola Art Gallery in Florence (2009), Vista Art Gallery in Rome (2011) and the Foundation Pastificio Cerere in Rome (2013). He was officially chosen to represent Italy at Art Expo Malaysia 2014 in Kuala Lumpur. In the catalogue, Mario Sammartino, Italian Ambassador to Malaysia, describes Nora’s work. “In his many journeys around the world, he has captured faces, stories and the many wonders of nature, focusing his attention on reflections and refractions, on illusory, blurred insanities able to describe the coldness of the soul, apparently inexplicable feelings, and reminiscences deeply rooted in our own very essence.”
In early 2015, Nora published the monograph Reflecto, recording a decade of photography from 2004 to 2014, taken in places ranging from the tropical forests of the Amazon River to the urban jungles of America and throughout fast-growing Asia. This publication, with texts by Rome-based Australian curator and art critic Jonathan Turner, focuses on Nora’s characteristic subjects of nature, landscapes and architecture, rich in reflections and often bathed in golden light.
In 2015, he printed a series of large-scale photographs which were exhibited at B-Folk in Rome, and his images were reproduced in the book of poetry by Daniela Mancinelli called Il rumore delle onde, published by Aracne Editore, Rome.
Currently Nora is studying portraiture, and concentrating on a project whereby he wishes to trace the social changes in Asia, particularly in India. “After several previous trips, I want to return to India, to focus with a fresh eye on Mumbai, Goa in the south and Aurangabad, the former Mughal capital in the Arabic part of central India. As always, I am intrigued by social and visual contamination, as well as by the pure essence of a culture.”
Nora talks about his influences, or more correctly, about those artists who have inspired him. These include photographers Jan Saudek, Joseph Koudelka and Japan’s Nobuyoshi Araki “for the madness and folly which have distinguished his vision”, Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador Dali “for his innate distortions, both physical and mental”, film-makers Jan Švankmajer, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Gregory Colbert (“Their short films all refer back to the semblance of reality, and how to create beauty from tragedy”), and the unwavering gaze of Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, “out of respect for his social commentary and the path he has taken.”
“I have a terrible memory. Maybe that’s why I became a photographer.”
Biography by Jonathan Turner