Federico Veronesi Photographer

"I photograph wild animals simply because I love them, and I love the places where they live. I dedicated most of my adult life to watch them, wait for them, look for them, photograph them. And I love the feeling of being surrounded only by nature, wild endless spaces. No human traces, no houses, no roofs, no artificial noises, no lights at night. Africa in particular, a passion that I have had since early childhood and has accompanied me through the years of my studies in Italy. Until at 26 years of age I decided to move to Kenya. First in Nairobi, then full time in the Masai Mara, in a tent on the banks of the Talek river. Every day on an old Land Cruiser, following tracks, listening for alarm calls, returning to camp at nightfall, driving with the headlights cutting through the dark after waiting for the Leopard’s awakening, or the end of the Lions’ hunt. So many encounters, stories, images. The most intense memories are probably the days with the Caracals, the time spent with the Amboseli Elephants, the story of the Leopardess Olive with her cubs in the Mara. And at night in camp watching the images. Contrasting feelings. At times they look wonderful, the next day disappointment prevails. Then after a few years a forgotten image surfaces, a forgotten moment returns to life.

I like photographing both in black and white and color. Lately I prefer black and white. But I wouldn’t be able to choose one style over the other. Even shooting color I am always looking for contrast, shapes, textures, atmosphere. At the beginning, I was so eager to tell stories of extraordinary interactions and behaviors, encounters between different species, chases, hunts. Then I realized that these images are not necessarily the ones that give me the strongest feelings. It’s the ones where light, subject, scenery, atmosphere, clouds, blend into a perfect painting that is evocative, intimate, dramatic, mysterious. Some of these moments just happen by chance. You just end up in the middle of them without even wanting it. Others have to be foreseen, waited or searched for. And when the vision materializes into reality in front of your eyes, the emotions are so powerful. The desire to capture the image becomes an uncontrollable instinct. Looking at the finished print is the continuation of that moment and that feeling so intense into the eternity.

None of my images has been taken with the help of baits and all the animals are totally free and behaving naturally. I can’t stand photography at all costs, obsessively chasing scared animals, rushing to get close to them. I like to wait for them from afar, I want them to come to me.

Of all these images, some have ended up in books, calendars, magazines, postcards. I was particularly happy when the Caracals’ images were featured in the BBC Wildlife magazine in 2010, or when the “Buffalo fighting” image won the Grand prize at the Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Award in 2011. My first book, Light and Dust, has been released in 2015."