This is your Cyprus! Silvio Rusmigo
A place, any place, is not just what you see on first glance. It requires an observant look if it’s to unexpectedly reveal all its beauty and hidden secrets, offering its true nature. Photographer Silvio Rusmigo, through his work titled “This is your Cyprus” does precisely that. He presents Cyprus not as yet another touristic destination, but as an expansive, serendipitous land of great importance and impressive beauty. This body of work recently ranked in the top four photographic projects in the Landscapes category of the USA based, world-renowned annual photography contest “Perspectives”.
Just like his work doesn’t reflect the typical image of Cyprus, his name fares far from a typical Cypriot name. This is due to his descent, which he describes as “rather complex”. With Italian, English and Cypriot roots, he often refers to himself as being “UN”, United Nations. His mother is half English, half Cypriot, while his father who was born and spent his childhood and adolescent years in Kenya, is half Italian, half Cypriot. However if you ask Silvio how he views himself, his answer shall be none other than “Cypriot”.
How did your involvement with photography start?
About ten years ago I started studying interior design. I enrolled in a photography course and the ball started rolling, that’s when I fell in love with photography. It had however been part of my life all along, in one way or the other: thanks to my father’s relationship with Africa, at home you always found issues of National Geographic lying around with those sensational photographs, plus my uncle was also a photographer.
And what about interior design?
I quit altogether. I was interested in interior design because I saw it as a “creative outlet”. In time however I discovered that photography meant so much more to me. It was a creative language. Through photography I am able to express myself, convey things that I can’t communicate in other ways. Others are more eloquent, I am not. My language is photography, it is through photography that I speak…
Looking at your work, it becomes instantly apparent that you use photography to narrate stories, express your thoughts and convey messages. Isn’t it exactly what your project “This is your Cyprus” is all about?
Precisely! “This is your Cyprus”, which started in 2012 and is an ongoing project, is actually a collection of black & white photos, highlighting the uniqueness of the Cypriot landscape and beautiful spots that often go unnoticed. The cultural heritage of the island, its history and ecosystem are very intriguing to me. I personally fell in love with Cyprus when I traveled extensively on the island and discovered so many interesting things: its geology, its fauna and flora. I was inclined to do something in order for others to see all I saw and fall in love in the same fashion as I did. I would love to motivate other people to experience rural Cyprus and truly let it creep under their skin. Walk through its country paths, discover its archaeological treasures, visit its countless lovely little villages, breathe in its aromas, and acquaint themselves with its natural wealth. I firmly believe that no matter where you are, every time you travel, you must allow yourself “to take the wrong turn”, abandon the motorway and discover the real paradise.
What would be the first thing that you would show to a friend who visits Cyprus for the first time?
This is something I’ve done many times! I start with a road trip around the island. The distances are not so long and you can drive everywhere and see everything. Waking up in Nicosia, your options are unlimited. I can either go swimming at a beach or head to the mountain for trekking or camping – the longest drive is only two hours. For a European this is not a big deal, for most of them commuting daily to work takes them approximately an hour.
Every time you travel, you must allow yourself “to take the wrong turn” and discover real paradise.