This Guestbook event is dedicated to Nicola Ducati, an Italian photographer who has chosen to devote himself to travel photography. His images tell stories, create empathy between the viewer and the subject with elegance and authenticity.
We at Collater.al asked Nicola to tell us a short story through an interview, which you can find below:
Why did you develop an interest in this kind of photography?
I approached the world of photography by chance. As a
Famous photographers capable of unattainable suggestions together with lesser-known but talented photographers with a unique and poetic style. With some of them I have traveled, studied, learned and established a relationship of friendship and respect.
Today I especially like photography, which tells stories but also lets you imagine them, which excites and suggests reflections. A narrating photograph.
What are the themes you like to deal with?
One of the most important projects to me at the moment is the series about steel foundries in northern India. It is a testimony to the hard work of people who are born here, grow up here and spend their entire lives here. Not a judgment but a document on a certain controversial reality that unites the past and present history of so many men and women of our time. I think it is a good material, almost unknown and that in a few shots it becomes iconic and representative of a world far from the geographical point of view but intense and close from the human point of view.
More generally, my favorite theme is the ‘Conservation of Memory’, that is the use of photography as a tool to preserve unique and unrepeatable moments of time. I don’t mean in the classical sense, I don’t look for the exotic memory or the memory of a face marked by the difficulties of life, I look for a way to give continuity to the emotion that that elusive moment or that person gave me. With great generosity unknown men and women are photographed, it is a gift and a privilege that must be honored and shared.
That reflection in the eyes, that inquiring gaze, that dim light, that deep wrinkle, those hands ruined by work, the intimacy of a smoky house, are all fragments of poetry.
Of all the destinations you have visited, to which would you like to return?
I have visited many countries in recent years. I often return to my beloved and complicated India. In general, I think that a trip is never enough to fill a place. Every meeting, every person, every tradition has so much to tell that for a curious eye, a single occasion is not enough.
The most intense journey was in northern Afghanistan, between snowy mountains and the high passes of the Piccolo Pamir. Many days of travel on horseback, tent and sleeping bag. A raw, tiring, difficult, deeply touching journey. However I have no doubt, this is where I would like to return.
How do you establish your bond with the subject during the shooting phase?
From being a shy person at first to move from landscape photos to portraits was not easy, over time I have learned a lot from the various experiences I have had the good fortune to live. The approach is sometimes very simple, for example in India where you are not the one looking for the photos but they are the ones who find you.
In other situations like in Muslim countries, you have to be more cautious and respectful of traditions. Of course everywhere you always need to be polite, friendly and be satisfied. Intuition and experience then suggest the rest, when it’s time to stop shooting you say hello and thank you or maybe you drink something together.
It ‘happened a few times having to taste food or drink taste we say ‘questionable’ but the kindness with which it is offered hospitality does not allow you to back down. Food is also a way to connect with the subject. Generally, the people I meet, when they understand my intentions, never prove to be hostile. There are also those situations where it is appropriate not to photograph to not bother the subject, common sense and sensitivity are generally valuable tools to be in the world.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to continue to study and be able to attend advanced photography workshops that will further evolve my style and awareness.
I plan many trips and I would like to continue the work on the theme of ‘Conservation of Memory’ by visiting other countries and other peoples who, due to their geographical location and isolation, can contribute to completing my project.
These are ideas and dreams that I really hope to realize.
Follow Nicola’s take over on @Collater.al‘s Instagram profile!