Photographing the Shiny, Kitsch Interiors of Italian Ferry Boats | AnOther, 9 May 2018
Allegra Martin is fascinated by the idea that ferries are “places suspended in time and space”, and has been photographing on board for almost a decade
20th-century philosopher Michel Foucault’s theory of heterotopia – the idea that spaces exist with various layers of functions and meanings – is one of his most famous. According to the French theorist, the ship is the “heterotopia par excellence”, “a floating piece of space, a place without a place”. This concept spoke to Italian photographer Allegra Martin, who has been taking pictures on ferry boats since 2009, and the resulting project, A Bordo, is being exhibited at Milanese location agency Anticàmera, with whom the photographer co-curated the exhibition, until September. “My interest initially focused on passengers killing time during travel, portraits of the crew at work or in moments of relaxation, and then exclusively on the ferry’s interiors and details,” Martin explains. “The interiors, with their sofas and cabins and carpets were perfect proof of this condition of ‘suspension’ – a place suspended in time and space.” Indeed, one of the photographer’s only hints at the world outside the ferries is an image taken on deck on a sunny day, in which the sea is just visible through a window.