Sculpting in Time

A page from Emanuele Tresca's diary

Fig. 1. Emanuele Tresca, Morning, 8 November 2020.


I started thinking about this article at home, in Milan, while I was washing the dishes in the kitchen. I realised that I would probably have a chance to write it only on the train back to Caserta. Then, this morning, on the bus, I put some words together in my mind and now I’m here, waiting for my train, typing them on my smartphone. I’ll finish it during the journey and will check it out tomorrow, on my desk, in Caserta.

I told Sofia that I wanted to write about my creativity during the lockdown and what spurred me to write my diary. The truth is that writing and taking pictures have never come so naturally to me. Unity of space and action for a whole month. No clocks ticking.

Fig. 2. Emanuele Tresca, Her birthday, 4 December 2020.

Fig. 3. Emanuele Tresca, When a glass broke in the shower, 26 November 2020.


It’s all a matter of time! The one you’ve lost, the one you have to gain, the one you need to find. In the frenetic world in which I live, when things go on – more or less – normally, I don’t have time to stay at home and think: I’ve to rush back and forth, here and there, to catch everything that Milan – synecdoche of the world – can offer me. Hence, I make notes on the tube, I build my stories while I’m walking, I acknowledge what I want from this or that character while having a beer on a Saturday night. Of course I love being constantly productive and creative! But this frenzy is not always accompanied by a moment of stasis in which I can sit in my armchair, take a breath and actually write, actually think! Quarantine has been a kind of liberation. I didn’t have to rush anywhere, nothing was waiting for me. There’s nothing I could lose. Sitting in front of my notebook, narrating my day, was the most natural thing in the world. Sometimes I forced myself, other times I didn’t do it at all, but I started feeling it as a need, a key moment. Such as taking pictures: I wanted to capture with extreme simplicity my home, my ordinary, show people what words failed to describe, or forgot to.


Fig. 4. Emanuele Tresca, Goodbye, 9 December 2020.

Fig. 5. Emanuele Tresca, Waking up, 7 December 2020.


Import my photographs into Lightroom, sort them into their day folder, edit them, export them. Take fifteen minutes of my day to share the post. After dinner, before or after watching a film, write in my notebook. A cadence that I kept - almost - fixed for a whole month. And now I’m scared.

I’m terrified to go back to the ordinary, losing that time I patiently and slowly built. It’s not about the need to do so: I always have it. There’s always something that drives me to create. I’m talking about indulging this need, giving it the time to express itself, letting it possess me.

I managed to do so this month, because nothing could overwhelm me.

In such a productive world, in which doing is always associated with a practical, physical action, with a clash, the calmness of thought is taken for granted, as something that doesn’t need its own space, but must carve it out. Subverting this order is the only thing that can save me.


Fig. 6. Emanuele Tresca, Outside, a sunny day, 12 November 2020.



Author, Emanuele Tresca - Instagram

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