Andrea Cittadini and The Marriage of Past and Present
Living on the southern Tuscan border means that the ancient woodlands and waters of deepest Umbria are within easy reach. The untamed beauty of this area is a source of endless fascination for me. It is also home to interesting and talented artists and since 2002 I’ve had occasion to collaborate with professionals who live in this incredible region and whose work continues to elicit my admiration.
Today my husband and I have the rare opportunity to enjoy lunch with Andrea Cittadini and his incredible wife and muse Tiziana. She is an invaluable partner in all things and Andrea admitted that without her tireless enthusiasm and practical help he would burn out from exhaustion.
Over a delicious pizza made inside a wood burning oven we talk about the importance of supporting our partners and the familial sacrifice required when long distance travel is necessary to recount stories created by others.
I have always loved a good story and whilst I craft the written word to capture those I have researched, Andrea uses digital technology to marry past and present.
I ask Andrea to recount the beginning of his love story with photography. In 2003 he had the opportunity to work as a second shooter for a local photographer and used the opportunity to learn his craft on the hoof. He learned quickly and discovered new possibilities to capture the emotional texture of every day human experience but of weddings in particular.
Andrea is the kind of person who talks with honesty and humility. There is no ‘rock star’ pretension or arrogance in the way he expresses his perception and passion for his art. He knows what he loves and doesn’t.
“I encourage subjects to avoid posing in front of the camera. The way couples look deeply into one another’s eyes, hold each other tenderly in their arms and communicate their love in non verbal form is the essence of who they are to each other.. and it is this that I want to share.. I want them to relax and be natural so that my lens can record their emotions.”
Andrea was soon irresistibly attracted to wedding photography as a genre and gripped by the desire to define a style all of his own.
“When you spend many hours continuously with a couple photographing their wedding the emotional vibe is infectious. A photograph is timeless evidence of how the subject felt on the day, not only how they were dressed. An image captured just at the right moment evokes emotion in the form of visual poetry composed with light and soul. A photograph which speaks to the heart makes it beat so much faster..’
I compliment Andrea on his poetic description. I reflect upon how a truly great artist cares passionately about the people and things he photographs. A passionate curiosity and appreciation of the human condition is essential if you wish to compose or capture on camera. Writing and photography has a lot of common I tell him. He smiles and nods in agreement and we order more wine.
“If I don’t feel thrilled by an image I’ve taken personally then no one else is going to be either. Seeing is not only the function of the eyes and the mind, you have to experience the emotional sentiment of the image within.”
Andrea has been learning new techniques to preserve images of antiquity by means of digital processing. He uses ever evolving technology to dive into history and bring its beauty back to life. Local characters, ancient buildings and natural landscapes all inspire his imagination.
“The techniques I’m working on provide a new and exciting opportunity to pay homage to ancient photographic styles. Of course photographs of the past were necessarily static because photographing movement was impossible. Modern digitalisation makes it possible to print the poetry of movement.. a couple in love running romantically, hand in hand through a sunny meadow or a child skipping in tune to the beat of a nursery rhyme… “
Andrea is currently writing an article to shed light upon his discoveries. Meantime he is busy uploading examples on Instagram. He shows me a few and I am transported to a bygone age when fishermen punctuated the small towns surrounding Lake Trasimeno and churches and castles were not merely historical buildings to be visited by tourists.
He has another growing interest too, inspired no doubt by the two British bulldogs that share the family home. As Tiziana talks about them it’s clear their dogs mean everything. I want to suggest they should be called Winston and Churchill but don’t. Their names are Bacon and Giasone and both are often protagonists in Andrea’s work.
“In the future I’d like to branch out into Pet Portraiture to create artistic images of our four legged friends, developing images using antique printing know how.”
Tiziana and Andrea have to get back to feed their beloved bulldogs and so we say goodbye, feeling much warmer and more cheerful than before.. the transformative properties of good wine, great pizza and stimulating conversation work wonders in Winter.
The snow capped mountains gleam in the distance as we part company. The sky is strangely cloudless and an orange tinted glow casts its brilliance over the land we all love.
We tell each other how enjoyable it has been to exchange ideas and stories before yet another hectic wedding season is upon us involving further travels to immortalise the magic that occurs when two unique souls connect and are framed for all time.