Antonio Denti has been a Reuters staff cameraman for 17 years, covering historical events in different parts of the world: from Indonesia to Turkey to the Vatican.
Instagram has become the avenue for Antonio to process his experience as a news cameraman into a personal artistic expression. His images are provoking as they serve as evidence of historical events as they unfold. Here is Antonio’s story by his words and images.
Even though I have worked on stories alongside famed photographers, journalists and documentarists, most news cameramen like me are anonymous. For example, many may know Robert Capa as the one who photographed D-day, but very few know the names of the other cameramen who documented and risked their lives to record that event.
Besides anonymity, the work of a news cameraman is like the life of a mayfly. Very quick passages in one-minute TV reports. I don’t even know if some of the stories that meant more to me, like the one on Baghdad’s mental hospital at the start of my Instagram project, were ever aired by any news channel.
When my first son started walking, this last winter, something changed. I continue to respect the job that feeds me and my family, but I wanted to give some space to the real reasons why I have chosen this field of work.
As a photographer, I study the lives of others as as a profession. The people I have photographed were the ones really affected by what was happening. In every place and situation, even though I was there, I was the least affected. What allowed me to feel that I could look at them in the eyes and keep working was not a moral motive, but a personal one.
I would try my best to get the essence of what was happening to them, the spirit behind the facts, the expression (good or bad) of the universal human condition that was happening in their lives and take it with me, to try and learn something of myself and of my life. I do not believe media coverage necessarily helps people. Sometimes it can damage them. However, I think that human affairs are important and precious, meaningful and full of sense. And if you try to catch that sense, a portion of that sense, you celebrate and respect the people whose lives you have intruded upon.
This principle, which is very important for me, has no room in news coverage as it is now, despite the great freedom and respect I have enjoyed from the agency I work for.
Instagram gave me a platform to work on it, as a laboratory for this random cameraman’s diary. Also because, when I think back of things I have seen, they usually come back as stills, not as moving pictures.
The project is entirely made by iPhone captures of my own professional photography over the years. I try to post an image every Thursday, with no definite theme or plan. Like many of my ‘experienced colleagues’ (as in aging) I have captured a lot of moments of people’s lives and this project will continue for some time… I hope.
You can find Antonio’s project on his Instagram page, where he is @antclick.
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