“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” Each Photographs is a chapter of our story" the visual of our thoughts and feelings.
— Jonathan Swift
About the Photographer
Alessandro Sarno was born and raised in Italy. He published four coffee table books, Blue And Beyond, Catch Da Cat, and Eleuthera The Garden of Freedom to portray life in The Bahamas, and Junkanoo-The Spirit of a People to tell the story of Junkanoo, the most important cultural event in The Bahamas. He also published a very unique photographic travel guide of the island of Eleuthera called White Bull on the Highway. Alessandro’s work has been featured in many group shows in The Bahamas and the United States, including most recently, Kroma Gallery’s Goombay—An Homage to Coconut Grove—a Junkanoo-themed exhibition in Miami. His first solo exhibition was presented at the Ladder Gallery in Nassau in 2016.
He finds inspiration traveling around the Islands of The Bahamas; his photography focuses on the vernacular, on the indigenous expressions of people he encounters, on landscapes, wildlife. He is drawn to the interstices of Bahamian life: worship services, concerts, funerals, civic activities and all the little details which emerge in between. Alessandro’s eye tends to see the present as if it were already the past, in such a way he pursues the timeless feel of his images. Alessandro’s photos also often have a painterly, dreamlike quality, the roots of which harken back to time spent drawing and making pictures from a very young age.
Alessandro is a lone traveler and considers photography his travel companion, hence his artistic name, “The Lonesome Photographer”, which also draws inspiration from the classic and lyrical road-less-traveled book, Lonesome Traveler, by novelist and poet, Jack Kerouac.
"Crystallized moments of random beauty"
I often wonder if there is a common thread between my photos.
The answer I found that best describes my photography is simple: whatever speaks to me in one way or another at a given moment, a moment I want to hold.
The real question then is: ”What does speak to me?” My photos are the ultimate expression of my education, culture, feelings, fears, sense of beauty, sense of loss, and more in general, of my experience. In other words, photography is a recording of life.
It translates the complexity of life into an (almost) infinite multitude of crystallized moments.
I like to think of photos as pages of one's life book. To go back to the original question of what speaks to me: the ordinary,
the everyday, the unnoticed, the small things, shadows, reflections, the candid scenes of urban life, a man with his dog, people sleeping on the subway trains—tired after a long day at work, a mom with her child, old people sitting on benches, children playing on the beach, walls of abandoned homes.
I am interested in the humanity of the situation, in how people interact with each other, and with the environment. I am drawn
by scenes of solitude and emptiness, which frequently imply the transitory nature of contemporary life.
I believe that once a scene is captured and framed into a photograph it is elevated to a higher dimension, to a limbo lying between reality and imagination. It becomes visual poetry, where words are replaced by shapes, spaces, colors, lines, light, and shadows.
I like to compare a photographer to a poet. As Horace said, “ … a picture is a poem without words.” The special poetry of photographs can be seen in pictures where light becomes the ink that imprints the image not only to memory, but also to heart.
Photographs give their own subjects the status of art, even when engaged with the harshest and most painful situations.
The beauty of nature speaks for itself, but there is another kind of beauty, harder to see, that only art can bring to life. The beauty of tears falling down the cheeks for the loss of a parent. Tears that strip you of all the un necessary and reconnect you with the very essence of life; It is a dignity that conveys the sense of beauty. The beauty of loneliness, when your thoughts bring back bittersweet moments of a bygone life. The beauty of a sunbeam breaking through the darkness to remind you how unpredictable life can be.
Each picture embeds the photographer's own story and relation with the subject and the surrounding environment. For anyone else, a photograph will speak in a different way, or maybe will not speak at all—it’s all in the viewer's eye.
I consider photographers very much like artisans. Their raw material, rather than wood or marble, is the fate of humanity, the continuous unfolding of life experiences at every corner, in every moment. A photographer is a carver of memories, he captures
an image; he frames it and makes it his or her own by adding or subtracting the elements he wants or does not want to be in the picture.
Many say that the most important thing for a photographer is to have a good eye. Yes, of course a good eye is crucial, but what
I believe to be even more important is the soul.
It is the soul who directs the eye to a specific subject or scene. It’s the soul that compels the photographer to capture a specific moment—the eyes are a mere instrument of the soul and one's sensitivity. In the end, what makes a photo precious is how heartfelt that is.
I find it easy and rewarding to communicate through photography. I feel grateful to have discovered my own visual language;
it is something very important in my life.
To the question, “why do I make photographs”, my answer is because I need an outlet to express myself, to write poetry with my images. I need to keep a memory of my life while observing and deeply appreciating life around me. Photography makes me think, gives me escape from mundane reality, and opens up new paths in the world of imagination and possibility. Photos fill my life and feed my soul. I could not live without them.
When I take a photo, I focus on a single detail that catches my eye, or, perhaps notice a compelling composition as a whole. When I look at the printed photos later, or on my computer screen, I like to go through every single detail and take note of all the small things I did not fully take in when I snapped the photo. It’s like buying a book for the cover or a title you are first drawn to, and then you read it and discover the fuller content, the whole story.
In my photography, as in life, I have long been interested (since I was a child) in the people that I see. Behind every image and portrait there are lives filled with both struggle and joy. I am interested in their thoughts, their inner worlds. When I see an old lady sitting on a bench, I wonder what she might be thinking, what experiences she holds, and invite the viewers of my photographs to step into the picture and answer that question for themselves.
Another important aspect of photography, for me, is its healing power. I have discovered that taking picture has the amazing power of soothing and healing worries and discouraging thoughts. When I take my camera, and venture out for a photo walk,
I eclipse myself from reality, gradually entering a peaceful and joyful dimension. I'm totally drawn by the search fort he little details in a crescendo of pleasure.
Photography allows me a silent dialogue with every single element present in the surrounding. I pass from subject to subject just like abee, "sucking the juice" and feeling regenerated at each stop.
I took my first photograph in The Bahamas nine years ago. I never owned a real camera before, but when I visited The Bahamas for the first time, I felt compelled to buy one to capture the mesmerizing beauty of the blue water. Since that month of August 2008,
I keep going back more and more. Over the years, what started as a short vacation has transformed into a deep love for the country. Today, it is still the place where I feel most inspired to capture everyday moments of life.
Photography andTravel are closely related one to another. Travel allows me to photograph the places I love, and photography gives me the chance to better understand and connect with them.
I have always had a passion for travel, even though I’m a nervous flyer! I mostly travel alone because It's the only way I can completely open myself up to fully experience the places and the people I encounter along my way. I like to call myself a traveling photographer rather than a travel photographer. I don’t travel to take photos; on the contrary, I take photos because I travel.
I consider photography my travel companion, a treasure to feed my soul and spirit. When I take a picture, I capture an emotion that I hold for the rest of my life. Looking back at old photographs is a deeply evocative experience. I remember everything; the smell, the sounds, the ambience, and the emotions they elicited.
Both my love for The Bahamas and photographic career have been deeply influenced by my friendship with Captain Nigel Bower.
I had the good fortune to spend many weeks in the beautiful Ship Channel Cay, a small private cay in the northern end of the Exuma chain. It's in that environment that I started to photograph more and more, noticing everything around me.
I invite you to visit a site I have created with a complete photo essay of The Bahamas: www.bahamiantales.com
Work with Me
Have an upcoming project or you need some images for your Social Media? Have you seen some photos you liked it and wish to purchase a fine art print?
Don't hesitate to email me at [email protected], I'll answer to all your questions.