25 Ott Source of inspiration
I believe that curiosity and the attraction for nature have been my greatest impulse and source of inspiration. The belief that the world is vast and multifacet, that it would be reductive to visit only known places and to interact always with the same people, that one’s own self can only be enriched by knowledge, and that the time in front of us is not indefinite… I have always been attracted by nature from when I was a child, and for what nature can offer and for how it always manages to surprise us. It is likely that there is also a desire to move away from a very intense professional life, always in contact with people and with problems, often, very severe.
In the younger age the passion for mountains and explorations was nurtured also through the reading of books and reports from people like Fosco Maraini, Father Alberto Maria De Agostini, Walter Bonatti and, in subsequent years, Reinhold Messner. Of Walter Bonatti, extraordinary mountaineer, I remember living with emotion the adbìventure of his great climbs, starting from the illuminating K2 saga, to his record-making solo winter climb up the north face of the Matterhorn in 1965 (his last climb), and then great explorer with the beautiful articles published in the monthly magazine of those days Epoca. And the books and films that worked on my imagination. I remember many so clearly: Journey to the Centre of the Earth (how could Jules Verne have imagined, so cleverly, to locate this story in Iceland?): A Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and the adventures of Captain Nemo. And I remember as a small child meeting Captain William Anderson who, as commander of the USS Nautilus, navigated the first nuclear powered submarine beneath the polar ice cap surrounding the North Pole.
I believe that these, added to the family hostory, have been over the years the trigger to traveling and seeing/discovering. I believe in fact that some of the biggest emotions have come from nature. From the many memories, it is easy to recall the dawns and sunsets at Zabriskie Point, the Monument Valley, the Alaska Highway, the Andes, the Salar of Uyuni in Bolivia, Iceland, the many deserts – of sand, stone, lava – visited, the endless horizons in Africa, the animals in Kenya and Namibia, the unique fauna and flora of the Galapagos Islands, wales, condors, eagles, coyotes, hyenas…
And from this photography, a unique instrument to remember. How many times looking at pictures of a journey places, colors, situations apparently forgotten come back to our mind? And photography has become a trigger and a way to better appreciate details, to search for the optimal light, to wait – with patience – for the right moment, to avoid missing unforgettable dowans and sunsets. And sometimes it becomes a document of a world that no longer exists, as it has been for China in 1985.
In thanking Dacia Maraini who kindly accepted to write the Preface for Deserts, I remembered one of her sayings: “The first taste that I have known, and of which I will keep a memory, is the flavor of a trip”.