Blognotes from a photographer life...

Oct 25, 2009


The TPW HANOI WORKSHOP is now officially planned. Below is the presentation. For more detail visit the TPW website.

The soul of contemporary Vietnam is a mosaic of histories. Those that left their mark more than others are the thousand plus years of Chinese domination, French colonialism, and the final push westward in the war of liberation against the United States. However, it is the personality of the Vietnamese that emerges intact overall: proud, indomitable nationalists, flexible and resistant like bamboo. Hanoi is the city that best synthesizes this reality: the least recent history in the Taoist temples, the charm of French architecture and habits, and the desire for American modernization. The millions of motorcycles that flood the streets are the blood of a rapidly-growing body, despite its one thousand years of life. In the semi-darkness of the houses, there are scenes of life that go from one extreme to another.

Our workshop wants to try and document this exact variety. Not the distraction of monuments that don’t exist or fading panoramas, but rather the research of human stories that are different, yet parallel. The exploration of different quarters, different souls, and contrasting cultures despite the same past and a common future.

To establish a relationship with the Vietnamese is easy. The challenge will be to go beyond, to deepen the acquaintance, gathering it in particularly conspicuous aspects and significant images. In other words, to construct a history of today’s Vietnamese, very far from those represented in post-Vietnam movies on the war (an event that, on the other hand, the young Vietnamese don’t remember at all). Finally, a “dissertation” on Halong Bay, one of the natural wonders of the world. Even the Chinese emperors considered it a tourist destination. For us, it will be a further chance to see how the modern Vietnam deals with tourism.

We will spend one day and night on a junk (small boat) and will visit small towns like Cat Ba, which have transformed into small Miami Beaches where kitsch dominates.

Oct 23, 2009


What is the "feeling at home" sensation we always talk about? Is it the reassurance of a place, a house, friends and family or familiar faces? Maybe the knowledge that such a place exists even when you are away for long periods, and that you'll find it when you'll be back? Or is just the familiarity of a street corner where you cross the road every day, have your food every night, smile to smiling faces?
To me it's difficult to say nowadays. I feel like I'm achieving that state of mind when your home is more then one. Your friends are widespread in the whole world (this was happening from a long time, though) and I thank Facebook because I can keep contacts that were long faded before..
My project for life, roughly decided when I was 18, at the very end of my first trip, was to dedicate it to discover this world. The meaning was different then: people and customs were different from a country to the other, let alone continents. What my life experience can testify is how humanity has globalized itself. Europeans are much more similar and united then their governments; developing countries are now becoming super-powers and soon will be controlling their controllers.
And so I find myself in this global environment, feeling comfortable among the food stalls of Bangkok as sitting in my Tuscan garden. Achievement or Loss? Achievement, I hope... Even in these hard times, even in the face of a worldwide crisis with deepening prospectives, I think I can cross the patterns of humanity with relative ease.
Exotic is nothing, except what we want to see as such... The tale we need to tell, to photograph, is not that of different places but rather that of common people with common life goals...

Oct 19, 2009


Thanks everybody for the time, energy and ideas shared at Foiano. The show has a great environment and presentation, yes, but above all is all the enthusiasm emanating from the young photographers that is a beam of light in this time of darkness... keep the light alight!!!


Was a good, intense, working weekend in Pisa, at the Milione Travel Writing and Photography workshop. As usual the best feeling is coming from the enthusiasm of the participants, but also from sharing experiences and ideas. I need to thank all of the guys there, Alessandro and all the stuff for keeping the intense program going.. And here are some images from all of the 19 protagonists: not bad for just 3 hours of shooting..

Oct 9, 2009


Next week will be busy, and, hopefully, interesting..
Thursday through Saturday the collective workshop in Pisa (already booked out) then...
on Saturday evening the inauguration of Foiano Fotografia, with my show on China Influence among other interesting shows and events... Friends are invited..

Oct 5, 2009


Shooting the Piazza Ducale of Vigenano (not far from Milan). I was spending the weekend contemplating the quintessence of the provincial life in this wealthy region of northern Italy. How regular, conventional, tranquil, and rich it all appears. Teenagers show-off their signed casual look and prepare for the next stage. Which is being 35 years old couples strolling with their newborn. Middle aged gentleman sips their aperitifs, read the center-right wing newspapers, talk politics. And aged ladies, in perfect attires, comment on life, gossip on neighbors, and compliment the new perfect-looking-35-years-old-couples- with babies and good jobs, even if... and gossip goes on..
Oh yes, with different looks it's the same as it is in large part of this world. This is the "regular" life... But, why I do have this amazing sensation of malaise? Why I do strongly feel uncomfortable? Why I thank "God" for my so unconventional, irregular, so much different from this, life?
Maybe it's because the feeling of emptiness is everywhere. Maybe it's because I start understanding the why of all the sex-shops hided in the suburbs and the many East-European prostitutes walking on the ring road and coming to the hotel even at 10 in the morning.. Maybe..
Where is all the good sense left us by philosophers, history, culture, tradition (or even simple proverbs) on how to give life some sense of real fulfillment? Grasping to this fake sense of wealth and tranquility is all what life is about? Protect you little garden (maybe voting for a xenophobic party) and age quickly is all they wish for?