Miserere mei

Good Friday is the day catholics recall the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. All over the catholic world grief is commemorated with images of the cross, of the beaten body of Jesus and of the mourning Virgin. It’s the day of death.

Not far from where I was born there is a beautiful little town called Vico del Gargano. I arrived there at 8 in the morning, on Good Friday. 
Every year, on that day, at that time, the members of the five local brotherhoods wear their traditional robes and start carrying around wooden sculptures of Jesus and the Virgin. They go to all the twelve churches of the old town, singing out loud gloomy and sorrowful hymns in Latin. They walk all day by foot, in penance.
It’s a day of great spiritual involvement for everyone, even for non believers like me.
This is one of the few places where these timeless and ancient traditions are still on, unchanged. And if it wasn’t for their sneakers, their smartphones and their sunglasses, it would be really hard to tell in which year you’re in.

Venice, the femme fatale

A malarian swamp, hit by the tide, seems like the worst place ever to lay the foundations of a city. Unless you have to escape the axes of the Barbarian warriors, come to burn, steal and kill. It’s the 5th century, the Roman Empire is on its knees, the system is collapsing, everybody’s on their own. It’s chaos. 
That swamp doesn’t look so bad now, does it? 

Those few miles of shallow water between Venice and the mainland are the very same reason why the city has grown into one of the most fascinating places in the world. Far from the mainland’s politics and schemes, Venice has always been different from any other place.
A city built from fear turned into a diamond embedded along the Italian east coast. 
By walking aimlessly in the narrow streets of Venice you can feel the great beauty of this timeless and unique city: the signs of its decadent splendour and its glamorous past leave you breathless at every corner. The dream of every photographer. Then suddenly the thought hits you: this is not just a city, just a location, just the venue of some events in history; Venice is itself the main character of its own story, where people and wars and events are only temporary elements of its own personal tale.

If Venice was a person, it’d be a woman. It would be the femme fatale that stares at you across a crowded room, she’d be the mysterious lady that grabs your soul and conquers you by charm. The embellished facades of the buildings become her embroidered gown, the Byzantine architecture is her jewellery, the perfume of the incense her seductive scent, the vivacity of the markets her impudent laugh, the Canal Grande the spine along which you want to run your fingers. 
Venice is the irresistible sin you want to get lost in.

From day to night

I took this photo when I was in south of Italy, some weeks ago.
I was at the daily market, taking some pictures, and went for a walk along the beach, to have a look at the fishing boats. Facing the sea there is a beautiful medieval castle, built by the Hohenstaufen during the 13th century. It’s surprisingly well preserved, and despite the fact that this has always been a land of battles and occupations, time has only scratched its walls.
Anyway, when I went home and looked at this photo I saw nothing.

Was about to bin it, but then at a second look I saw some potential. 
What if I change something?
What if it was taken at night? 
But I can’t go back at night.
Then what if I make it look like it was taken at night?
So I turned my laptop on, opened my notebook, grabbed my graphic tablet and started playing around: I darkened it, I added some blue, desaturated a bit, painted the lights, the flares, the rain. Different kinds of rain, ‘cause otherwise it would look too fake. A bit of fog here and there.
I had to stop myself after a while, ‘cause the possibilities were unlimited.
It doesn't look great, it was just a fun thing to do, I didn’t even put that much effort in making it look like a very realistic scene, but it opened a whole new world of opportunities: editing photos is an art itself, and your only limit is your imagination.

The mountain calls you

“Guhkkin davvin Dávggáid vuolde sabmá suolggai Sámieanan”
(Far up North 'neath Ursa Major Gently rises Saamiland)
Sami national anthem

I have spent perhaps the most beautiful days of my life exploring the area around Lyngseidet, in the north of Norway.
I had never been in the Arctic, and I was expecting merciless cold and thick darkness.
Found neither: the full moon reflecting on the snow and the sun teasing from below the horizon gave enough light to take good photographs, and the clothes I got were so warm that the cold and the wind were soon forgotten.
I had already heard locals talking about their lands, and got very curious by the fact that in their stories the mountain was a vivid presence. “The mountain calls you”, they said. Like a person, something alive. A sort of spirit. Now that I’ve seen it with my eyes I can understand what they meant: the constant presence of these high mountains, with their big vertical slopes that make them so close to you, is a reminder of how small and insignificant we truly are. For centuries people here have lived and died at the foot of the mountain, depending on the weather, adjusting their daily life according to the elements. If you want to survive, you will have to adjust to the world, not the other way around.
There is no escape, there is no mercy.
And yes, the mountain does call you, to show you how magic nature can be. It gives you everything if you’re willing to embrace it. It shows you the slow relentless passage of time through the rocks split by the ice. It shows you its silent strength through the cracks over the icy surface of the sea, broken by the tide. It shows you all the shades of pink through the clouds in the sky. It shows you its rage, by smacking the ground with the sharp wind. It shows you the spirit of the ancient gods, evoked by the northern lights.
Never in my life I’ve felt so mortal and at the mercy of the elements.
Never in my life I’ve felt so in tune with the world.

A day at the market

 

Since I left my hometown I have naturally absorbed the big city’s habits and made the urban routine mine. Even more so when I moved to Copenhagen: the cold modern hub in the north. One of these habits is buying food at the supermarket where everything is selected, packed and wrapped; you don’t even need to have any interaction with other people.
So when I had a walk at the daily market during my Christmas holidays in south of Italy, I felt a bit like a tourist. I had forgotten about all the different colours, noises and perfumes. The genuine feeling of buying fresh fish, still alive. The farmers offering you a taste of fruit. The smell of the cheese stalls. The sacks of local almonds. The boys yelling. How much per kilo. Counting your coins.
I returned back home with plenty of photos and a bag full of mussels and clams.
What a great meal we had.

January

These days everyone is talking about the cold, the snow, the storm and blablabla.
So I want to give my contribution with this photo taken a year ago, January 2016.
I had just started working with Nixonbui, a Copenhagen based menswear brand.
We were planning some fashion photographs for their website. So to reflect the brand’s philosophy, made of tribal traditions and urban attitude, we decided to simply take some clothes and go shoot outside.
In the nature. 
In the coldest days of the year.
We went to a park in Copenhagen, near Vestamager. The weather was perfect for the kind of vibe we were looking for: misty and foggy. The water was a sheet of ice and the colours were enhanced by the clouds. It was so cold though that after a while I couldn’t feel my fingers.
And yeah I got mocked all day ‘cause I was wearing sneakers in the frozen mud (I’m a city girl).
But the outcome was spectacular.

Photo reportage: abandoned airport

Yesterday I joined François, the ultimate Copenhagen Urban Explorer, in one of his tours: we biked to the abandoned military airport near Værløse, 20 km northwest of Copenhagen. 
We had a stroll among the remains of the glorious Danish air force, stepping cautiously on broken glasses and rotten beams.
I took some photos to show you how time has turned the site into a powerful image of vandalism.

Photo reportange: Milan

I spent some beautiful days in Milan last week.
I didn’t know the city, as I hadn’t been there before, but I loved its coherence and its contradictions from the first moment: elegance, style and subtle religiousness, avant-garde and tradition, noise and silence. This is what Milan gave me.
I wanted to improve my street photography skills, and show things as I was experiencing them.
Here you can see some photos I took with my invisible compact camera.

The colour of sun and wheat

As a wedding photographer, there’s one thing that I notice every time I step into a church: tones and colours. 
Here in Denmark there’s a lot of white and grey, sometimes blue tiles, sometimes red bricks, and a lot of dark wood: usually, the atmosphere is quite cold.
In the warm south of Europe the dominant colour is yellow. The colour of sun and wheat.
Where I am from, it’s very common to find old buildings made of tuff: palaces and churches with big, rough, porous bricks. It looks like a soft sponge that you can squeeze. 
In some other areas, like in Sicily, the most common rock is yellow marble.
These rocks contribute to give your photos a sense of warmth that you couldn’t achieve otherwise.
And as a wedding photographer, that’s very important.

Remember the details

When we think about shooting weddings, our mind goes to the main events of the day: ceremony, rings, speeches, portraits.
But there is one thing you should never forget to photograph: details.
A bride may have dreamt about this day for a long time, thinking about every single detail, pondering over every aspect of her wedding day.  Yes, even the place cards at the table.
It’s something she wants to remember.
Don’t take the dress for granted, and take always a photo of the shoes: she has carefully chosen them among many, because of their fabric, colour, details, whatever. She wants to remember them. And yes of course she will have hundreds of photos with her dress and shoes on, but a photo before she even wears them will preserve their memory: it will be like the first time she saw them.

Inspirational toilets

"Don't think you have arrived, when your journey has only just begun"
(common expression in Italy)

I’ve met too many photographers that consider themselves “arrived”, as they don’t need to improve their skills. There’s so much more in visual arts than the few rules of composition we read about in photography books. And you don’t need lamps and a studio to take cool photos.
Inspiration is everywhere.
The picture below was taken at Arken Museum, near Copenhagen. But that’s not a cool corner of the building or an interesting piece of art: that’s the toilet. Me and my (weird) friend were just in line, when we saw the light wall and started being silly.
I love the outcome.

The magic number

"Number is the ruler of forms and ideas, and the cause of gods and daemons"
Cit. Pythagoras.

I started studying art when I was very young.
I couldn’t even read, but I would spend a lot of time looking at images and making drawings out of them. One thing was very clear to me, since then: 3 is a crucial number in composition.
Years later, when I could read, I found out that 3 is an important number in every field of knowledge: it’s recurring in music, in history, in mythology, in psychology, in philosophy. 
It’s the first number that forms a geometrical figure, the triangle.
It’s the number of time (part, present and future; or beginning, middle and end). 
It’s a sacred number in many religions.
In visual arts, 2 elements can be together or opposite, but 3 elements give to the image a sense of balance and structure: 3 elements are pleasing to the eye, cause they bring harmony.
So next time you take a photo with 3 elements in the composition, be aware of the sense of balance and stability you’re giving to that photograph.

Denmark, home of kings and queens

In Helsingør, at the narrowest point of the Øresund sea, where the coast of Sweden is so close that it looks like you can touch it, rises Kronborg castle.  The castle was immortalised by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, so you can imagine the volume of tourists and its importance for the local economy.
I went there last weekend to take photos of the Renaissance Festival, where the castle gets crowded by knights, merchants, blacksmiths and jesters.
It was a cold rainy day, the kind of cold rainy day you can experience in Northern Europe in mid October. But I made a terrible mistake: didn’t consider that most of the festival was going to take place outdoor and that it’s always super windy in Helsingør. The rain felt like a knife on my face and my hands were red from the cold (because of course, I didn’t bring my gloves).
So at the end of the day I went home shaking and with a bad cold.
Lesson learnt: no matter what you think, it’s still SCANDINAVIA.

Making decisions

Yesterday I met a couple getting married next year, to talk about their wedding photos. It was our first meeting, so we talked a bit of what we do and what we like, and I explained them why I love shooting weddings: because it’s very challenging. 
During a wedding you have no control over the location, the weather, the light, the rain, the mood, the development of the event. You can’t decide where and when to take photos: if it’s outdoor and in bright sun, you’ll just have to adjust to that. You can’t waste time deciding what to do, or you’ll miss the moment, and the “moment” is the very core of wedding photography. 
It’s a matter of making decisions as fast as possible.
This picture I’m showing you was taken in very poor light conditions: there was no direct light on the couple and - stupid me - I didn’t have the time to go get my flash and put it on my camera. It was so dark that my camera had issues with the focus. Luckily for me, my camera can deal pretty well with high ISO, so the only option was: high ISO, combined with the largest aperture possible. 
There.

Old places, new eyes

Someone says traveling is that thing that leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller. 

We think we know our own home land by heart: we believe that we know every place, that we’ve seen everything there’s to see. Sometimes, we think there isn’t much worth a visit.
So I wasn’t super excited today when I went with some friends to visit the Abbey of Santa Maria of Pulsano, a shrine on the mountain, founded in the 6th century.
I had promised myself not to take my camera with me, to take a real break, but I couldn’t help it, and put my Canon into my backpack.
And then something happened: I began seeing old places with new eyes.
Suddenly I noticed the astonishing view, the beautiful church built in a cave, the breathtaking paths to the caves used by the hermit monks. I was excited like a kid, as my friends in Copenhagen know: they got ALL THE PHOTOS on snapchat :)

Why weddings?

When you start in photography they all tell you the same thing: you have to find your sub-category, since you can’t do everything in the huge photography world. 
For me it was imperative to take pictures of people, somehow: no matter whether it was fashion, weddings or corporate photography, I need to interact with people, or I would get immediately bored.
There is only one sub-category in the immense photography field where you can experience so many different kinds of emotion: weddings. 
Because it’s your stories.

CPH Fashion Week

"Fashion is one of the most beautiful forms of art we have. It’s a form of art that every person gets to possess and create for themselves” Jim James

Twice a year Copenhagen hosts the Copenhagen Fashion Week, the largest fashion event in the nordic countries. The city gets crowded with designers, models, buyers, press, and it turns into a runway. You can feel the excitement, the hectic energy, and the glamorous beauty.
I had never been an active part of the Copenhagen Fashion Week, but this year Nixonbui and I worked together on the catalogue of his Spring/Summer 17 collection.
Stay tuned if you wanna see more photos ;)