Marco Giovanelli is an Italian Tripper passionate about adventure, travel, photography and exploring the world. He is our Tripper of the Week….
Tell us a bit about the where you grew up.
Well, I grew up in Cernobbio, a small village on the lake of Como in Italy. Growing up in a small village definitely shaped who I am. But right from the age of 8 years old, I have been accustomed to spend part of my summer holidays “alone” with organized groups of children without families. This has helped me develop a spirit of independence and the desire to meet new people and always visit new countries.
When did you discover your passion for photography?
The passion for travel has always been there – and tied to my passion for photography. As a child I liked to go to learn about new places, even if maybe it was just going to the mountains in the area with the disposable camera! Then growing up, the real revelation was a weekend in Prague; I was with friends exploring the magical city, and I realized I did not want to make tourist photos but special shots – with innovative and unusual angles. Since then, this has been my way of capturing images.
Of all the countries you’ve visited, which has fascinated you the most?
Adventure travel takes you to see the beauty of each country with its own traditions. It involves adapting to the real life of its inhabitants, so every country is always a discovery - both for the good things and the bad.
However, the most vivid sensations I’ve experienced while traveling, I’ve experienced in Cambodia, because it was the first country I visited on a backpacking adventure, living hand to mouth and soaking in the events and knowledge day by day. The smiles of the people, the serenity in spite of poverty and the difficulties of daily life made me see life from another angle.
But I can also not leave out Indonesia, Laos, and Colombian part of the Amazon.
Tell us about your photo project where you take photos jumping in all the countries you visit. How did you come up with the idea?
The Jum-P-roject initially came from a jump shot made for the game in Chicago. I wanted to “go” in a photo of me. Since that first photo, the jump has become a recurring theme. I’ve taken photos jumping in all of the countries I’ve visited since. The jump has become the metaphor of my trips: once you reach a goal, there is the desire to “jump” to another place.
This project has also become a way to get closer to local people who help me to immortalize my jump.
The Jump plan is always evolving, I hope to never run out of opportunities!
Of the local people you’ve met on your travels, which encounter has been your favorite?
I was in Kawa Ijen in East Java in Indonesia to do some reporting on the sulfur mine.
That morning at sunrise I met Isroni, a man who works in the mine.
I followed him during one of his days of exhausting work. I saw him setting out with the empty basket through the path at dawn, 3 kilometers to the crater rim, then dropping down to the shores of the lake. I saw him splitting the blocks of sulfur with a stick of metal, among toxic fumes that cause him a persistent cough and make his eyes weep. I saw him upload 100 pounds of sulfur on his back full of sores, and effort to trace the reverse path to the point of collection for an hour of walk.
Isroni earns about $ 6 per day, and he will hardly reach fifty years old.
He is aware of the risky and extreme conditions in which he is forced to work, but unfortunately this is the only work he can do to eat and support his family.
We love this photo of you with the local children in Calcutta. What’s the story behind the picture?
I remember exactly that hot and stuffy day in Calcutta. I was traveling with a Canadianand a Polish guy I met on the train from Varanasi. We went around the large, chaotic city and we deliberately decided to get lost by taking a tram without a plan or any idea of where to get off.
We happened upon this slum on the outskirts of Calcutta and were immediately greeted by a large group of smiling children and a great desire to know. We played. We jumped. I played simple magic tricks and taught the kids to take pictures.
They in turn made us visit their homes and introduced their families. I could not make this picture capture such a funny and amazing day.
What has been your most exciting moment as a photographer?
The best moment as a photographer was to have had the opportunity to see some of my photos shown in a gallery in NYC in SoHo and being told that my pictures elicited emotions in those who saw them.
My project “Jakarta Slum” was part of the exhibit in 4continent 4change, which takes on a new perspective by bringing attention to four continents. Participating photographer worked with Shoot 4 Change, a nonprofit consisting of both professional and amateur photographers, designers, artists and other dreamers who volunteer their time capturing images for reports by NGOs and other social organizations.
Where do you plan to travel next?
After Asia and South East Asia I am concentrating on visiting South America, which I have already ‘started to know’ by traveling to Colombia. I believe that in the coming months I will prepare for Argentina and Peru.
Cernobbio photo credit: http://www.vacanzelagodicomo.it/wp-content/gallery/lago-di-como-cernobbio/cernobbio.jpg.
Interview by Anis Salvesen.