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.
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.
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.