Valeria Luongo in Bonaventure


A Sisterhood

Valeria Luongo, London, Great Britain |

In 2015 I started a long-term photographic project about the everyday life of a group of nuns living in a convent in Rome. As a photographer and anthropologist I have always been interested in stories of people who live “radical” lives, those who decide to exist outside standard modes of living and make choices that influence their entire way of being. I wanted to see which kind of activities marked the daily life of a nun outside of prayer. The community who I documented for years is called Ravasco and takes the name from its founder. Once in the community, these women must learn how to live together, trying to understand and adapt to each other. Sometimes the age and cultural gap can be considerable; some are in their 80s and have spent the majority of their lives in the community, others are really young and have just joined the convent. It took me many years to create a relationship based on trust and to become familiar with the intricate details of their lives. I photographed the relationship between them, with the aim that my photos could communicate their humanity, vulnerability and cohesion.

Exhibition at Rencontres

A Sisterhood

Valeria Luongo is a London-based documentary photographer and anthropologist, originally from Rome. Her work focuses on spiritual communities, women’s stories and the effects of globalization in rural areas. Her background in anthropology shaped her approach to documentary photography. Using ethnographic fieldwork allows her to embed herself within a group of people, speaking “with” rather than speaking “for”. This is a technique that she has transferred to her photographic work so that the two complement each other.