My series “L’étranger” aims to explore the unconscious of contemporary nomadism, a space of liquid memory with no reference points; when the subject lives in momentary “capsules de temps” which have an internal logic but are marked externally by a continuous geographical and emotional uprooting.

This project is an open diary. To get away from a more rational approach, I started to shoot in analogue and polaroid (rather than digital), getting closer to a linguistic and technical consistency that led me to a new kind of introspection. I started to trace an emotional atlas of all the places I had lived in and, by revisiting them, I suddenly perceived them as distant, changed, disturbing. I was walking in a maze of perturbing—familiar, yet strange—places, distant from each other; the cities I lived in and I ran from.

Looking back at my own family and history, I find that I have confused the world and myself. I cannot find a home (this is the Freudian “unheimlich” or uncanny), so making a “good return” is impossible—there is nowhere to return to. By facing my continual fleeing, I have come to understand my constant movement as a search for relief. On this already-trodden path, I find myself seeking a new purpose.

Slowly, the work has begun to enrich itself with chapters—chapters of metaphors and projections. Emotions, captured as portraits, are laid bare; my sexuality is confronted. Ultimately, I hope the project cuts these knotted threads asunder, offering me both a visual and emotional incision, and thus a new perspective on myself and the world.

—Francesco Rombaldi

If you’d like to see more work like this, we’d recommend these articles: Maiden Voyage, a unique new photobook containing “gilded tableaux of pure delightful uncertainty”; Yusurika, images created by a long-time Tokyo resident that transform quotidian surroundings into a fantastical land; and If It Rained an Ocean, an introspective (and strikingly cinematic) look at the working class in New Jersey, USA.