A fiercely concentrated Andrea Pozzi is busy working at the ski slopes of Alps. Every winter he manages spending time in his native Lombardi, Italy, he occupies himself with his other love, skiing. In descending the slopes he leaves his trail on the snow covered mountain. But it is only for a few seconds before fresh snowfall covers the traces. It makes him acutely aware of the ephemeral nature of time, a lesson he particularly treasures during photography. Sometimes, he needs waiting for hours before capturing that ‘precious’ yet fleeting moment in his Canon camera. Being a nature photographer he often finds himself at remote corners of earth. And with only nature accompanying him in his journeys he finds enough time to breath into the tranquillity of fresh air and pristine landscapes. From disparate Patagonia to frozen Alaska, from dramatic Fiordland to unforgettable Ireland, Andrea travelled many miles under the sun with his faithful camera at hand. In going uphill and down dale everyday on ski slopes Andrea has learnt another great lesson, that of taking the highs and lows of life in his stride accompanied by the power of endurance. So today faced with an obstacle in his life’s slalom this visual storyteller from northern Italy knows how to overcome it.
How life was like in your early childhood as you were merrily busy surveying the fields and valleys in Bormio? How important a role your environment played in implanting the love of nature in your mind?
I would say that having grown up in the mountains, the alpine valleys and snow were of essential importance in my approach to the world of exploration. Over the years my curiosity has only increased and led me to explore nature in all its aspects, exploring it from various points of view, often revealing the unknown.
Does it feel ironical that your degree in Architecture leads you in dealing with space created by human being, whereas your love of photography makes you appreciate the space that nature accommodates for us?
Its all terribly ironic! The art in all its forms have always fascinated me, exceedingly. In high school art was my favourite subject of study, in the last years of my schooling I got carried away by the works of great architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto (to name two), works in which the relationship with nature and the surrounding environment were essential. The interest in protecting the environment and the interaction with it, typical of organic architecture, has prompted me to tackle a course of study where I could work within this reality. I am proud that I got a degree. But I am currently working sporadically in this world as a nature photographer, and I intend to continue with dedication in this regard.
To quote Albert Einstein, ‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.’ Does it feel the same to you too?
This quote is certainly true in my case. Through nature and through loneliness and I come to know myself better. Careful observation of any natural phenomenon is a source of growth and excites emotion. It never fails to surprise me that nothing is ever repeated in nature. Since, I learned a long time ago, to open my heart to the vastness of nature, I am able to certify that nothing could be more fulfilling. My life’s mission is very clear: it is the close association with environment that leads me to experience long hours of meditation, during which I extrapolate the maximum and embrace the most intimate emotions, small bricks that make up my existence. Photography is the best way to approach the moments of meditation in nature even if it is tinged with ‘little conflicts’, which sometimes distract me to experience the moments of ecstasy.
Which one destination holds the most prominent place in your extensive travelogue till date? How much research and preparation do you undertake before embarking on any journey?
Over the years I have changed a lot, both as a traveller and as a photographer. After every adventure my experience grows. I feel that step by step, I learn how to organise myself, how to prepare for a new location in the best possible way. The most important experience of my life till date was gained when I was alone in Torres del Paine, Chile. Hard days, reflection and pure solitude. It was winter and good conditions for photographing were sparse at best, also I was still immature artistically. I had the time to think a lot, think about my life, about my passions, my family and my future. From that moment on I realised that in later years I would try to explore the world uninterrupted, and so it has been.
I prepare for a trip very carefully, studying a place and all its aspects; the season; the morphology; the incidence of light; and all the other little facets that can become important to the success of a shot.
You are also an avid fan of skiing. What one belief that you hold true while skiing also applies in your role as a photographer?
Yes, I love skiing. I am a ski instructor for many years now and in winter I practice this profession with great satisfaction. Unfortunately, as I am now busier as a photographer it is difficult to devote enough time for skiing. However, for next winter I have some important projects that will bring me to shoot in the middle of tons of snow, snow is my element!
Tell us of any anecdotal story from your many journeys that is still fresh in your memory.
I preserve many stories, in fact I am writing a book about it. In one of my last trips I experienced something a bit different from the usual. I found myself at over 16,000 feet, in the region of Sichuan (China), on the Tibet border. After several days of explorations between the snow–capped mountains exceeding an altitude of 20,000 feet, the desire of extreme wilderness prompted me to spend a night in a cave. It was late autumn, very cold and the full moon illuminated the walls of the cave. Silence, peace and everything fills me with a sense of well-being. Out of this world experience! Long hours in front of a makeshift fire waiting for a late sunrise. In those moments you feel small but strong, the hours are eternal and you are allowed to think a lot, making that difficult night one of the most enduring and ancestral moments of my whole life.
As you shift your perspective from being an architect to an explorer to a photographer how creatively fulfilling does your journey feel?
It is definitely very interesting to have different passions, they allow me to experience a place, a culture, from many points of view. In addition to the nature I love to visit cities, discover new cultures, it is always nice to be able to witness something new.
Andrea Pozzi prefers…
Andrea Pozzi was born in the autumn of 1984, Bormio, Italy. Here is a peep in to the world of his favourites:
Book – I would say ‘The Pillars of the Earth’, or ‘The Lord of the Rings’, the two true masterpieces.
Music –Different genres, depends on the situation in which I find myself: I grew up with grunge, with punk rock. I then began to appreciate hard rock and metal, especially melodic ones. Sometimes I find myself listening to classical, opera, dark ambient … in short, all that I feel ‘necessary’ in a certain situation, music is essential.
Movie – There are many movies I love. Anyway I would say ‘Edward Scissorhands’.
Food – I love Italian food but lately, I am discovering new tastes, thanks to recent travels in Asia. I like Chinese and Russian cuisines. I can never refuse salmon!
Colour – I would say green. It means nature, harmony.
Find more of his work at http://forgottenlands.it/