Photographs are important

October 04, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

           

Sicily work

       Beautifully composed and lit photographs are magnificent. 

         They record the passage of time, of emotion, of place.

 

    Whenever I visit Italy, I shoot my little cousin, and every other person I can put in front of my 105 mm. No one is safe.

     Oh, before you get any government entity involved, I use my Nikon cameras packed with film and Compact flash cards!!!!

 

     I have spent incalculable hours walking up and down steep cobblestone steps all over the village, every day, with camera and backpack in tow looking for the most remarkable people, and the perfect light. When I first embarked on this journey of discovery my standard line, spoken in Italian, was (and still is if I don't know them), "Hi. I am the daughter of Giuseppa and Giovanni Fabio. Who are you?" It works every time. First a bewildered look appears as they size me up. I'm sure what is going through their mind is: They know I'm a stranger from America. (Accent and clothes give me away. Plus, who is crazy enough to carry two large DSLR's around their neck in that oppressive Mediterranean heat?) Second, I do resemble my parents, or "genitore." Then a smile of recognition appears, barriers have been broken, and a flood gate of information about my Mom and Dad surfaces. I've heard a multitude of stories over the years about them and others in my family, and I will share some in future posts.

     Due to many issues my "frequent" visits this time were stretched to six years. (Way too long, as my aunts promptly informed me as they squeezed the stuffing out of me with hugs and kisses.)  When most of your entire family lives in another country, six years is an eternity. My youngest of cousins didn't remember me, and most were quite embarrassed to admit it, but then again how could they? I on the other hand was taken with how they had grown during my absence. It was hard to play catch up in only three weeks, and I spent every moment I could with my enormous family. My husband actually asked me to only tell him when I wasn't related to someone, and that was very infrequent.

      In the years I've been visiting my ancestral homeland I have photographed and met many of the town's shrinking population. Numerous inhabitants have moved to the coast, emptying the villages inland. Their loss, for the tranquility and silence just nine kilometers from the water and the chaos is truly spectacular. There is no traffic, plenty of parking and the church bells that ring every quarter hour resonate between the pastel painted, stuccoed walls, of the town's Arabic architectural inspired buildings. For me it is a remarkable change from the frenzied life I lead here in the States.

     This has been a personal project with a profound emotional connection. I walk the via's my parents did, I inhale the same air, I drink the same cool, clear water from the same artesian wells, and I see the countryside they saw as children and adults. If my parents had not immigrated to America I would have been born there. It is for that very reason I am drawn to meet and photograph these remarkable people who live and work there. This little "paese" or town has been the passion which fuels my soul and my creativity.

Photography taken with a Nikon F100 and D800.


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Detroit People & Commercial Photographer

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