You are entering South Tyrol, a territory in the north of Italy, part of the region Trentino-South Tyrol, where I live. As a land of contrasts between the high peaks and the low valley, and between the German, the Italian and the Ladin language, it has constantly lead its inhabitants to define, differentiate, or recognise themselves under labels of belonging. The search of the wolf in the landscape, whose presence is constantly controlled and labeled, becomes a way to talk about my feelings of lack towards this ground and to slowly enter the concept of stigma. The wolf approaches contexts and people, it comes closer but never shows up, slowly building up the image of someone who lives between belonging and refusal of his territory. From the terrace of a mountain farm, to the office of a wildlife technician or the cage of a natural park, welcome to my path in search of the wolf.
My thesis is titled Stigma, the image behind the image and it is a slow immersion in the concept of stigma as a sensation, phenomenon and image. It presents through a structure of five chapters: 1. Stigma; 2. Entering a stigma; 3. Images and imagination; 4. Metaphors and metaphorical thinking; 5. Actors at play. Through a personal and theoretical analysis of the main features of a stigma, and the need to look for its manifestation, the text is both a denounce of the human act of stigmatising and a question over photography, seen as a mental rather than mechanical result, when involved in the generation of a wrong collective image. "Is it possible to give image to a stigma?" is a main question referring to the image behind the image, which is the visualisation of your own silence. Feelings of being judged, defined, finite and condemned to carry a certain label come to be analysed and step out into a story where imagination, as a process of mind-freeness, becomes instead a limit. The text further introduces the concept of the metaphor in photography opening to the last chapter about the figure of the wolf in my home region as an example of social label. “Who is the wolf?” as a last question tries to position the viewer in the light of what is what and how much it is known of what we define.