Osma _ Todasana _ Venezuela
How Photography Changed My Life.
Despite what I have captured through my lens since I shot my first photo, no matter how beautiful or terrible it is, this collection is and will forever be my flag and anchor to never forget who I am and where I come from.
Even though I was born in the capital of Venezuela, Caracas, one of the most dangerous cities in the world and raised in a nearby town, this experience I captured in Osma and Todasana, which are very small and poor towns near the Venezuelan coast, taught me things you can’t learn in School or University.
Those were really hard times for me. I was kidnapped some months before doing this trip, which forced me to quit my job and university for some months, and my house became the only place I could feel a little safe at that moment. This caused a trauma for me, paranoia wouldn’t leave me alone and made me fall apart, alienated from everything that used to be my everyday life, even my family. I didn’t trust anyone and I always felt pursued. I decided to use that lonely time to self-learn new things and find for myself what I wanted to do in my future life, and it was then when photography knocked at the door.
I had always loved photography because I completely believe in its power, in its silent and deep messages that get straight to your heart and consciousness without saying a word. Photography is a soul feeder. I loved to take pictures of everything, making people or moments last forever is just magical to me. Then I decided to take it a bit more seriously, I needed it. My brother, who was attending a photography institute, taught me how to set a camera manually. I wouldn’t go to work, I wouldn’t go to the university, but I had to go to this place.
After being months imprisoned in my own house, this place became a new beginning, became a strong reason to wake up and start doing what I liked. Its atmosphere is just incredible. I decided to take a Documentary Photography course, and it became one of the best experiences I have had so far. It was there that I met Leo Alvarez – a key individual who really influenced my view and helped me to find what I was trying hard to discover. In this course I also met Ale Cegarra, who became a really important piece of the puzzle and a role model. Even if it was a relatively short time, those two people poured enough water to make the seed grow. From this point on, my brother and I, hand to hand everywhere with our cameras, built a large strong bridge through photography to connect to each other.
At the end of this course at RMTF, we had to go to small towns and document a subject. My mind couldn’t really focus on a single subject, it was like discovering the world again, that was a crucial factor which taught me to easily develop trust between unknown individuals and myself in a completely new place. I recovered my faith in my country, I restored my faith in solidarity, I discovered that the world was more than I could ever imagine, I discovered that there are people who have nothing, apart from love.
I was able to get into their lives, into their Jobs, schools, even into their houses, simple lives, less problems – that is something I learnt from them.
I recovered feelings I hadn’t felt for a very long time.
Now that I lived in the UK, there is nothing I miss more than those places, people and experiences. I now have these memories and they will forever be alive. Photography is what I have been doing and what I will keep on doing.
This is how photography changed my life forever.
Giovanni was born in 1991 in Caracas, Venezuela. While studying Economics he discovered his passion and love for documentary photography, at the age of 22 he started his photographic career and moved to London in 2014 to continue his personal development.
Check him on insta: @giomaiele