ENRICO VERONESE: EYE OF A PHOTOGRAPHER, HAND OF A GUIDE.
How did you first get into the mountains?
“When I was a kid I only did simple walks. I got started in the mountains thanks to my parents, who used to take me to explore our beloved Dolomites at the weekends. It was love at first sight; I was immediately drawn by the beauty of those multi-coloured and almost vertical peaks - simply fascinating. At 13 I took my first trip to Monte Rosa. The goal was the Capanna Regina Margherita, but on that occasion, we didn’t make it to the summit. However, my utter love for the mountains definitely began there. A few years later, I came across some carabiners and quickdraws in the cellar, which my dad had used for some kind of course: curious, I got an old book and looked them up. I discovered the existence of sport climbing and threw myself headfirst. Then it was just a case of finding the right balance between climbing and mountaineering, and ultimately preparing to train as a guide.”
Meanwhile, you also found time to get your hands on a camera and find out how it worked…
“My passion for photography came about somewhat by accident. I’ve never been a tech enthusiast; using electronic instruments has always seemed a waste of time to me. Messing around with some old friends, I started making films and immortalising our excursions; I got the hang of it and fell in love with photography.
From the outset, I tried to bring my passion for photography and video to the mountains. I was particularly fascinated by the light because everything I filter through my camera lens is made visible simply by light. What I try and do - or rather, tried, because these days I have less time - is to photograph the mountains in the most fleeting, cold and tricky light conditions, but perhaps the most beautiful and moving: dawn and sunset.”
Photographer and guide. Two different guises in the same environment. Do you often have to choose which to be, or are the two roles compatible?
“For the moment I haven’t found it difficult; they’re two passions that go hand in hand. Occasionally I notice that clients choose to come with me partly so I can record their adventure. When that happens, as I focus and shoot, I know my dream has come true: I’m a photographer-guide.”
So do you only photograph the mountains?
“I love taking photos in other places too. I’m infatuated with the sea, especially the ocean: I look at it and see infinity, eternity. When I see the sun going down and disappearing over the horizon, the feeling is indescribable. I also love taking action photos, especially in the world of climbing. I have the opportunity to see up close, but also from the outside, the effort made by the climber during the ascent.”
Which is the most beautiful photo you’ve taken, or would like to take?
“The most beautiful photo… I think I still have to take it! It will probably be my last one, because when I feel completely satisfied with a shot, that may be the moment to give up photography. For now, there are lots of photos I’m fond of, which give me pleasure and, above all, are linked with wonderful memories. But I haven’t taken the perfect photo yet, and I don’t think it exists.
I don’t even think about specific photos I’d like to take; it would only create an image in my head and needless expectations. It would mean I’d already seen it somewhere, so it would only be a copy, not my own creation. The art of photography has taught me not to seek a specific shot; when I’ve tried it I’ve always been disappointed. For me, the important thing is to get carried away and be amazed by what I can see with my own eyes. The best photos are often the ones I thought I’d have to delete.”
What does the future hold for you?
“My future? I see it as similar to the present, but with a few more wrinkles.”