This month What Italy Is interview Oliver Astrologo. Went from advertiser to video maker, Oliver defines his videos as a new form of documentary. They have a maximum duration of a few minutes, a short time, but according to Oliver this is enough to involve the spectators and show them a privileged point of view made of places and people belonging to distant cultures.
Oliver recommends listening to “I’m bound to pack it up” in the Aluminium version while reading his interview.
From your work and online profiles it clear that you love to travel. What kind of traveler are you when you’re not doing it on business, what are you looking for in the places you explore?
In a word: authenticity. To know a destination in the best way for me it’s essential to live it through its inhabitants. My most significant experiences are related to moments spent with people belonging to the places I visited, such as craftsmen, artists and all those who spent their lives there. It’s through their stories, arts and crafts that I feel I have had an authentic travel experience.
When you travel for work, what are the essential tools, without which you would never leave?
My technical equipment is definitely fundamental, but if I were to list the three essential tools that I would never leave at home, I would say without a doubt, my Kindle for a good reading during the long waits between one destination and another. A Moleskine to collect ideas and travel notes and finally a printed copy of the work plan together with a local guide. In many cases, the Internet could be just an option and it’s always better to be prepared for an “offline” travel experience, even if sometimes I don’t mind getting lost.
What is the journey you care about the most?
I have beautiful memories of Vietnam, I appreciated the simplicity and generosity of the people who live in this country, throughout the trip I always felt like I was at home. I made a video that documents my experience and I think it could be the best description.
You shoot videos for work, what is the most beautiful part and the most difficult?
Much of my work consists in producing films for companies operating in the tourism sector, this gives me the good fortune to be able to travel a lot, last year I visited 27 countries, it’s wonderful to see so many places with your own eyes. The most difficult aspect of the job is the time available, sometimes I visited destinations for only one day, a very short time that doesn’t always allow me to experience an authentic 100%.
Who inspires you, who is the videographer you most admire?
I have several, it would be too long to list them all, their works are a source of inspiration to me. I’m not hiding that before leaving for a new destination, I watch dozens of videos on Vimeo and Youtube often made by unknown videomakers, it’s very interesting because I have the chance to get an idea of what I’ll see, but also to understand what I want to film avoiding the usual clichés.
Did you start with videos or with photography?
The first step was photography; moving on to video production was a sort of personal challenge. It’s curious that the disciplines of photography and video making are so similar and so distant. The basic rules are the same but the concept changes radically. A video through the movement of images can tell a story, in photography it’s exactly the opposite – a single photo can tell more than an entire film.
One of the main difficulties, when you have both passions, is to be able to make them coexist together, on many occasions I have had to choose whether to capture the moment before in video or photos.
Instagram: what do you like and don’t like about this platform?
I love Instagram because thanks to this platform I have discovered and met many talented people. With great regret I’m noticing that the platform is slowly moving in a more mass direction, what was once an ideal place to create a following of passionate people, today is driven by algorithms and dynamics that don’t enhance the real artistic talent of people. Today I use Instagram more as a kind of “travel diary” especially with the creation of Instagram Stories, people who follow me are curious to know my work through backstage videos or short tutorials, it’s the type of content that is most appreciated.
If I asked you to recommend an Italian place to take pictures or shoot a video, what would you say?
Although Venice is a well-known city, it’s not only made of canals and architecture; I have also discovered a “submerged” world of people who live in this city and I refer to the craftsmen who have been passionately carrying out arts and crafts for years and who are slowly at risk of disappearing.
And what is the place of your heart?
Even though I live abroad for several years, Rome remains the place where I was born and grew up and to which I am extremely fond, it’s not a coincidence that I made a video to pay homage to this great city.
What is Italy for you, out of the clichés?
A place that never ceases to amaze and fascinate. But sometimes, when we live it every day, we don’t notice it anymore and we look elsewhere. Sometimes you just have to stop and try to rediscover the beauty that we have around. Since I live abroad every time I come back I realize the precious naturalistic and cultural resources of our Peninsula, too often exploited without respect and not valued what they deserve.