Success Stories

03
Annamaria Bruni

Reportage brimming with passion

Greeting to the Sun
Camera:
D800
Lens:
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

ー Tell us about your photo, "Greeting to the Sun", which won the Award for the 2016-2017 Nikon Photo Contest (NPC).

I was in Cairo, staying at my friends' house for a few days before flying back to Italy. My friends, Nadine and Navine, live with their 73-year old grandmother, Madiana. Madiana wakes up every day and starts it by going to the living room and thanking God for all she has, even before she has her breakfast. The first time I witnessed her praying, I didn't have my camera with me, but I still remember how I fell in love with this image of her at her pray-ers. It was so natural, delicate, and pure.

The next day, she prayed as usual. There was a beautiful light coming through the window that made the scene look like a painting. Her two cats were sleeping beside her enjoying the warmth of the sunlight. I quickly grabbed my camera and was finally able to take this wonderful picture.

Madiana does this every day. She gets up and gets dressed, and her first thought is to send up a prayer to God. Seeing her perform this daily ritual moved me. It was a ritual full of meaning that went beyond a single prayer and approached something larger. It was as if the sun deliberately chose to shine on her, and she was thanking the universe for what she had with a small and simple gesture.

ー Has anything changed for you since winning an NPC award?

I've had the pleasure of being able to show my works around the world. Several journalists have interviewed me, and I've been able to discuss my future photojournalistic projects. This award gave me the strength to continue my career as a photographer. This great achievement is the result of the love and dedication I have put into my work, and has given me hope in my ability to invest in my career as a photojournalist.

The thrill of owning the magnificent D5 Anniversary Edition, which is positioned at the top of Nikon's line of digital SLR cameras, goes without saying. I immediately use the prize mon-ey to plan and carry out three reportages in the Philippines. I can say that winning this very important and unexpected prize has flooded me with some of the strongest emotions I have ever experienced!

Photos are pure and sincere, and exist to be loved

ー How do you think of photos?

There is a phrase that has been with me since I started as a photographer, "Photography is like loving." What I feel for photography is pure, sincere, and true love. Through it I alienate myself from the world. I create, travel, feel, and express my best feelings.

I inherited this great passion, which began at an early age looking through National Ge-ographic magazines, from my father. My entire life has been dedicated to photography. I have sacrificed everything for it, and I continue to do so daily. When I feel lost or useless, or that everything has become so complicated and difficult, I find the strength to continue without giving up in my pictures. I am reminded of the feelings and emotions of a place and its people, and I am once again certain that as long as I am able to express my own feel-ings, I am alive.

Photography for me is silence and music, light and dark, peace and war, deliverance and imprisonment, dream and nightmare, my safety and my conviction. It is becoming one with my camera. It is love in its purest state. It is my life.

Women of the silk road
"Women of the Silk Road" is the product of a project that aims to encourage women's emancipation through the art of weaving. Ms. Bruni says of the project, "There were many hurdles to overcome with this project, from the extreme logis-tics to the reluctance of the women who did not want to be filmed while they were working." She continues, "We were only able to shoot for a few hours in these magical places, where it feels like time has stopped and the Afghan culture expresses its wonderful history."
Camera:
D800
Lens:
AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2D
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
Occupation: Refugee
I started this project in the West Bank in 2011. The goal of "Occupation: Refugee" was to capture the differences, both psychological and behavioral, between recent and long-term refugees, and to understand the different paths that sepa-rate and unite them. It is an observation and careful study of the concept of hope, which transforms the expectation of an imminent return into an eternal wait.
Camera:
D800
Lens:
AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
Camera:
D800
Lens:
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

ー Please tell us about some of your other favorite works.

One of my all-time favorites is a video project in Afghanistan made for the Vento di Terra NGO in 2014. I recorded the production of silk scarves, an industry that has helped to emancipate women. This video won third prize in the NPC 2014-2015 in the open theme, video category. My most loved project has been "Occupation: Refugee". I photographed and collected the stories of Palestinian, Gazawi, Syrian, and Afghan refugees in the Middle East for four years.
Most recently, I have been describing contrasts in developing countries like the Philippines: the complicated life of transgender people in Manila, the suffering of the child prostitutes in Olongapo, and the peace of those who share space with the dead in Manila cemeteries.

Crying Game
Every child who survives sexual abuse carries heavy emotional baggage that threatens her ability to trust others, to express their sexuality, and to forgive. Many girls, after the abuse, struggle to recognize themselves as worthy of a bet-ter life, which leads them back to the sex trade, and alcohol and drug abuse to numb the pain.
Camera:
D800
Lens:
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
Dead Living – Manila
In the cemeteries of Manila, the living mingle with the dead in order to survive the misery. Many tombs are pierced, emptied, and used as shelter at night. The Manila North Cemetery houses over 1 million of the dead, as well as thou-sands of the living—mostly the city's poorest.
Camera:
D800
The Golden Gays
About this story, Ms. Bruni says, "It is not easy to be accepted as a gay, lesbian, or transgender person in an extremely Catholic country like the Philippines."
For these elderly people who cannot count on their families’ support, and end up marginalized, performing is a source of joy, a unique way to feel united and happy; but it also turns into a chance to receive groceries, and donations to deal with everyday life.
Camera:
D800
Lens:
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

ー Is there anything you would like to say to, or ask of, Nikon, which has just celebrated its 100th anniversary?

I've always had a Nikon camera, even when I was young. I've always traveled with one hand on my camera. It now feels like a part of myself that I could not do without.

I would like Nikon to devote more space to young photographers, especially when they photograph and report on social issues. Nikon should give voice to those who attempt to honestly and sincerely describe the world's most tragic events, giving food for thought for photography enthusiasts the world over.

As I said before, "Greeting to the Sun" is a special tribute to Egypt, but it is also a special tribute to Nikon. After 20 years of shooting, a fair number of cameras used, a tremendous amount of pictures taken, and an incredible amount of effort, I can think of no better way to celebrate Nikon's 100th anniversary!

Teatro Kopo Roma, a theater in Rome, celebrated Ms. Bruni's NPC award with an exhibition of her work in October of last year. Ms. Bruni's winning work, "Greeting to the Sun", as well as her other works, were displayed in a very homey space.
Photos courtesy of Teatro Kopo Roma (www.teatrokopo.it)

ー Finally, do you have advice for your followers who may be considering participation in future NPCs?

Every picture can be seen and interpreted in a variety of ways. Often what initially strikes us about a photograph is the moment captured, the light unveiled, or an unexpected detail. We use our imagination to give new and different meaning to an event. I believe photogra-phers need to focus more on this and less on editing. A great photograph is not always one of a spectacular and astounding thing. Often it is of something that makes us think very simply. What really matters are a quick eye that sees potential, hands that are ready to shoot, and most of all, a heart that is open to feeling.

Nikon cameras and lenses currently used by Ms. Annamaria Bruni
Cameras:
D800
D5 100th Anniversary Edition
Lenses:
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED

Annamaria Bruni

Annamaria Bruni developed a strong interest in images from an early age, thanks to her father's passion for photography. She took her first steps in the field in Sardinia, working as a photographer's assistant. She then attended a course in fashion photography in Milan. She lived in London from 2000 to 2003, working with various modeling agencies. During this period she specialized in female portraits, which has remained her great passion to this day. In 2004 she traveled to Egypt and was bewitched by the Middle East. Since then, she has traveled to the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Thailand, collaborating with various NGOs.

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