Artist Spotlight: Niko Giovanni Coniglio

Often, I can't help but wander the world of the internet in search of things that inspire me.  Sometimes I find them, other times they find me.  I don't know what it is about this photographer's work that engages me so, but I could help but stop and stare at each image, wondering aloud what was truly captured in each moment.

The following article accompanied the photos on Lens Culture's website.

"I started photographing my mother to learn how to use a camera; I continued doing so in order to spend some time with her. I’m still photographing her to witness and tell our story.

Photography is a sort of bridge in our relationship—it helps me to know her. With this statement, I don’t mean that photography can fill the communication gap between us. Spending more time with my mother, I have realized that our relationship is charged with life’s difficulties and contradictions. What I mean to say is that photography is one of the very few moments where we connect and discuss things; in fact, it has been the main one for several years now.

The project is called “Daniela: Portrait of My Mother,” but it’s not only my mother’s portrait. In this work I represent her life’s situations and events, the ones that directly impact me, and my own family experiences. Sometimes the situations I stage become real: a memory and an experience that I witness in the very moment I shoot them.

“Of course, some painful cracks developed in my soul, and I lived away from reality for who knows how long.” This is one of the sentences my mother wrote in her diary. It offers an important reference point for this work.

—Niko Giovanni Coniglio

Coniglio’s project was recognized by LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017 and
published by Vogue Italia.  You can follow Coniglio’s work on his personal website.

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before, 
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget …
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them
and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

-Author Unknown-

To my beloved kiddos who have given me so many beautiful last times.

You will always bring beautiful chaos, loud voices, messy rooms, and wonderful imperfections that make you all so absolutely perfect.

A Mother's Wish

As Mother's Day returns again, I am mindful of the following which I wrote for my children some time ago. 

I have been blessed to have many children call me Mama over the years - three I bore through nature, while many, many more I welcomed into my heart by choice.  It has been my greatest reward to know the joy, pain, hope and dream of being a parent and I delight in wondering each day where the road will lead for my family and my children.