THE SECRETS OF MY PHOTOGRAPHS.

Hello and welcome to my new adventure. Photography is my job since i was 21, that is, since 1984¦ I believe that, as any other freelance job, it doesn’t leave much room for anything else, so one must devote himself to it the most part of the day, week, life.

But, at the same time, one must not be swallowed up by this job, one must not get to a point where it’s hated, because if one hate this damn job, one can never take good pictures.

This is why i like to talk about photography just like i was used to in my early days. I’ve decided to tell everyone what’s behind some of my best pictures, mixing together anecdotes, their context and techniques. Continue reading

PERUVIAN SHAMAN (SHIPIBO)

It takes 24 hours with an awful public boat along the Ucayalli river to get to the Shipibo village of Cacomacaya, south of Pucallpa. This lady is the local shamen, she gave me the shipibian name of Yonnosoi, before singing an “icaro” which i recorded and then lip-synced with the movie i took with my Nikon D300s. But i also wanted to capture the depth of her expression with a picture. The totally open diaphragm was the proper choice in order to avoid any other distraction.

 

Year 2011. Camera Nikon D300. Diaphragm 2,5. Time 1/320″. Lens Nikkor 50mm F1.8 AF

LA HIGUERA BOLIVIA

I guess it was my first of five days spent in a small village where Ernesto Che Guevara was killed back in 1967. The place is still a very poor village lost in the mountains Of Southern Bolivia. Pictures of Che Guevara and his soldiers are eveywhere. I got acquainted with local kids and Jorge Luis was intrigued by the changing of numbers of the exposure counter of my camera anytime i was varying the compression algorhythm (i explained to him the theory of compression using an A4 size sheet of paper). The strange dualism between Che and the Cross had already made me take a few pictures, but with Jorge Luis and the moon just up in the sky, i couldn’t help but taking one more. This picture has always been hard to manipulate in the post-production phase.

Year 2006, camera Nikon D100 diaphragm   4  speed 1/125”  lens Nikkor 80-200

Story : http://federicotovoli.photoshelter.com/gallery/Che-trail-BOLIVIA/G0000PSZDIgIUtWM/C0000hKMUV0CJoXs

NEULAND PARAGUAY

When i spent three days in the newest of the three mennonite comunities in the western part of Paraguay, i just had 11 minutes of sun: that’s when i took this picture. I was going back to the hotel when i realized that the sun was coming out of the clouds just a few minutes before the sunset. It was the right time for me to capture the daily life of that outpost of civilization in the Chaco desert, so i set myself near a crossroad facing the wide open countryside. I used slow speed in order to achieve something special. Some people asked me if this picture had been photoshopped, but no, the colors are real and strong and the foregrounding sharp green is simply due to a chromatic imbalance between the fluorescence of the public lighting and the real light.

Year 2007. Camera Nikon D100. Diaphragm  4      speed 1/3“      Lens Nikkor 12-24 f 4

Storia : http://federicotovoli.photoshelter.com/gallery/In-the-name-of-Menno-PARAGUAY/G00001sc7tmlAXYE/C0000hKMUV0CJoXs

DUSK ON CACHI SQUARE. ARGENTINA

When I finally made up my mind about making the “big-ass reportage” on the longest road of Argentina, the ” Ruta Nacional Cuarenta”, i spent a few days in the nice village of Cachi, since it was right on my path.
When capturing its daily life with my pics, i lingered a bit longer watching the swarming of people in the Plaza des Armas. The strenght of this image, i think, lies in the dreaming facial expression in almost one of the thirds of the image of that kid in the foreground, all further reinforced by the cromatic imbalance between the sky and the public lighting

L’ACCOLTA. ITALY

This photo is perhaps the only one that was taken without it being part of an assignment or a self made photo reportage. Here where i live, Elba Island, Tuscany, Italy, the religious ceremony of the Accolta is maybe the only historic tradition that remains intact since the days when tourism was the only economic resource of this island. During the morning of the Good Friday a parishioners exchange between twin villages takes place. The congregation of San Piero in Campo goes and pray inside the church of Salnt Ilario in Campo and viceversa. They all go in procession and it may happen before dawn, if Easter occurs late in the calendar. I was teaching a photography class and my students insisted to go and take pictures the event. I seized the opportunity. I had no other way to shoot than by using the flash in open mode in order to catch the very first weak lights of dawn. Year 2007. Camera Nikon D100. Diaphragm f 5,6. Time 1“. Lens Nikkor 12-24mm.

VILLA BRASIL ALONG TAPAJOS RIVER. BRASIL

We just got off the boat after a full night journey along the Tapajos River. It was already damn hot since 8 a.m., while some clouds were playing hide and seek with the sun and that guy was taking his boat out to sink so that the wood couldn’t crack under the heat of the sun. He would have recovered it later on when needed. Given that quasi-silhouette shape, the compositional impact given by the tree and the light kicks on the water, i took this picture even though i didn’t know if it could be useful for the ongoing reportage. Then, i only used it for educational and communication purposes

ESTATE LIBERI / ENGLISH

I was staying inside that farm that was impounded to the Mafia. I have been staying there with two other guys, Arianna and Ned, for 2 days in a row, waiting for a new bunch of volunteers and getting bored in the meantime. My project was about portraying the great movement of volunteers coming from all parts of the nation to the Southern Italy countryside, to the great lands confiscated to Mafia and now being farmed by social cooperatives in the name of law and order. I had to show the idea of a place where new legality has now overrun the ancient illegality, thus highlighting the beauty of this movement through my shoots. We were put to pull weeds from a vineyard, so i told Arianna to pull them toward me, which she did several times. The use of the fill-in flash was mandatory because the sun was definitely high in the sky.

The result has been greatly appreciated so that the picture made the front cover of an italian magazine and became the iconic image of the volunteering campaing.
Year 2009 camera Nikon D300s Diaphragm 11 speed 1/250 lens Nikkor 12-24
see the story : http://federicotovoli.photoshelter.com/gallery/Libera-ITALY/G0000BV4B7HE2Yo4/C0000Jsk_yr1i7Y8

NO LIMITS? / ENGLISH

This picture belongs to my second reportage covering athletes with disabilities and, since it was about the ones going to 2006 Winter Paralympic Games in Turin, this whole work isn’t online anymore. We’re at Varese Lake and this guy was an athlete performing in different sports. I took this picture of him waiting for someone to bring him his canoe for a paddling on the lake. I have kept this picture for its strong graphical effect and the unmistakable visual reminder given by the wheelchair, as if to say “there are no limits”, or better yet “no limits for people with disabilities”.
Camera Nikon D100 Diaphragm 22  Time 1/250″  Lens 12-24 mm AF-D.

ABEL ALARCON COCALERO. YUNGAS: BOLIVIA

During my reportage about the traditional uses of the coca leaves in Bolivia, I got acquainted with the great family clan led by the “cocalero” and trade unionist Abel Alarcon. I also took part in the harvest and all the other stages of processing of coca leaves before their sale at the La Paz wholesale market. This picture portraits Abel staring happily at the harvest. The problem was that the great sack was by a door with a wing that was stuck in closed position. The only source of light in the room was coming from a window in the back. Hence I had no choice but to bounce back a flash with a miniscreen on the front side and exposure meter reading on the far away wall. Year 2006. Camera Nikon D100. Diaphragm 10  Time 1/3″  Lens 12-24 mm AF-D.

whole story : http://federicotovoli.photoshelter.com/gallery/Cocaleros-BOLIVIA/G0000Govz06dmpBk/C0000hKMUV0CJoXs

DURING THE HOLY MASS IN THE CHURCH OF ST.XAVIER

While making a reportage about the Jesuit Missions of the Bolivian Chiquitania region, i tried in many ways to include the figure of the man within the architectural context that allowed those areas to achieve the status of Unesco World Heritage Site. The easiest and most impactful thing to do was to take pictures of those so peculiarly decorated churches during mass.

San Xavier is not the most beautiful one out of all seven Missions, i spent just one day there. During mass, i noticed a burst of sunlight making its way in the shadows from the church’s main entrance.
Right under that decorated column, a bunch of kids were confabulating and running back and forth. So i underexposed in semispot mode in order to darken shadows a bit and not to burn the highlights, then i looked through the telephoto lens.
Year 2007. Camera Nikon D100.  Diaphragm 6,3  speed 1/125 lens zoom 80-200 f 2,8 AF
whole story : http://federicotovoli.photoshelter.com/gallery/Chiquitania-the-bolivian-far-east/G0000KGhbYLIWRjA/C0000u8KB2GzO_jo

THE ANDEAN PRIEST. QUEHUE.PERU / ENGLISH

Once i got in the lost village of Quehue, it was no easy job to find the Andean priest that, with the help of two more guys, was supposed to ask the Holy Ghosts of the Mountain (the “Apu”) for their protection on the rebuild of the Q’eswachaka Bridge. I found a motorcycle as my last hope and i got up to a “comunidad campesina” that was placed at 4000 meters above sea level and where this guy was living, in a farm apart from the village; there i had to be taken there by his daughters, to wait on his doorstep (needless to say that cellphones do not perform so well up there). Continue reading