I first discovered photography through an old shoebox of yellowing pictures on my grandparents’ kitchen table in Italy. They were born into extreme poverty at the beginning of the 20th century in the malaria-ridden swamps of southern Tuscany.
Their pictures quickly became a portal for me to travel to a different era. They became a visual corroboration of the oral histories I heard over and over around a bowl of roasted chestnuts during the long winter evenings of my childhood.
My passion for photography is about documenting and preserving disappearing realities.
The main subjects of my personal work have been unsung heroes of everyday life: everyday people.
For many years I worked for CBS News, traveling around the world learning to tell visual stories. Now, based between New York City and the Caribbean, I continue to find stories worth documenting and people worth giving voice to.
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• Pain is a four-letter word.
• Pain is probably the truest equalizer in our lives, regardless of our social, cultural or religious status. The rich suffers and so does the poor.
• We all experience pain, mental or physical, at some point in our lives.
• Pain is something we fear, we are not sure how to deal with, something we strive to avoid and to hide from others. Pain, in modern society has sometimes some implicit, unspoken connection, with shame.
• We try drugs, meditation, psychotherapy, prayer, anesthesia and /or anything else to deal with pain or to avoid it altogether. Pain is scary.
• The threshold or intensity of pain is not easily measurable; it is a subjective experience. When asked to describe our pain on a scale from one to ten, we all give a different answer.
• The quality of pain and its manifestation is also very subjective.
Pain can be a piercing scream, a dull, almost silent moan and everything in between. Pain can be sudden, occasional or last a whole lifetime.
• In modern society there is a fairly common denial of suffering. Mental suffering in particular is usually associated to instability, madness, to a stubbornly widespread mental health stigma. This leads to ostracize the sufferer as an unreliable, dangerous and a socially undesirable individual.
• A lot of pain goes undetected; a lot more goes untold and unheard.
• Pain is sometimes invisible and well camouflaged but always ends up manifesting itself and acquires visibility when and where we least expect it.
• Inflicting pain onto others is a common technique to coerce and control. From dictatorships to corporations pain is the most efficient form of manipulating peoples’ lives and beliefs.
• Pain is sometimes associated with death but it is often feared more than death itself.