Behind the Lights – Cédric Dasesson

Sardinia is a feeling that only a true Sardinian can understand and portray

“I don’t feel like a photographer, but someone who imprints something through the photographic medium. I have never been interested in the sublime concept, I have always looked for the simple person; I have always wanted to photograph what is not photographable, and the sea, in this respect, is a world of its own. I was born and raised in Sardinia, now I am surviving in this land. I have always been comfortable in a world made up of solitude, perhaps also because of my sports background. I started from an early age with athletics, an individual sport, where you have to constantly think about yourself in order to be competitive. At the same time, the sea became my land, a world where I could and still can truly understand myself: it is a parallel universe, made of silence and concentration, antithetical to the society around us.”

Icon Collection Juventus
Icon Collection Juventus

It is difficult to describe the Sardinian soul. It is even more difficult to portray it. Cédric Dasesson is the pseudonym of an islander-researcher; it is the concealed identity of a photographer driven by the need to document an atypical, hostile, watery realm-the Sardinian realm. His aesthetic philosophy takes on the traits of a form of resistance: resistance to the contrived spectacularization and cannibalization of his homeland. A special resistance that uses the photographic medium as a manifesto for the accurate anthropological, architectural and naturalistic study of a region unique in history and morphology.

“I studied architecture here in Cagliari. During my undergraduate years McKenna and his long exposures were my photographic reference points. At that time I decided to publish my shots and not use my real identity on social media. I had a globally famous namesake and, after talking to a professor, I preferred to take a different artistic path: I wanted to exist without existing, to create a mental diversification in my everyday life, a clear division between public and private. I came from the writing scene and the tag was a kind of forma mentis for me. Richard Long and Bill Viola helped evolve my vision regarding the relationship between architectural structures and landscape. Then, thanks to Alec Soth, I understood the function and importance of human portraiture: all over the world there are people and identities to look for. Living in Sardinia allows me to combine all this, gives me the opportunity to work on the stereotyping of regional peculiarities, to express the stubbornness inherent in the DNA of our microworld, and to explore the concept of human survival.”

From the tartan of athletic tracks to the waters of the Sardinian Sea. The element of sport has shaped Cédric Dasesson’s identity and consistently influences his artistic research. Every athlete in front of his camera stops being an athlete, or rather, stops being defined by achievements and successes, regressing (or progressing) to the as simple as complex condition of a human being connected to nature.

“After many surgeries for athletic-related problems, I took up triathlon and my relationship with Sardinian waters evolved further. My photographic production touches on the sports theme while staying true to the cornerstones I have already mentioned. I have no interest in sports stars, I am fascinated by the personalities of those who live in symbiosis with the sea: human beings who use sport as a tool to nurture and explore this relationship. Sure, I happened to photograph world-class surfers, windsurfers or freedivers, but in my vision there is no difference between them and those who live the sea with a visceral passion. At the same time, I am fascinated by the human ability to push the limits. In this case I can give the example of Ulisse Idra, a base jumper and great friend. I have seen him do some incredible feats. One of them created the ’97 meters’ series. He is now recovering from a serious crash and I hope he can return to jumping as soon as possible. Finally when we talk about Sardinia I realize that we cannot talk about football. In every village there is a field. Again, my idea is that this football presence is nothing more than yet another stereotype of our land. A land that expresses its knowledge through its roots. A land where sports are played while looking at the sea.”

Cédric Dasesson’s resistance seems destined to continue in time and space. The same space, the Sardinian aquatic and human space. “Being here is a challenge,” he confides, “But through the challenge I try to realize a dream.” The dream of narrating and sublimating the real Sardinia.



Cedric Dasesson

Text by:

Gianmarco Pacione



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