Beyond the mask of the Sartiglia

Photo by C. Verazza

Tense, smiling, exultant faces. Sincere hugs of friendship and true love. Gazes taken from the time and made unique by one, searched click, frantically and finally found.
Fun, lightness and graceful coquetry: all moments captured by Cristiana Verazza in the Sartiglia of Oristano.

We met Cristiana in her big house of Sanluri and we asked her to tell, in words as well as in images, her experience.

Q: Your Sartiglia is very original and different, with unusual shots, almost intimate moments of the protagonists: why did you choose to document the less "solemn" side of the event?

A: Yes, I wanted to go "beyond the mask", to show to other lovers of the carousel their faces concealed by those who in those days become a little the "heroes" of all.

Q: Your passion for the Sartiglia and photography is becoming more and more important, judging from your shots.

A: I have always had the passion for the Sartiglia, but I have started to take shots of it only recently. Every time is like coming to find old friends from whom I feel affectionately welcomed, and they let me free to take pictures in the way I like. I live the event just if I was from Oristano, but with the "peculiarities" of not being such.
This means not having constraints or preferences for a Guild rather than another.

I enjoy every stage of the event and I share all or almost all of this joy. The love for photography is rather alive and kicking: I just wish I could have more time to dedicate to it, because taking pictures means constantly seek perfection that I almost have the certainty of never reaching. The path is therefore always new and exciting.

Q: What do you enjoy and what excites you the most?

A: What amuses me so much is the painful and funny relationship that has now begun with all the people that I find again each year. From the Componidori and ex Sartiglia riders and former security officers, colleagues with whom I share the limited space reserved for reporters.

During the pairs, which are so difficult to photograph, are also born little squabbles, as light as the feathers of the drummers or trumpeters that generated them: the shots invaded by the plumes provoke jokes that fade always in teased, light and affectionate jokes.

We are still in the Carnival. The emotion arises spontaneously from the beauty of the horses and of the costumes, because I feel it represents something unique in the world; and what about the skill of the riders? As I said, I love the Sartiglia in every moment: from the dressing at the exit of the venue of the Guild, to the race towards the star in "Sa Remada", and the diabolical pairs of which I can take some very beautiful frontal shots that have made the rounds of social networks, in, often, an improper manner.

Photo by C. Verazza

Q: In what sense "improper"?

A: I love photographing and, until now, I have placed all my shots for free. For me it is a true act of love. I am glad to see them being shared but I do not like finding them on other pages, maybe even important, cleansed from my signature. If I was a little naive before, from now on, I will protect them. I think all my work, pre and post production, has a value: seeing it being not recognized is an impropriety, if not even a crime.

Q: How do you look for and how do you find your shots?

A: I am a great observer who tries to stop the emotion in a frame. I particularly like portraits and animals - wildlife photography is the one which excites me the most. In this "alternative Sartiglia" I took pictures of men and animals by spying "behind the scenes". I wanted to do something different.

Q: The picture you like the most?

A: I like some of them, but I have yet to photograph my "favorite" one.

Q: The photography is a hobby for you, you invest time and money on it. But what do you really ask in return for all this work?

A: A rosette. I do all this for the sake of a rosette. I mean, this is not just a piece of cloth and curled expertly and stitched with which one adorns. For me it is more than anything a symbol, of immense value. It represents the Sartiglia of yesterday and of today in my life: to take pictures of her so closely, to grasp the folds and embroidery of these flowers made of fabric is something that moves me. And so I started collecting them. I begin to have a small group of them. It is something I am proud of and of which I am jealous. Each rosette was given to me by one of those riders who never forget to keep aside one for me. Each rosette is therefore a gift, and a promise, for my part, to do better. "Atrus Annus Mellus"(next year it will be better) is the motto with which I greet them when the curtain falls.

01 January 2016

Claudia Corona
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