venue available for the disabled
I became a photographer by chance. I grew up in a poor family in an industrial area of Milan in the north of Italy. My destiny was to be a factory worker. After military service, a friend asked me to assist him in the photographic studio and so my life had an unexpected turn.
When I was young I loved reading adventure books, stories of people living in other continents who have different cultures … So, with the first earnings, I began to dream of making travel a profession. With great humility I approached reportage, social photography studying the technique of the great photographers of the past and those reporters who documented the Vietnam War.
The 1970s were dominated by political ideals, pacifism and anti-war sentiments. This issue has been important for my generation and I believe that I became a war photographer to live on the ground my commitment against war, against violence and death.
For a few years I dealt with social issues in Italy, then I devoted myself to Eastern European countries. Living long periods in countries under Soviet occupation allowed me to understand many things and to learn German and Russian culture and Slavic languages.
When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, I was already there. I was based in East Berlin. I had a rare accreditation that allowed me to travel and photograph in the GDR. I was lucky enough to document a Country (GDR) that was changing forever and those photos have become History.
I was in the right place at the right time. I began to collaborate with major international newspapers and to experience history as it happens.
Then I moved to Moscow. In the days of the coup (summer 1991), I was inside the Kremlin where President Gorbachev was arrested by KGB agents. Boris Yeltsin came to power and the powerful Soviet Union melted like snow in the sun.
In 1991 the conflict in Yugoslavia broken out and the war crossed my path. It was a hard, devastating experience that took my whole life and all my energies. There was no more room for love and normal life. Death entered my head, my heart and I lived for years as in a dark tunnel… I started living like an animal in destroyed houses, in cellars like rats, in trenches with soldiers.
I lost the sense of a normal life. I can’t forget Sarajevo and the other bloody places where I spent 10 fucking years of my life. Cold, hunger and fear were everyday problems.
The sacrifices were enormous but I get satisfaction because my photographs were published all over in the world. During some breaks in the war in Yugoslavia, I had numerous assignments to cover Rwanda’ genocide in 1994, the war in Chechnya, Palestine, Lebanon, Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq. I became a specialist…
I’ ve got many awards and organized hundreds of traveling exhibitions.
Such a risky life cost me a lot. I suffer from a post traumatic syndrome (PTSD). The nights are full of nightmares.
I have been exposed to pain for too long. Too many dead, too much suffering.
Now it’s time to transfer my experiences to the students of journalism and to write a memoir because everyone must know the cruelty and the legacy of war.
Exhibited in Poland for the first time.