Driven by his anthropological studies at University of Naples, Antonio Busiello has made a career out of observing the world through his camera. Currently based out of London, Busiello has been around the world and back. Spending a good portion of a decade in the Caribbean, Central America, and of course his home of Italy, he has built a body of work that gives a visceral look at the cultures and customs that occur all around us. Charlie Rubin took a moment to pick his brain about some of his work and travels.
Interview by Charlie Rubin
Tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now?
I was born in Italy, in small town near Naples and during my childhood I discovered Photography. My father was passionated about photography and sometimes I use to take his old Rolleiflex and take pictures of Mount Vesuvius. In my early 20s I studied anthropology at the University of Naples.
After University I decided to travel the world. I first went to the Caribbean, Honduras where I lived for 5 years. from there I traveled all of Central America. At the age of 30 I moved to Los Angeles where I lived for many years. I am an American citizen now. With California as home base I kept traveling the world with my camera. Last year I moved, and currently live in London.
What makes a good picture?
Above all, dedication. Followed by attention for details, patience and little luck. A good picture is the expression of yourself in that moment, therefore a photographer must have willpower and desire to see beyond and should know how to observe and wait for the right image.
How did you first hear about the Cullatori? What is their relationship to you?
Back in the 80’s my father took me to Nola (a town near Naples) to see “La festa dei Gigli” ( Festival of Lilies). I was absolutely fascinated by their dedication. I could not believe kids as my age could hold such a heavy “Giglio” driven by their religion devotion to Saint Paulino.
A couple of years ago I was delighted to attend one of their demonstration and I decided to present them to the world. I thought, the world should know about this religious show of faith, and I initiate a story on the “Cullatori.”
How would you say the Cullatori project relates to some of your other work like the under water scenes or images of the Dubai landscapes? Or is it an independent series?
I’m a documentary fine art photographer. I travel and photograph what I see, what interest me and what I find beautiful even in its own way.
Firstly, I would like to point out I love the Sea and the Ocean, therefore combined with my photography I worked on several underwater stories (see Bluefin Tuna, sharks, lionfish invasion, The Channel Island and etc,,)
Secondly, my anthropology studies are driving me towards human subjects, consequently I am motivated by societies and cultures (see The camp of Shame, Dubai landscapes, the Cullatori, Pride from Atacama, guatemala markets etc..).
My photography series are all connected by feelings and emotions, it`s about the link between the nature and humanity. A relation we are disregarding nowadays. It`s about the spiritual and instinctive qualities that until now have ensured our lives. Humanity and nature are not separate. This is the message I am giving. It`s a path that allows me to work on a long photographic research. A direction towards humanity’s rediscovery of itself in nature.
What photographers do you consider your contemporaries? Who’s work do you relate to or look at a lot?
Hard to mention a name however, Sebastião Salgado is definitely someone who inspires me, and above all his projects Genesis is the one which encourages me. He introduces his journey to the untouched corners of the planet. He expresses our relationship with nature that has broken down. His project is an attempt to reconnect our species with our planet. It`s a perfect mixture between nature and anthropology photographic work.
How did you get in to photography? What was your first camera and how did you obtain it?
My father was passionated about photography and when I was a kid I use to take his old Rolleiflex, I was fascinating by the reflection of the world into the viewfinder.
My first camera was a Fujica STX1. I bought it used in a second hand market shop. It wasn’t in very good shape, regardless I was 16 and I had used all my savings to purchase it.
What’s some your favorite movies and music from 2013?
My favorite movie from 2013 is “12 years a Slave”. My favorite movie is “One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest”. My favorite music is Blues, Opera and Flamenco and I play classic guitar.
What’s the last interesting thing you read?
Narcissus and Goldmund
What are you working on now? What’s next?
I am going to travel around the south-east of Asia.
I would like to focus on a photographic journey about the re-connection between the essence of life and mankind. The project will start with the “Red Karen Tribe” (known as the long neck tribe). It`s about the expression of beauty seen from different part of the world and how humanity and nature can still coexist.
Well that’s all for today. Thanks for talking with me Antonio. Keep up the good work and safe travels!
See more of Antonio Busiello’s work at his website.