Blognotes from a photographer life...

Mar 25, 2009


Nga is running a nice clothes design shop in Old Town Hanoi. She is the designer, the owner, the business oriented, contemporary woman that incarnates the modern Vietnam. The first thing she says is "I don't design for the masses!".. Odd enough in a socialist country with communist flags on every public building.
But this is only the most obvious contradiction in this continent. Philosophy and ideology are flexed in ways that to us, the westerners, seems at odd with everything. Probably this is the main reason for the vitality in this part of the world: no fixed rules, logos, labels mean free mind and endless opportunities...
I love Hanoi: classic and contemporary lives side by side on every street, always with elegance and equilibrium. The true capital city, far more charming then the contradictory Saigon. And beauty is a constant presence, something that is helping a lot..

Mar 16, 2009


I just turned 52. The same age when Frank Zappa left this universe to move somewhere else. Besides the mustache logo, he left much more inside of me. The freedom of thinking, expressing myself, living without fixed schemes, and talking straight. He had the genius that I miss, but was good enough to share it, and defend it from the common, the mediocre, the cleric.


Very few people know where Phu Quoc is, right? Very few think of this Vietnamese island as an holiday destination, a backpacker retreat, an alternative to Phuket or Bali. Very, very, few.. Or many too many? PQ is a classic story that mirrors the dangerous, yet interesting Asian trend. Things are unknown and backward until a moment ago, then they start running like hell and in a second they find themselves crashed into the wall of mass-global-anonymous world.
PQ is still border-line. Because Vietnam is not Thailand, connections are slower, tourists are fewer, options are less... Yet the island, still a place to discover, is half attacked by developement projects (165 in 50 km!!??!!) and concrete condos.. The other half is still natural, worth visiting: now, right now!
The Far-East is acquiring this (terrible) Chinese attitude to grow fast without caring for nature and history. Old buildings are razed and replaced by condos, skycrapers or, at best (best?) by fake reconstructions destined to attract mass-tourism. I hate when our historic cities are transformed in living museums (Florence, my city) where to move a stone is a sin. But this is the opposite extreme. Humanity seems to have lost the soft touch for the good old half-ways..

Mar 6, 2009


If you see my previous posting and you see this image of Kuala Lumpur you can easily understand why I feel schizophrenic.. One week before I was shooting in hell on earth, with people starving and suffering (really suffering) all around me, and now.. here I was.. Lights, glamour, overfed crowds shopping, five stars hotels and malls. Yes, I know very well that the world is like this, but adjusting in this bit of time is not that easy!
This brings me back to my thoughts on how air travel has made everything too short, too easy. How my flight from Rome to Bangkok takes me here in 10 hours, how nice, but also how I skip Turkey, Iran. Pakistan, India, Burma, therefore missing the sense of distance and travel. Therefore skipping the passage of cultures that explay why here is so different. But, as I keep saying, the global world is making this a souvenir of my early trips..
But, back to KL.. the incredible thing is that this is Islamic, is no far from Bangladesh, but is just another world.. If you think that the Rohingyas refugees dream is to get here because they can send 100$ PER YEAR back to the camp..