14 Apr Untaken photos also count
From an early age I knew that I wanted to be an archaeologist, there was no doubt, it was such a clear decision in my mind.
Then someone asked me “Or?” and I thought “Or what? There isn’t or, there isn’t an alternative, I’ll be an archaeologist!”: at that precise moment the riddle was formulated, I had never thought of an alternative!
So for days the thought buzzed in my head until something came to mind that I really liked and that I could really turn into a job: photography.
Since I can remember it has always been linked to exciting moments in my life, I have always associated it with moments of well-being and happiness. Today taking a photo is part of our daily life, but there was a time when the camera was taken out for special occasions: birthdays, ceremonies, parties, events. We’d take her on road trips with us on vacation, carefully deliver the pimp to the photographer, and look forward to seeing the photos on paper. Talking about it today seems like prehistory, but what a thrill!
Yet the thought of becoming a photographer never really convinced me, I liked it too much to turn it into a “job” (what an ugly word!), I preferred to keep it among my personal passions and so with my first salary as an archaeologist, I bought the my first entry level bridge, a Nikon D3200.
By now all cell phones have cameras with exceptional performance, but I belong to the Camera Forever school! I still prefer the good old camera to any latest generation smartphone.
Because a phone can take a picture but it will never take a photographer.
Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you don’t use your phone to seize the moment for lack of anything else, however there are too many things I love about that little box that your smartphone can’t satisfy: the weight of wearing it around your neck like a jewel precious; the hand I hold over the lens trying to shield it from anything; the grip around the camera body, chosen from dozens of other models to fit my hands perfectly; bring it close to your face and point your eye into the viewfinder and finally, the most important thing: the sound of the shutter. That tenth, hundredth, thousandth of a second when the shutter closes and produces an almost sentimental sound.
The perfect metaphor for life
In my romantic view of the world, photography is the perfect metaphor for life: it’s all about perspective.
The most negative events can turn into a relief when seen in the right light, heavy things become very light and even your body, taken at the right angle, seems to hover 3 meters off the ground, when in reality it is only a few centimetres. Learning to change perspective is one of the great teachings of photography; teaches us to look at our lives from the outside every now and then, look for the right light, remove those shadows that distort our faces, reduce contrasts.
One of the many things that made me fall in love with Marco was discovering that he was a photographer, this already told me so much about him and, curiously, photography had to do with our “first date” (as well as the archeology, but that’s another story!).
It was a warm autumn day in Rome, Marco had brought his camera with him, a beautiful Nikon DF, and I had asked him to teach me some tricks of the trade. Thus we spent the whole day strolling through the streets and neighborhoods of the city: first San Pietro and Prati, then Castel Sant’Angelo, the Lungo Tevere, the Pantheon, the Jewish quarter, finally Trastevere. The photos we took that day can be counted on the fingers of one hand, but the ones that scroll through my album of memories are many more.
Photography has played an important part in my life and also in Marco’s, in some way it can be said that it has brought us closer, but at the same time there are things that no photo can tell, because the eyes with which we looked at each other that day they would never have been bright enough in any photograph.
You know, untaken photos count too.
Marco taught me that a good photographer knows how to dose his shots, even if now digital gives us an infinite number. He knows how to mercilessly erase all those photos that aren’t worth it, but above all he knows when not to shoot, when the photo will never make that moment, when it’s only worth living.
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P.S. The cover photo was taken by Luca Caparrelli, a very good photographer of R