Illusive Landscapes by Giovanni Canclini

Giovanni Canclini is an Italian chef who found his own path in photography through travel and developed his unique approach of capturing "less".

I'm not a professional photographer; I'm a chef, an Italian chef. I was born into a kitchen, I live in a kitchen and since I was child I have transformed raw ingredients into food and looked to present it in a pleasing, unique way. Composing food, both the cooking of it as well as its arrangement on a plate stimulates my brain and, like other chefs, I have this need all the time to transform what's in front of me. I have applied this same sensibility this to my photography, and like in a kitchen, each subject I tackle is a challenge.

But I'm not here to talk about "food art", but I do want to talk about my path. I started snapping pics in 2011 with a Canon dslr, and slowly started to grow more and more passionate about shooting. The Great American landscape was a great help to me as I took my first pictures in some of the most beautiful lands of United States like the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, The Badlands, Painted Hills, Oregon Coast, Devil's Tower and The Great Sand's Dunes. I've continued traveling during my off time, learning basic techniques and starting to connect those techniques to how to get the images I want.

I've also visited many countries like China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Russia (and its amazing Siberian landscape,) but I wasn't satisfied with my photography. I felt it was just a series of 'shooting sessions' of amazing places that resulted in images of 'reportage.' I don't like reportage. I mean, I have nothing against great photojournalism as it informs us about issues in ways words never could. But my reportage was weak and not stimulating at all. I hadn't yet found my path. 

And then I started to study the connection between a simple medium like a picture and the sense of what we photograph. After 4 years of photography around the world I took just two pictures that I considered good enough for my vision: one in the Painted Hills (called shapes) and another one in Cambodia (called rebus). 

Obviously, two shots in four years weren't enough.

Everything that's 'less' in a picture allows the viewer more fantasy and freedom of interpretation, because everyone understands images and words in different ways. As an example, if I think about the word 'home,' I imagine my home in a mountain village where I grew up. Someone from New York imagines his 'home' completely different from me. This is where I have found a disconnect of communication, especially in the medium of photography. From here, my work started more specifically down this path as I continued to travel around the world focusing more sharply on these thoughts. I don't wish to impose my thoughts or my political opinion through my photography; I want people to be able to travel with their own thoughts and their own view through my pictures. This approach, this sensibility, is what lead me towards minimalism.

This path doesn't end here, I'm working right now on light and its ability to speak to us. It will take time and the little steps which aid me to reach a larger sense of truth in what I'm doing.