Muscat (Oman) The sumptuous dome of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
AF-S Zoom Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Muscat (Oman). The clean architecture of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, empathized by a pure winter sunset.
Goreme (Turkey). Every morning, just before the sunset, hundreds of hot air balloons take off with tourists on board to fly all together above Cappadocia – a popular region in the hearth of the Anatolian Turkey – and see the sun coming out from behind the famous fairy chimneys.
I had the privilege to make this trip some years ago, and it is still extremely vivid in my mind. Just simply flying with a hot air balloon is something unique, especially when you are used to fly with a plane, because finding yourself suspended in the air without the noise of engines is really surprising. And flying with a hot air balloon over an unique land like Cappadocia is a breathtaking experience!
Today, hot air balloons are part of this landscape. Googling “Cappadocia” or “Goreme” shows a huge set of landscape photographs with hot air balloons everywhere. I must confess that I could not resist to the temptation of doing the same photo of many others! So, one morning I woke up before the sunrise and I prepared my tripod and my camera for the shooting. With the very first sunrise lights, I was able to see some hot air balloons taking off. And once the sun rays were more and more filtering through the fairy chimneys, this is what I had in front of my eyes.
I decided to print this photograph in a very large format, and it is now hung on a wall in my living-room. Every morning, when I watch it while drinking my coffee, I say the same thing that came to my mind when I photographed this landscape: “good morning, Goreme!”
Beirut (Lebanon). The Lebanese flag flutters fierce, while a wave plunges agains its base…
New York (USA). Jane’s Carousel is one of the magic places in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a very old carousel, you can read the entire history here in the official webpage. I photographed this place one night I was walking around the Brooklyn Bridge: it was a cold winter night (and when I say “cold”, it means “freaking cold”!) with very few people around. When I saw the carousel, it was like a mirage: it was closed, but lights were on and horses in the glassed structure were looking as ready to start their ride again. All around, there were Manhattan’s lights, forming a perfect frame. Somehow, that moment warmed me so much that I spent half-an-hour shooting this scene.
Both last and this December (2013 and 2014), this photograph has been chosen by Jane for the Christmas newsletter. This is the kind of things that make me proud: not only because I’m talking about one of the most popular place in New York City (by the way, this place won the Travel and Leisure 2012 Design Awards as “Best Public Space”), but also because I like to believe that if Jane’s Carousel warmed my heart that night, maybe with my photograph I can now warm someone else’s heart. Isn’t it what a photographer should try to do every time?
Istanbul (Turkey). Apparently, traffic in Istanbul is not something strictly related to cars and roads…
Edirne (Turkey). I captured this image many years ago – it was summer 2011. I was in Edirne, in the North of Turkey, to attend a famous wrestling competition named “Kirkpinar”, and I took the opportunity to have a tour around the city. Few days before, the Selimiye Mosque – one of the most famous places of Edirne – had been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and I could not miss the opportunity to visit it. But my favourite image – beyond some photos of the marvellous mosque’s interiors – is this one, almost taken by chance on the way back home, in which the majestic building with its minarets are in the distance.
As said, I remember I was on the way to Istanbul when I noticed this beautiful sunflower field. It was late afternoon and the day was going to end, all the more so I had already put my cameras and objectives in the bag (at those times I used to travel with a large bag full of things; not as today, using only one camera and two fixed lenses – but this is another story). Immediately, I asked the driver to stop, and I got off the car to take this photo. To be precise, I waked several meters through the field to be part of them. And even though I was tired for the tough day, I could remain there the whole evening: minute after minute the light was getting better and better, soft, warm as only some summer sunsets can be. On the way to Istanbul, re-watching the photos, I thought that the beauty of some moments does not come only from capturing an image, but also from all the things that accompany it: the chance of noticing this landscape, the decision of asking the driver to stop, the fight against the tiredness of unpacking everything and starting again to take photos, the desire of going into the field to find a better composition…
Photographing – as I always say – is not just putting a pressure on a button. Photographing is watching, thinking, desiring, telling a story, imagining, moving (and being moved). Watching a photograph some years later and re-having in mind those feelings is not something ordinary, and even saying that photography is the freeze-frame of a memory does not give justice to this amazing art. Photographing is opening our heart to the world around ourselves, this is photography. And for this reason to take photos two eyes come before a camera. Two eyes, a heart and a big desire of exploring the world.
Edirne (Turchia). Ho fatto questa foto tanti anni fa – era l’estate del 2011. Ero andato a Edirne, nel nord della Turchia, a vedere una famosa manifestazione di lotta che si chiama “Kirkpinar”, e con l’occasione mi sono fatto un giro per la città. Pochi giorni prima, la Moschea di Selimiye – uno dei luoghi più famosi di Edirne – era stata inserita nella lista dei siti UNESCO (World Heritage List) e non potevo perdermi l’occasione di visitarla. Ma l’immagine che preferisco – oltre ad alcune che esaltano i meravigliosi interni decorati della moschea – è questa, scattata quasi per caso sulla via del ritorno, in cui si vede l’imponente edificio con i suoi minareti in lontananza.
Come detto, ricordo che ero appena ripartito per tornare a Istanbul, quando ho notato questo bellissimo campo di girasoli. Era tardo pomeriggio e la giornata volgeva al termine, tanto che avevo già messo via l’attrezzatura (all’epoca viaggiavo con uno zaino pieno di roba, non come adesso che faccio tutto con un corpo e un paio di lenti – ma questa è un’altra storia). Immediatamente ho chiesto all’autista di fermarsi, e sono sceso dalla macchina per scattare questa foto. A dire il vero, mi sono incamminato diversi metri dentro al campo di girasoli, per poter essere un tutt’uno con loro. Nonostante fossi stanco dalla giornata impegnativa, sarei potuto stare tutta la sera in quel campo: ogni minuto che passava la luce diventava sempre più bella, morbida, calda come solo certi tramonti estivi sanno essere. Sulla strada per Istanbul, riguardando le foto, pensavo che la bellezza di certi momenti non viene solo dal fare una fotografia, ma da tutto quello che la accompagna: il caso di aver notato questo panorama, l’aver deciso di chiedere all’autista di fermarsi, l’aver combattuto la stanchezza di rimettermi a fotografare nonostante avessi già riposto tutta l’attrezzatura, la voglia di addentrarmi nel campo di girasoli per cercare uno scatto migliore…
Fotografare – lo dico spesso – non è soltanto una semplice pressione su un bottone. Fotografare è vedere, pensare, desiderare, raccontare, immaginare, emozionare (ed emozionarsi). Riguardare una foto a distanza di anni e riavere in mente quelle sensazioni non è un qualcosa di banale, e anche dire che la fotografia è il fermo immagine di un ricordo non rende giustizia a questa arte meravigliosa. Fotografare è aprire il cuore al mondo che ci circonda, ecco che cos’è veramente. Ed è per questo che per fotografare servono due occhi prima ancora che una macchina fotografica. Due occhi, un cuore e tanta voglia di vedere il mondo.
Barcelona (Spain). Park Guell in Barcelona was commissioned by Eusebi Guell to Antoni Gaudi at the beginning of the 1900s and still today represents one of the most beautiful expressions of the architect’s genius.
Milano (Italy). “Metropolitana Milanese”. Taken in Piazza Duomo
Mont Saint Michel (France). Early morning view of the island.