What are some interesting and special places you have photographed?
I think my answer won’t be very original but I personally like places where I can see scenes that I don't see in my daily life. I really like the idea of those “distant countries” where some of the local culture is still preserved and you can understand the essence of that people; where people still dress in a particular way, where the concept of time is very different from what we are use to in the occident and this last aspect reflects on everything, reflects on the look you see on people’s eyes and the way they Interact with you. Many cities I visited in Africa and Asia captivated me because of that. I’m also fascinated by places where nature is the attraction, like Iceland. Photographically speaking these are the kind of things that inspire me the most.
Is there a lot of influence from tourism?
In Africa and Asia in general there’s actually a lot of tourism. Before visiting these places I had that ingenuous idea that the people and the culture would be very pure and very untouched but it’s definitely not like that. I really hope that the industry of tourism doesn’t homogenize everything, it would be very sad not to preserve the original identity of those people that still survive in time. But it’s already happening, with globalization and capitalism. I mean, as a traveler, I understand I could be part of that problem as well, but while I’m traveling and getting in touch with all those different realities, I’m always thinking about this issue and trying to make a sharp line between how to be a guest and not tourist.
But even with all the tourism influence, they still have something that is very unique and they are still connected to what they have always been, at the very beginning. I have to say this is something beautiful to see and to feel.
In Africa you’ve been to Ethiopia, Senegal and Morocco. Were they different?
Yes, I had very different experiences… The first country I’ve been to in Africa was Morocco and it was the first time I visited a place so different from everything that I was used to see. The architecture is incredibly beautiful, all the mosques, the Arab influence, their muslin culture, the souks, the medina of Fez, the warm colors of Marrakech, it was very special and intense. Then I’ve been to Ethiopia and I crossed the country on a jeep, I visited many local tribes, I saw a lot of that wild nature that I was expecting to see in Africa, the life on the country side, people walking up the hills carrying so many things in their head and shoulders, the markets, the small villages, kids playing on the street. It was a very remarkable experience and it was the first time I visited tribes and it was very touching. In Senegal, I've only been to a few places and I spent most of my time in Dakar, which is a wonderful city, very nice markets, people are beautiful and kind, they dress wonderfully well, men and women are so colorful, I was very fascinated by the way they look. It was a portrait of a more evolved Africa for me.
Were the tribes welcoming in Ethiopia or were they hostile?
They were welcoming but in a different way, they were actually waiting for the tourists. They made a business out of it.
The thing with the tribes in Ethiopia was kind of surprising to me from many points of view. To visit a tribe, you have to be with a local guide and you have to pay a fee. It was very organized and I was expecting something more natural. I also had to pay them for each click I did with the camera ... they are very professional when it comes to photography, they count how many clicks you did, and they will charge you the money for each click. I’m not here to judge anything, I’m just saying I was surprised with the organization they had for the visits, which makes me think they are much more worried now with the money they’ll get from foreigners than with the life they used to live before this tourist invasion. It gave me the idea they spend their days standing there, waiting for the tourists to arrive.
After I came back from Ethiopia, I spoke to a photographer from National Geographic that made many portraits of the same tribes I have visited and he told me that when he was shooting in Ethiopia he actually had an assistant that would be in charge of counting the pictures and immediately paying the people from the tribes.
It was a strange situation because the money issue made me a feel bad or in doubt about the right way to act. In that moment I really felt I was part of the industry of tourism and I felt like I could be ruining that culture somehow. It was not an easy position. And I still don’t have an answer or a clear opinion on the best way to deal with this problem.
What was South East Asia like?
It was a very rich experience. I got to see so many different situations and it brought me a lot of reflections. It would be difficult for me to describe these three months experience here.
What is your background in photography? How did you get into it and interested in it?
I was always very into the world of image. I bought my first digital camera when I was 15 years old and I started photographing random situations like my friends at school, my family, myself. Then, at a certain point, when I bought a Fuji super zoom camera, I decided I wanted to take a photography course. I did a very short one, they were ten days to learn the main principles of photography but it was enough to open my mind in an unexpected way. I realized I could create something more interesting, photographically speaking, and I started to invite my friends to be my models, we would create a set, get a proper look, do a crazy make up and have fun. I was already very into fashion so my main idea was to try to create images like the ones I was seeing in the magazines. It didn’t take long and I started to photograph some landscapes as I traveled in Brazil and scenes that were interesting to me. And I guess that’s how everything began. Since that very first day with my first camera I never stopped shooting. I’m always between Travel and Fashion and I was always trying to improve my view of what I was shooting, my subjects, my techniques and my post production. I've been practicing a lot and I want to improve more and more. I think it's a very long process but I love it.
What kind of a camera do you use?
I use a Nikon D800 and I’ve been shooting with a 50mm f/1.4, 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8.
What do you like so much about travel and being on the road and bouncing around to different countries? Did you travel a lot growing up? Did you just pick it up?
I like traveling because it always opens my mind, it’s so important to meet other cultures and countries, it gives me a better understanding of this planet in where we live. The world is so vast, every country is so unique, and there are so many special things to see out there, every place I go is a surprise. There are so many things I like about traveling, you have to learn how to be practical, you naturally change your mind about certain thoughts, you give less value to material things and you start giving more importance to experiences, I like the adventure... and, as a photographer, I need to feed my eyes. And my heart.
When I was in Brazil, in my hometown, where I lived until I was 19 years old I was not very into traveling. I liked to travel because I was with my family, in vacation and it was fun but I was not very curious about it. It only happened when I moved to Milan. It was much easier to move around and I thought that the only thing that could pay the price for being far away from my family, my home and my dearest friends was to try to enjoy the best that this “new life” had to offer me, and it was this wonderful opportunity to get to know a lot of different countries by traveling around Europe.
And then you got the travel bug, right?
Kind of, yes. I’ve been traveling a lot in the past years and in some periods of my life it became very intense. There are some moments that I just want to settle and enjoy the routine, and some other that I’m really looking forward to travel to unknown places and explore. It depends. But photography has definitely collaborated for this will to pack and go.
It's like a mission, once you get there, you have to register what you’re seeing.
Yes, today I think of a place also because I'm photographically inspired. Before this passion for photography traveling was just something fun. Today it’s different because it’s an opportunity to me as well to do something more, to create something out of it, it's a double pleasure: to travel and to shoot.
It must be very inspiring.
Yes, it is. Every time I'm traveling to these exotic places for example, I look at people and I think, "wow, it looks like I'm opening a book." And I'm actually seeing these people in front of me, I have the opportunity to talk to them, or ask them something if I want, see how they live, how they communicate, understand something more about them. And then how can I not photograph them with my own vision of that context, with my own idea of colors, of mood, with my own impressions? I think this is the nicest thing, to get to know the world with your own eyes, and I love to register what I’m seeing, that sometimes can be unnoticed to other eyes.
It happens a lot with nature as well, which is something very inspiring for me.
It's tough to do that in New York [Nature]
Yes, it’s not so easy as in other places, maybe. But I found some special spots…
Do you mostly travel alone or do you go with friends?
I think I've traveled alone just once in my life, to Barcelona and Madrid.
You go with friends mostly?
I have three Italian friends and we travel at least to one place every year. It can be ten days, fifteen days or a short holiday. I also travel a lot with my boyfriend and a few times with my family.
The next places that you want to travel, any top ones that come to mind?
I would love to go to South Africa, Kenya and the Amazon rainforest.
Any reason in particular for Kenya?
I would love to see the wild life, it fascinates me!
Every time I go to a place where I know I can find wild nature I get excited about it. I think in Kenya you can see a lot of that, the real wild life. And it’s always Africa, which I love!
How was Iceland?
Iceland is a must see. It has a special place in my heart. I was very impressed by the greatness of nature, the wide landscapes, the untouched scenarios, the variety of contexts. I was so overwhelmed by everything that I've seen in that island and it all touched me so deeply. I felt very connected to nature and I could really feel the power of it. It’s even kind of scaring to realize how tiny you are once you’re in front of all those huge mountains, waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, but at the same time it inspired me a feeling of reverence for nature. Everything felt so pure. It's something hard to describe. If you're a sensible person, it can really move you, in many different ways.
You said Africa would be next on your bucket list for travel but what do you see in the future for yourself, with photography in general?
I have some plans in my mind and some moves I would like to make but honestly nothing is very clear at the moment. I will definitely continue with my Travel photography and with my Fashion photography, which are some of the passions that I’ve been carrying all those years. I’m always trying to improve, always looking for new opportunities, trying to invent something, and I’m always working hard to do the best I can with everything that involves my creativity. I’m open to see what the future will reveal while I’m doing something I love. Things have always shown up in a very unexpected and interesting way to me, so all I can say is that I’m excited about the future. The important thing is to keep doing, keep working, keep moving, keep creating and never stop.