dislocation in urban and domestic settings

My documentary-style photographic practice is a product of observing and collaborating with people who appear isolated yet seek out connection to others. Fueled by a preoccupation with physical touch as a sign of intimacy, affection, and support, my work suggests feelings of emotional dislocation in urban and domestic settings.

The title “These Days I Feel Like a Snail Without a Shell,” is based on an exchange between Hajime, the protagonist of Haruki Murakami’s novel “South of the Border, West of the Sun,” and Izumi, one of Hajime’s love interests. The title implies emotional instability and refers to my role an unnamed and unrevealed character in the work. It is also in the present tense (“these days”) and refers to an “I,” which I interpret to refer to myself (the photographer) as a character. The character is vulnerable and is in search of a place or feeling of safety. This photographer-as-character, then, moves through the world without a shell while remaining in search of one. 

My aim is to draw the viewer into a sustained longing for connection within individual photographs and the people who occupy them. I am in pursuit of pictures where people appear emotionally isolated despite physical proximity. For some inexplicable reason, the people in my pictures still have a desire to reach out and connect to others.

Paolo Morales is a photographer. Exhibitions include the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, Kings Highway Library, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, and ClampArt, among others. Residencies include Blue Mountain Center and Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. He received a BFA from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and an MFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design. He teaches at The Potomac School.