Roberto has been converting the world into pictures since his very first childhood, when he starts using a camera as a personal alternative to play. Was it a present? Who knows, he can't even remember and, to be honest, where it comes from is not that important, after all. It's a Yashica and Roberto is 8 years old. It is unconditional love since the very beginning, it's a kind of a magic to the eyes of a boy: he can capture time and fix it for ever, can catch flashes of life every time he is inspired, he can draw the stream of existence only using the light.
And light, in Africa, is something that Roberto has seen, and experienced and shot so many times, day after day, while growing up: red light, summer sunsets, scented vital earth swallowing the huge burning sun, trembling air disappearing into a coloured, dusty mirage; white light, flickering light on the wings of a thousand big butterflies chased by the children playing, in the long afternoons of Yaoundé; backlight, stretched long male silhouettes, tall, proud warriors never forgetting they have been and still are the Maasai; green light, fake light, neon light in the oppressive, stuff dirty emporium of no matter which dusty base camp, postcards to send over to Italy for a hurried, empty, short message, just news about relatives from far Cameroun.
At times light goes together with darkness, often lights are in couple with shades. And Roberto has captured obscurity, he has shot human dimness as well.
Sometimes passions become a profession, others life brings us just somewhere else. At the age of 18 he is a pilot, for a while, he looks other where. Now he flies, his eyes into the horizon, he can see the world from above, he can witness unusual perspectives till one day he decides to land back.
Now his life are his daughters. And photography; but a special photography indeed. The one that describes not invading, the one that leaves traces not cracks, the one that tells stories not shouting, the one that gives voice to the oppressed. Photography as a new social vehicle to promote and instil real change. A photography that's not giving answers, but is a way for interrogating ourselves; a photography that's not destination but is there to guide us in our quest. Roberto is for sure not the first one, not alone, and who cares whether he's or is not the best. But for sure he's the only one who can give us his honest, deep, so delicate glance. And whatever the subject, the context, from commercial portrait to the coverage of no matter which insane, brutal bloodshed, Roberto always goes to the soul, to disclose the sincerest humanity that through the poetry of his pictures is revealed and preserved.
Courtesy of a friend