You are originally from Italy but seem to be spending a lot of time in China. How did this come about?
My presence in China is actually linked to only two trips. The first time I left in 2008 to reach a friend who was following a course in graphic techniques at the Academy of Art in Guangzhou (Canton), Southern China, and the second in 2011 when I had the opportunity to visit the places where some of the most popular styles of Kung Fu were born and are still practised. In both trips, living first with the students of the Art Academy and later with those of Tagou Shaolin Kung Fu School, I had the lucky chance to speak with those few who could understand English. It was their openness and desire to talk to me that led me to understand and to some extent appreciate the extremes of China.
How different did you find these 2 cultures?
The differences between Italy and China are such and so many that it is impossible to summarize them in a few lines. The cultural roots and history of these two countries are so different that it’s very difficult to make a direct comparison, but despite the deep cultural divide these two civilizations are incredibly alike in their ways of overcoming life’s difficulties.
During your travels, have you ever come across a place that you wished you could call home?
I love to travel and to be a citizen of the world and in every place I have visited I’ve fallen in love with a cultural aspect that was not present in my country.
In China, for example, I’ve been strongly impressed by the obvious lack of individuality and humility of ordinary people, perhaps the side effects of the past communist regime. What sometimes made me call China “home ” was definitely the richness and delicacy of the food together with the warmth and hospitality of common people.
Do you remember the first time you took a picture you really liked a lot? What had you photographed?
I’m never fully satisfied with my shots. I mean, I’ m not a perfectionist but change very often my way of looking at things. The flux pushes me to be always in the present, so what I leave behind is never a point of arrival but the stages of a (hopefully) long route. Besides that I’m fully convinced that falling in love with one’s own shots is dangerous because it is likely to become attached to a way of seeing things and to remain its prisoner.
So I cannot say I have one favourite shot, but can definitely affirm that the first time I was emotionally overwhelmed by photography was when I went to L’Aquila (on assignement) after the 2009 earthquake.
You choose very interesting topics to photograph. What does photography and art in general mean to you? What is their function?
The topics I choose are part of my life and I am very happy they are considered interesting. When not traveling I mainly deal with social and environmental reports, two themes I care about a lot. From my personal point of view whenever photography and art succeed in slashing a social limit then all humanity evolves. This is the real task of art and its media: to let the masses evolve putting them in front of an inner mirror to make them aware of what they are and what they do. Only the continuous comparison and disruption of having can lead to Being.
What are you working on now? What comes next?
At present I’m in Italy planning a report about endometriosis in my country. Endometriosis is a chronic and complex female disease originating by the presence of abnormal tissue lining the inner wall of the uterus (endometrium) in other internal organs. It’s a debilitating condition that affects one out ten women of childbearing age in Europe and abroad, and it is estimated that in Italy only there are about three million women suffering from this painful disease. One of its side effects is infertility and there are scientific studies linking it to environmental pollution.
Interview by Amanda M. Jansson