Fragments | A Love Letter

Giulia Berto

2013 - 2019

New York City, New York, United States; City of London, England, United Kingdom; Ireland; Italy; United Kingdom; Dublin, Leinster, Ireland

What is it like to be in a relationship and be constantly separated from your lover? ‘Fragments’ is a long-term black and white series in which I explore how it feels to be together and apart as lovers. The long waits, the longing to be reunited, the special moments along with the anxiety of an imminent separation. Moving across four countries, ‘Fragments’ is a story of a chase, a love letter slowly unfolding across the sea.

I started ‘Fragments’ in 2013, soon after graduating from the International Center of Photography in New York. Facing up to the challenges related to having a long-distance relationship over an extended period of time, I wanted to channel my thoughts and energy into something tangible. A private person by nature, I counter-intuitevely ventured into depicting my feelings while processing them. By doing that, I wanted to slow down and take the time to look at, reflect on and reveal what closeness means to me. A prolonged and intimate search into myself as lover, partner and artist.

I met John in London, UK, in 2012. We fell in love during that summer. Friends, dinners, parties and walks in the park. Time did not constrain us back then, we were floating peacefully in a never-ending 'today'. When I moved to New York City, our time together started to become precious and intensified and this visual journey began.

Three cities, four countries, two continents. The starting point in London then New York - my adopted home, Dublin - John’s homeland in Ireland and Italy, where I grew up. These are the emotional landscapes of a tale of love and trust, friendship, separation and reunion.

The project is created with a 35mm Yashica film camera and shot on black and white Ilford HP5 Plus 400 film.

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  • The sweat reminding me of the softness of your skin.

  • ‘Tick-tock, tick-tock’ - the Clock says; the pointy feeling of an imminent separation.

  • Glistening in the dark, a cold surface where you and I sunbathed during the summer.

  • Floating in the vacuum-packed privacy of a bedroom; your smell on my pillow tastes like the memories of our sleepless nights.

  • Gasping out an obstinate thought, time has no elasticity.

  • Sealed together into a pang of mirrored emotions in the wee small hours before you and I separated again.

  • The warmth of a snug, and the words we whispered in each other’s ears fading into the night like a light laughter.

  • You and I, the desire of vulnerability and the fragility of desire.

  • Opening a door into the sensation of falling for you.

  • Placing myself in your childhood memories encapsulated in a holiday mobile home by the beach.

  • I stand here, alone with my feelings collapsing like crashing waves.

  • What if I told you this may hurt a little?

  • Wind and fire, a night spent listening to the sound of a stormy sea.

  • You and I, like plants carrying the smell of home in the constant flux of a cross-country wind.