Sunday, May 2, 2010



Very often, when I'm on assignment, a lot of people look at my camera and say, "Oh, that's a big camera, man! You sure can take good pictures with that!" Some of them even ask, "How many megapixels?" And sometimes I jokingly answer with another question, "Mega... what?" Of course, I more or less know what megapixels are, but the point I'd like to make is that good pictures are not the product of the camera's size.

Any professional photojournalist will tell you this: Good pictures come from hard work. But I would add that, many times, the ability to capture good, intimate moments is mostly a gift the subjects give us when they let us into their lives, tell us their stories and allow us to spend as much time as we need with them.

That's precisely the case of of Carlo and Orlene Gentile, two performers with the Zoppe' Circus, who were in Decatur last year. Zoppe' is one of the few family circuses left in the Country, and the Gentiles, with their two children, Gianluca and Giulia, are "a family within the family." Although I had previously taken pictures of their performances, I really wanted to see how real life in a circus is, and they were willing to have me with them for a whole day.

That is why I was able to capture some intimate moments, such as Orlene breast feeding her daughter, Giulia, between the afternoon and the evening shows, or the "historic family moment" (as Carlo put it) of little Gianluca using the potty in their trailer for the first time.

This is not about my skill to document those moments. I don't even know if these two pictures can really convey what we all felt in those situations. This is rather about the gift that they gave me and for which I'm most grateful.