This photo essay looks at some of the actions people take, as individuals or in groups, to improve their quality of life. For some that is socialising, for others it’s becoming more active or helping others. The project focuses on what people said made their lives feel better; the small things, the ordinary things. It looks at the beauty in those tiny moments, in those ordinary actions, offering an alternative vision from the usual fleeting glance. It celebrates the actions and initiatives that bring people together to connect and communicate on specific issues, while trying to understand the needs that these actions have arisen from.
Essentially, this photo essay makes an enquiry into what issues people face in their lives and in which creative ways they choose to address them. Most of the shoots have been created with independent and self-organised initiatives.
Valentina Quintano is an Italian freelance photographer based in London. She has been working since 2007 when she was the staff photographer of a regional magazine focussed on social affairs. She works mostly within the editorial market but also with performance photography, events, portraiture, news. Her personal reportage projects try to investigate the different aspects of human nature and ‘being human’ with an intimate, curious and open-minded approach.
She attended an International Semester of Photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2009 and graduated with distinction from London College of Communication, MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography in 2010.
Her images have been published in various magazines and newspapers, including: British Journal of Photography, Sunday Times Magazine, L’Espresso, Ojodepez, Psychologies Magazine UK, il Reportage, Vice, TimeOut London, La Repubblica, Left, Il Giornalista.
Her work has been also featured in four books and various exhibitions in the UK, Italy and Canada. She has been selected as a finalist in international competitions such as the Ian Parry Scholarship, the Magenta Flash Forward 2013, the Lucie Foundation Scholarship and Ojodepez. She has also been artist in residence at R.E.D. in Norway and Trasparesidenze in Italy.
The health and happiness principle talks of ‘five ways to wellbeing’: connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, give. The actualisation of these terms has been the starting point for my research. My approach to the commission started from the necessary step of asking myself what ‘health and happiness’ means. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs points at human ‘realisation’ being linked with fulfilment of physiological needs first, then safety (body, employment, resources, health) and then belonging/love, esteem and self-actualisation. I was asked to document what I felt fulfilled the principle in Brighton & Hove. I thought the best way to do it was to ask the question back to the people in the area. This photo essay is the result. I made a ‘call’ for ideas through intranets and different media but mostly I worked via word-of-mouth. I asked people directly what they thought made little differences both in improving their work environment and their overall quality of life.
This project does not look at health and happiness per se, nor solves the question of what that means, but rather it concentrates on little elements that different people have highlighted to be a part of the picture. Far from being an answer, this essay tries to give elements of reflection starting from the personal, the intimate. It collects voices, it collects ideas.
Sussex County Cricket Club
Taking part in regular activity has been proven to greatly increase your physical and mental wellbeing. Here at Sussex County Cricket Club we know how great taking part in a sport can make you feel and we are ambassadors for promoting this feel good message to the wider Sussex community. Our partnership with FotoDocument is a great opportunity to talk about the wider benefits sport can bring and together with the One Planet Living photo essays we can promote the message of Health and Happiness and show the direct links to this principle from regular exercise.
Sussex Cricket in the Community, the new initiative from Sussex Cricket, uses the power and benefits that cricket can bring to encourage healthier, fulfilling lives through providing an access point to activity for anyone regardless of age, gender, ability or location and we also want to show that cricket can offer an alternative access to learning and education.
How to get there:
Closest train station: Hove
Closest buses: 7, 20, 93
Cycle: racks nearby
Car: parking available
Wheelchair accessible: yes
One Planet City: Professional Commissions 2014 - 2015
Ten photo essays responding to the ten sustainability principles of One Planet Living with ten site-specific installations in public spaces across Brighton & Hove.