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Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini


Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

In the vast world of travel photography, some names rise to the surface, not just for the clarity of their shots but for the stories they weave and the worlds they unveil. Alessandro Bergamini, a maestro from Emilia Romagna, Italy, stands tall in this echelon. He has an uncanny ability to capture the "invisible, silent words, untold stories, and hidden soul" of his subjects. Through his lens, we journey into realms most of us only dream of, touching moments that resonate with the essence of humanity. Today, Retro Kolkata delves deep into the mind of this visionary, exploring the moments and musings that shaped him and his illustrious career.



Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : Alessandro, can you tell us about your early experiences with photography? How did your father's old reflex camera spark your interest in this medium?

Alessandro : I come from a small town in Emilia Romagna, and having always had a passion for travel, when I came back everyone asked me to tell what I had seen. Many years ago in summer, a friend of mine and I set off and took our first reflex cameras with us, and we experimented with photography. I haven't stopped since then, and over time I've made a job out of it.

Retro Kolkata : You've traveled to some of the world's most remote countries and places. Can you share one or two of your most memorable travel experiences, and how they shaped your perspective as a photographer?

Alessandro : One of the photos I am most fond of was taken in Zanskar, I had been a guest of two elderly people for several days in their home. It had been a very particular experience. I shared with them not only free time but also work in the fields, and I remember that they made fun of me because despite their age they were definitely stronger than me. One evening after dinner he approached her and kissed her on the forehead. It may seem a trivial thing, but in those places public demonstrations of affection are very rare, they only take place in private or in the presence of family members. That little moment shared with them made me feel incredibly at home.

Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : In your work, there seems to be a beautiful spiritual connection between you and your subjects, as well as an evident respect for the cultures you photograph. Can you tell us more about how you approach the communities you photograph, and how you build rapport with your subjects?

Alessandro : Approaching them comes naturally to me, I learn a few words in their language such as "hello, beautiful, good morning, God be with you" ... and this already inspires sympathy and they start laughing about my pronunciation. Then, before taking pictures, there is always a mutual interest in getting to know each other. I enter their homes, play with their children, taste their food, and finally photograph them. The photo is the result of all this.

Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : How does the process of post-production play a role in your work? Could you walk us through your workflow after a shoot?

Alessandro : I'd be lying if I didn't say that it's fundamental for me. Post-production is both a distinctive trait for a photographer and a way to highlight and give more light to the subjects towards the viewer. This does not mean making an image artificial, but enhancing its effect.


Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : You're known for capturing "moments of light between time and space." Can you delve a bit more into what this means for you? How do you seek out these moments in your work?

Alessandro : Linking myself to the previous question, post-production is giving strength to a work that takes place much earlier, during the shooting phase. Light is a very important component because it catches the eye and creates an atmosphere around the subjects. It “turns them on” making them alive. Therefore, studying the environment before taking a shot is essential.

Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : Your work beautifully captures the "invisible, silent words, untold stories, and hidden soul" of your subjects. How do you approach the challenge of conveying these intangible qualities through a visual medium?

Alessandro : Looks and expressions play a very important role, as do hands and body postures. These details mixed with even private environments such as their homes, and traditional customs create a story of real life, a personal story that I like both imagining and photographing.

Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : You've now joined the prestigious Team of Great Photographic Travels. How has this experience enriched your work and approach to photography?

Alessandro : Job satisfaction is always a stimulus. Concrete and tangible proof that what I do has been appreciated and understood... and this naturally leads me to be even more proactive and full of desire to continue this incredible journey. An important turning point was also thanks to the art curator Valerio Ballotta with whom I am developing an important project that has so far led us to Peru with the Q'eros people, and on an adventure across the Zanskar River until we reach monasteries which, due to climate change and the melting of the ice, risk remaining isolated for many months of the year.

Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : Many of your photographs offer a glimpse into the "cult and devotion of a colorful humanity." Can you share how religion or spirituality informs your work, or your approach to capturing these elements of human life?

Alessandro : The Religions in these countries so remote and still so tied to their ancient customs plays a fundamental role. Sometimes that amazes you positively like when I was in Afghanistan. A journey that has forever revolutionized my way of perceiving Afghanistan when I hear about it on the news, before I thought it a country made up of fundamentalists who were not very hospitable to those belonging to a different culture, instead I discovered a wonderful people, who proved to be attentive to the whole group, including women, and who wanted us to love their country and make us understand that they are not all in favor of a state without freedom. Other times it hits you negatively. In some Indian’s villages it was impossible to photograph village women, and we found ourselves unwelcome by the heads of families who chased us away. What I find important in any case is to accept cultural and religious diversities without trying to interpret them, but recounting them as authentically as possible.

Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : What are some key lessons or tips you share with the groups of photographers and photography enthusiasts you travel with?

Alessandro : The lessons concern more purely technical aspects of the composition, from the use of light to the positioning of the subjects. Then together we also look at some basic elements of post-production. But honestly, I think the most interesting aspect is not this, but learning to immerse yourself and interact in environments that are culturally different from us, and for those who are not used to it, it is not always easy.

Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Retro Kolkata : Finally, could you share some of your future plans or aspirations? Are there any specific places, cultures, or experiences you're particularly excited to photograph in the future?

Alessandro : I have several interesting projects and news that I hope to be able to share very soon, surely my path as a photographer is in full evolution. Upcoming places and destinations: South Sudan will be a new journey in 2024, then there are peoples of Mongolia that I would like to explore further and finally I am about to leave for Papua New Guinea where I have already been last year, but in a different area that I can't wait to visit.


Ephemeral Moments and Timeless Tales : An Intimate Conversation with Alessandro Bergamini

Alessandro Bergamini's photography is not just a mere visual treat; it's an experience. Through the eyes of this gifted Italian photographer, we've traveled to remote corners of the world, felt the pulse of diverse cultures, and connected with stories that transcend borders. His reverence for light, dedication to authenticity, and innate ability to foster genuine connections with his subjects have set him apart. As we await his upcoming adventures in South Sudan, Mongolia, and Papua New Guinea, one thing is clear: Alessandro's journey as a storyteller is boundless, and the world, through his lens, is a place of wonder and profound beauty.


 

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