JUST A LIFE
Iwas born on Sept 28th 1945 in an old house facing a campiello in Cannaregio, Venice Italy. It was a nice period for a child, the world war was over and the small popular venetian world had not yet started to change. Venice at that time was in miserable conditions, most historical buildings were in ruin, no job, no money.
All people were poor, starving; many migrated. The town was close to the total annihilation started in 1797 by Napoleon who destroyed, robbed everything. In a deserted town I spent my infancy. I was used to go jumping on the boats moored along the canals, rowing my father”s “sandolo” in a silent lagoon, hunting for crabs. The slow afternoons passed by and I was staring at shadows drawing reliefs on the facades of the ancient, spoiled palaces of a forgotten, abandoned Venice, or trying to catch lizards in the high wild grass of an abandoned XIV century cloister at Madonna dell’Orto, Cannaregio. In a way, a happy, simple thread of days, and months, and years. I was just seven when my father -a manager- moved to Feltre, a nice mountain town. They were years of hiking along woods, rocks, snowy peaks; squirrels and frogs as friends; a couple pals to waste time together, mostly skiing, in winter, cycling in summer. And walking alone in the lonely chestnut woods uphill in the moonlight,
sometimes even in winter, in the snow. At home I read a lot, I studied hard and got soon and brilliantly my high school degree. Two uncles of mine were Air Force officers, so, at the end of my 17ies, I went to the Italian Air Force Academy to become a pilot. Some time later (there I studied also to get an engineer university degree) I realized it was true military life, not only flying. So I gave up and went away.
Rudder to 180° and I got a Ph. D. in Oriental Languages, namely Arabic, Hebrew and Persian (it was 1969) at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. My thesis”s title? “Sharif ar-Radi, elegy in death of Ibn Ishaq Ibn Hilal as-Sabi”, a Baghdad arab poet of the XI century.
Soon I became a middle/high school English teacher, and started writing as a journalist.
In a few years I signed for international magazines and Italian newspapers on art criticism and cultural matters. I wanted to start a university teaching career, but my Faculty didn’t hire, so my Arabic professor, a kind, old italian lady, Maria Nallino, told me to try to be “Italian lecturer” at some Italian Culture Center in some Near East country and, in the meantime, enhance my Arabic skill and knowledge at an Arabian university.
I followed her advice and succeeded. The country was Lebanon and the city was the lovely (then) Beirut. But the wage was little. So I tried to be hired by some italian company with a bureau down there. I succeded again. I started to work for Adriatica di Navigazione, a venetian maritime company.
You say destiny: six months later the Beirut bureau was closed and I was chained to a desk in
Venice working on managing matters, light-years far from my interests. I could stand it for 4 years: the only real good thing was that I had the opportunity to rove all the Mediterranean throughout: Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt. In 1975, I resigned my job, and decided to be a journalist. But I found nothing: sure you could write and collaborate, but not even a cent.
So I bought three Hasselblads, four Nikon, a Leica, a Linhof 4″ x 5″ and a lot of lenses and turned my hobby into my job. And my life changed.
I was around for years taking photographs for some very important European publishers as a free lance author. For a while I was also in the fashion field. I earned a lot but, at the end, it became a routine work.
After some millions shots, I was tired. Always in the run, never sleep, spend a gypsy life, no home, no time for myself, no roots anywhere, no friends. Thus I stopped and became a designer in press graphics.
I continued with photos but only for my own pleasure. My works -since then- often include texts, photos and graphics of mine.
A successful brochure and some acclaimed official posters for the Venice Tourist Bureau were mine. In 1978 I was asked – strange but true- to become a professional journalist by a local newspaper. I didn’t like it that much, but to me it looked like the end of a gypsy life.
I accepted and two years later I became a professional. In 1979 I bought a small English keyboard with some circuits below: you had to write some lines of text and a tv set showed something happened. They called it “computer”. In 1981 I had my first modem (300 baud) and an IBM PC: then an XT, 286, Amiga, Apple, 386, 486, Macintosh, Pentium, Sparc. And so on. So, I was a desk editor who, in spare time, wrote of computers, art- history – philosophy critics, architecture and boats. In 1985 I started my multimedia experience. I produced several computer and traditional multimedia programs (slides with syncro audio) in the touristic, artistic, historical, teaching and general culture fields. All this, while I produced many traditional photo books (I had the reputation to be a good photographer), art guides, tourist guides.I’m in the Internet since June 1993 and I collaborated with a couple of university staffs (Ca’ Foscari and IUAV, the Venice Architecture university) on “new media and digital communication” matters. My rusty English was far better long ago: I was English teacher, Italian-English interpreter and translator. It was the era of “Venice in peril” … (in 1966 there was a tremendous flood here), do you remember? And I was there, on the international stage, a slim, young and good looking young free lance amidst important people, all around my beloved friend, Peggy Guggenheim. A bit later I was a grumbling senior editor who discovered in the new media ground a second youth. In 1995 I’ve been given the Smau Journalistic Award (Milan’s Smau is the third most important IT fair in the world).