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THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2024 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 M arco Secchi's photography workshops go b e y o n d t h e typical land- scape photography course. As a highly acclaimed photojour- nalist whose work is exclusive- ly licensed by Getty Images, his expertise is undisputed. His workshops do more than teach the technical aspects of photography, they impart the skill of truly seeing the world, transforming a simple snapshot into a deeper, more obser- vant form of art. This renewed approach to observation sharpens the focus on details and seeks to uncover the deeper meaning behind our curiosity. This philosophy in photography teaches us to look beyond the obvious, to see past mere appearances. It's an understanding that deepens our connection with and appreciation of our surroundings, helping us to recognize the true essence of why we call Italy "Belpaese." The term Belpaese, synonymous with Italy, is rich in his- torical significance. It was used by Dante Alighieri and The emotional lesson of photography: a tool for discovering Italy's beauty From the Editor Petrarch, the fathers of Italian literature, in their works: Dante refers to Italy as "del bel paese là dove 'l sì suona" in his Divine Comedy, while Petrarch describes it as "il bel paese ch'Appennin parte e 'l mar circonda et l'Alpe" in his Canzoniere. This term is not just a stereotype but a vivid depiction that captures the beauty of Italy. By looking at our surroundings with "new eyes," we can truly appreciate the beauty and depth of the landscapes that define this nation. Ironically, it is often the locals, those most familiar with their surroundings, who overlook their beauty. They are sur- prised to hear tourists and travelers extolling overlooked or unnoticed features. Conversely, foreigners may quickly notice distinct features due to their contrasting backgrounds but often lack a deeper understanding. They are enchanted by the immediate allure of a place but miss out on its other facets. In the teachings of great photographers, taking a pho- tograph is not merely capturing an image. It involves think- ing, decoding, translating, and feeling a place, going beyond a mere click on a phone. Secchi asserts, "I believe every photograph should tell a story rather than be just a beautiful image." In other words, it's about giving substance to what you see. Understanding Venice or the Venetians during a stroll, for instance, becomes a complex exercise until you realize that it's all about empathy, about mutual exchange. Only when you engage in an internal dialogue with the place can you truly see Venice and capture it through your lens. Its bridges, alleys, gondolas, romantic waterfront, churches, islets, bell towers, and canals are so beautiful and ineffable that a thou- sand photos might not suffice. But within those thousand photos, you might capture nothing more than a landscape distinct from Venice Beach or Fisherman's Wharf unless you've managed to perceive the magical soul of the lagoon. After all, what sets us apart from the artificial intelligence in our smartphones? With all the cameras and algorithms at their disposal, our smartphones could take pictures ten times better even without our intervention. But beyond the perfect shot, a photo might fail to capture the emotion of a tourist standing before the magnificence of Venice. A smart- phone, on its own, could never show what the eyes of some- one returning to Venice after years can see. That person might even see things that aren't there: people, glances, attire, distant memories, walks in a deserted St. Mark's Square while it's teeming with tourists. In reality, they're searching for memories and past sensations among the dis- tricts. As Secchi says: "Art is not just about the end product but the process – the human experience, emotion, and personal touch that go into creating a piece. The idea of AI replicating or replacing human creativity raises questions about the value and uniqueness of art. The point is, can AI truly repli- cate the depth of human emotions and the nuances of per- sonal experience, so often at the heart of art?" So, it's how we approach the world that makes the differ- ence. Thus, if we were to take that stroll in Venice with a res- ident, a local photographer, or someone who left the city to live elsewhere, we would see something entirely different from just the water lapping at the foundations of historic buildings. "While AI can mimic styles and techniques, the heart and soul of art – the human touch – is irreplaceable," says Secchi. Similarly, visiting Italy can be much more than a checklist to tick off; it all depends on the attitude with which you experience your Italian stay. It can be a journey of self- discovery, a way to challenge your own habits, or an oppor- tunity to understand the cultural heritage that an Italian- American carries with them, even when living far away. Simone Schiavinato, Editor Simone Schiavinato NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 Member of FUSIE (Federazione Unitaria Stampa Italianaall'Estero), COGITO L'Italo-Americano Please send correspondence to P.O. BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano Newspaper (a 501(c)(3) non- profit organization), www.italoamericano.org, is the largest and longest-running Italian news- paper in America, not to mention the cultural and news resource for all things Italian in the US. A bilingual newspaper which represents an historical landmark for the Italian American Communities in the West Coast and throughout the US. L'Italo-Americano benefits from subsidies by the Italian Government, Memberships and Donations intended to support and not interrupt a mission that began in 1908 to preserve and promote the Italian language and culture in the USA Periodicals postage paid at Monrovia, California 91016, and additional mailing offices. PUBLISHER Robert Barbera Grande Ufficiale EDITOR IN CHIEF Simone Schiavinato ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Patrick Abbate EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Barbara Minafra COPY EDITOR Francesca Bezzone LOS ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR Silvia Nittoli SAN FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTOR Serena Perfetto SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR Rita Cipalla CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mariella Radaelli, Matt Walker, Francesca Bezzone, Luca Ferrari, Stefano Carnevali, Paula Reynolds, Teresa Di Fresco Nicoletta Curradi, Generoso D'Agnese, Jessica S. Levy, Fabrizio Del Bimbo, Maria Gloria, Chuck Pecoraro, Anthony Di Renzo Serena Perfetto, Kenneth Scambray, Chiara D'Alessio, Luca Signorini, Giulia Franceschini © 2020 L'Italo-Americano Membership: One year $59 - Single copy $2.25 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to L'Italo Americano PO Box 6528 Altadena, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003

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