It is a long time since I've been blogging here (I decided it was more important taking pictures then to talk about it) but this anniversary is kind of important to me.
Forty years have passed from my first trip ever, and for thirty years I have been a full-time professional photographer.
When I came back from my first trip, over two months backpacking around the whole of Europe with my friend Sauro, I had found out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: traveling and see the world.
I told him this on the train, and he pointed out that "we will never have another trip like this again".. Of course he was right, like it was a first love, but he missed my point. I wanted to make traveling a profession, so I could keep on discovering.
Ten years later I had found out that photography would be my vehicle to see more, express what I meant, make sense of it all. And I jumped into full time profession.
Luckily it worked out, although I have been complaining all along of the necessary compromises I had to make in many accasions (remember that a professional has to do what the client asks him, not express just his own vision; and so on...).
Santo Domingo, 1981
There are so many stories of all these years I could write a book.. I have seen photography going from slide to digital; I have seen magazines (my major clients) become obsolete and (photo) book publishers giving up; but at the same time I have seen the internet, social media and blog give everybody a window to the whole world.
The concept of photography itself has dramatically changed: a photographer is not somebody with a camera anymore (almost every human being has one in his pocket) and the way it is perceived is more instant communication then reflective interpretation.. This can't be denied if we want to maintain a solid evolution of (the ever more challenged) meaningful photography.
But above all is the world that has changed. Completely. In these forty years the world has changed more then it had in the several centuries before today. When I took my decision to travel this was still a world of cultural differences; deep differences. Travel was still meaning facing a journey to some different, faraway place.
Today there is not faraway any more. Of course there are still differences, and very strong ones, but they are more subtle, less visible.
I feel the greatest luck in my life is having had a step in the now obliterated past and one in the global future.
This is the challenge for the (travel & documentary) photographer of today: identify these differences and making sense of them; transforming them into images that are significant.
This is my challenge today, and for the future.
New Zealand, 1984
(This picture changed a lot in my professional career past then. It was considered daring to include my hand -the dark shade on top- into a picture. Good old times?)