• Marina Spironetti

Senza Mare | Sealess - A photo book about inland Sardinia


My photo essay about Sardinian carnivals and traditional costumes is about to become a book. If you wish to pre-order a copy, you can do so here.

Almost there.

If you know me personally, you already know my heritage is Sardinian from my mother's side.

She was born in a small coast town called L'Argentiera, a former mining town. Its name comes from the Italian "argento", silver.

My grandfather was a miner, there.

If you know me well, you already know I have spent the past four winters travelling back and forth to Sardinia - mostly exploring the region of Barbagia, the island's most remote region.

My mother's family is not from Barbagia - still, that has always been the part of the island that attracted me the most, from the first time I set foot there. It felt like that was the place where I could scratch the surface and re-connect to my own roots.

Winters there can be harsh - the wild beauty of the Gennargentu mountain range can be quite different from the postcard-pretty image we tend to have when we think of Sardinia. It felt miles away from the sea, both geographically and mentally. It felt like a sealess place - senza mare felt like the most appropriate title for my photographic project.

The name Barbagia was given to this mountainous area by the Romans. Its inhabitants were therefore called Barbarians in a derogatory manner, as the region was never fully conquered.

Sardinia's history has been peculiar ever since - its people haven't really bowed to pressure from other invades, thus managing to retain their unique character. The latter is the focus of my photographic project.

I have been documenting the area's oldest traditions for about four years - taking part into ancient Carnival traditions, and getting to know the region's splendid traditional costumes. I approached families and communities as an outsider - still, they opened their doors to me. Their precious trust enabled me to create images from an "insider" angle.

Many of those people became friends.

Parts of this project have been published on Italian and international magazines; they won awards in prestigious photography contests (click here to read more about it). Still, the hardest thing for me was to end this body of work. I was so drawn to it that I could have gone on forever. Last year I went through all my photographs and decided I had enough material - then this winter I revisited Sardinia and kept shooting (and I am so happy I did). That was actually my last trip before Italy entered lockdown. On my way back home, I felt like this time the project was finished for good.

It was time to let my images go and turn them into something.

My body of work is now ready to become a photo book with Crowdbooks. Jazz trumpet player Paolo Fresu kindly wrote a beautiful introduction, which makes me incredibly happy.

Last Saturday, I started the pre-sale campaign which will help to cover the publishing costs. If all goes to plan, the book will be out in the autumn.

Again, if you want to pre-order your copy, you can do so here.

Thanks for your support.

Video credits:

Photos: Marina Spironetti

Words: Paolo Fresu

Voice: Alberto Onofrietti

Video editing: Oreste Bossa

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