Inside this issue
On the Artist’s Selfishness
Navigating our inner world
Through nature and image-making I keep discovering who I am. The more I grow older, the more these two things merge together.
I’m a full-time landscape photographer mainly working in the forest of Fontainebleau, France.
Artists are often consumed by their work, devoted to their craft and isolated to the point of appearing selfish beings. As a child, I have always been fascinated by one's dedication to the arts, and as an adult, it is the way I approach not only my work but also my life. Notoriously, many artists didn't invest much time cultivating relationships, not even the closest ones, furthering the perception of being selfish. Why is that? Is it the unwillingness to spend time doing other things besides their art? Is it because the search for inspiration requires a certain lifestyle? Or, maybe, is it because their selfishness is difficult to understand for those who aren't like them?
A rare meeting
My parent's house is located on top of an isolated hill with only another house in its vicinity. Alberto's parents live in that house, but despite him being my neighbour, I hardly saw him growing up. From the few occasions I happened to spend time with him, I knew he was a clever person with a bright future. Out of mutual respect, we always said that we should meet up, but we never really did, except for one time, during a time of changes in our lives, when we were both 28 years old. Coincidentally, we had both gone back to our hometown on the Samnite Apennines to visit our parents during the summer. Our paths crossed one morning along the unpaved road leading uphill, and after a quick chat, we decided to meet in a café after lunch.
Alberto had just passed a state exam and was set to start a new job as a mathematician for the Italian national railway company and to move to a new city. As it happens, I quit my animation career the previous year to try to make a living as a travel and landscape photographer and moved from northern England to France, following a career change from my (French) girlfriend.
Alberto, surprised about my news, asked how I was planning to turn my passion for photography into a profession. As I initiated verbalising my response, I paused, gazed away and said something I wasn't expecting to say, something I wouldn't have shared so easily with others. "It takes selfishness", I said. Even more surprised, he wanted to know what I meant by that.