Blognotes from a photographer life...

Dec 28, 2010


This is a post that will move some reaction, and probably many will think there is something personal.. My intentions wish to go much further then individual photographers experiences and stories.
When I see war images nowadays I mostly see stories shoot while embedded within an Army, or escorted by some force. There are some personal and regional exception, of course, and sometimes I see a story as "seen and told" from the "other side".
In certain cases it might be the relative facility to access a difficult situation (and also the relative safety) to induce the photographer to go this way, but the larger reality is that the big guys have learned the lesson and are avoiding the old mistakes.
It's well known that the US lost the Vietnam war more for the protests back home then for the Vietcong fighters. They just don't want this to happen again. So they will not allow photographers and journalists to go too close to certain realities, and even less to tell the story from the opposed side. This is understandable, but not acceptable.
We hear frequent reports of civilian victims in Afghanistan due to mistaken military actions, but I have never seen photos of those victims. In Vietnam the Mylay massacre on the contrary sparkled open discussions and criticism on certain behaviour of the army toward the population.
Even worse, introducing the concept of privacy (in a war? Please! nothing is private for a soldier in a war!) the governments are now asking not to publish images of wounded or dead soldiers (even their coffins going back home were off-limits to reporters). Again, you may remember how impressive were the photos of actual wounded and suffering young Americans in Vietnam.
The worst part though is the general assumption that there are no doubts on the rightness of an action or a war, or better, no doubts should be stated in the media. Of course I'm not defending the Talebans, or Saddam Hussein, but I have never read of any possible argument the other side could stand for. There was open criticism on the rightness of the Iraq intervention, but never a discussion on principles.
Going back to war photography today. I see very good images of "our" soldiers in action, their tensions, some interactions with civilians. Some of these works are really strong (think of the Restrepo documentary), and telling these stories is good. But it's an incomplete panorama for most of the reportages I see: where are the civilians? Where are the enemies? Where are the consequences of the fights on both sides?
If photojournalism will not fight to get it's independence back it will lose all it's credibility and, in the end, all the interest from the narrow market left for it. But, above all, it's a matter of intellectual and human freedom that is at stake here. We criticise China for it's media control without seeing that the Western media are even more "controlled". We have to get it back! Us, the photographers.

Dec 24, 2010



Photography is, or should be, the exercise of searching, thinking, experimenting. Especially now that digital (and optical) technology is offering us daily improvements and goes beyond the limits we have suffered for years.
In my last visit to Phnom Penh last week, a short three days stay, I decided to play this vital game. With a Nikon D3S that can easily shoot at low light and a 24mm F1.4 lens I went around without no precise scope except keeping the maximum aperture on the lens, whenever possible.
I posted a short portfolio in Padplaces (for free download; if you don't have an iPad yet sorry, you'll have to wait for the next Apple OS).
I love technology when it gives you freedom of expression: we just have to be careful and not become slaves to it!

Dec 20, 2010


The 2011 desktop calendar is ready and available for download from the website. Just go to this link and choose your screen format. I hope you like it and will be a good omen for next year! Manolesta did a great job, once again!

Dec 15, 2010


The first thing you notice arriving in Cambodia after spending times in Thailand is the absence of open smiles on people's faces. When you cross your sight with a passerby in Bangkok, when you ask for information to somebody that doesn't even speak English, what you get is that, a smile. Even during the red shirts revolution on the barricades you would mostly notice smiles (until the shootout started, of course). In Phnom Penh the mood is different. Culture is certainly different, the character is different, but what is really different, is my opinion, is the recent history of these countries. Thailand has not known the war for centuries now: it was untouched in the 2nd WW and it was an heaven during the Vietnam war. Cambodia, viceversa, is still recovering from the deepest darkness, social and human darkness, we can imagine: decades of war, civil repression, massacres, poverty. Even worse then Vietnam, in many ways. Today it's economy is slowly growing, but under the heavy hand of China that is not paying much attention to social differences here.
I visited the Tuol Sleng today, the Genocide Museum that was the slaughterhouse under the Khmer Rouge regime. A long gallery of cells, torture chambers, and thousands of pictures of people that died here. And then you understand why people are not smiling, at least not yet. It will take generations for wounds to heal, for Cambodians to look at others seeing friendly visitors, or at least not indifferent foreigners. The world was silent, for too long.

Dec 4, 2010


I have been silent these days, but definitely not inactive. I'm introducing PadPlaces, the application for iPad that wants to respond to the radical changes of our editorial market.
Here is an introduction to it, but you are invited to follow it on it's BLOG, or WEBSITE, or FACEBOOK, or download the app on your iPad.
But, above all, please send me you opinions and feedback!

WHAT IS PadPlaces?

It's the new way to distribute photo stories and documentary reportages on the iPad and other tablets that will follow.
The application is a browser that will allow you to see what's available and download to your iPad full stories for a minimal price and portfolios for free.
At the moment I keep this platform open to my stories only, but it's possible I will enlarge the number of fellow photographers showing.
Stories are divided into New (the most recent stories), Travel and Documentary, depending on subject and style.

WHY PadPlaces?

iPad has changed the way editorial publications are distributed.
Now we are able to show full stories (not just the selection published on magazines) in the style (often not reproduced by printed publications) and sequence that represents the original author's idea and work.
For a small price, that will depend on novelty and number of images, you can download and keep on you tablet the full stories for future review.


Recent stories will be uploaded.
My plan is to include E-photo books that will have a proper section and will represent a new media experience.
We are thinking also of video and audio addition.


The website will give indications on content and news.
This blog will be the opinion and comments exchange place between author and viewers: you are invited to participate on any matter.
Through twitter we'll also give updates on new stories addition and relevant news.