In the past few years, through my journey through photography and my course of study, I have come to the conclusion that one of the best places in which you can travel in your lifetime is your own homeland. The fundamental thing to making this journey a success is the ability to observe every place, the simplest and most ordinary things, with new eyes, with the desire to discover those little hidden details. This is the thing that, when transferred to a photograph, ensures that the image speaks for itself.
I am fortunate enough to have been born in Sardinia, a land that has so many stories to tell but one that, despite all this, we are used to seeing only in photos that describe it as a summer landscape filled with beaches and tourists. The clear blue sea and the sunsets we love to admire are every bit as wonderful as other panoramic views all around the world; but sometimes it is difficult to appreciate that which you have there in front of your eyes every day.
For a few years now, I have been working on a project that tells the story of my island’s coastlines in photos. I am trying to create a series of images that don’t just talk about the sea, but also about a landscape in which I highlight the details by studying the transformations that the place may have undergone over time, taking advantage of some of the concepts I have learned during my studies in Architecture. My camera is a tool that helps me to record what I see with my eyes and to identify the places I visit.
It is always useful to create a catalogue system using folders on your computer, but it’s not enough; you need to locate and be able to recognize the places you have visited. For this reason, I always use a map; recording the places in which I take pictures will be useful when I go back to visit the same place, in order to see the changes in the land.
This sort of photography involves images in which the subject is the landscape; in certain cases, it’s easy to create wonderful images, but it is important to choose the right shot.
One useful tip is to stand still and look, in an attempt to create the photograph with your own eyes before picking up the camera. As a second point, you must never be in a hurry; instead, let the landscape help you to find that important moment that is worth the wait.
Every traveller’s bag should contain the following items: a bag, a camera, a wideangle lens, a tripod and a few filters (for example, an ND to create long exposures during the day and a polarizing filter to enhance the scene saturation). If you intend to take photos of animals and vegetation, then you should also throw in a zoom lens and a macro lens.
The next step is to choose the position from which to take the photo. I often use a human eye-level perspective to show natural proportions.
My tripod has become my favourite travelling companion, with whom I carry out slow observation of the scene; at the same time, I try to keep in mind and apply a few tricks that I find essential. Amongst these, is a straight horizon, which you can choose to set half way up the frame, at one-thirds or at two-thirds, whether you are shooting horizontally or vertically.
From a technical point of view, if you want the whole image to be in focus, you have to set the aperture between f/11 and f/16, no more and no less. F/11 because, if you go any lower, it could cause one area close to the camera to stay in focus and the rest of the scene is ignored, and f/16 because any higher can cause diffraction problems and you end up with a less clear image.
What I love to read in my photographs is a description of the place, the atmosphere it creates and the feelings it arouses in me, by highlighting the architectural substance that may be the movement of a wave or a rock of a particular shape. These are the most precious things that I like to take home every time I travel around my island.
A while ago, I began taking photos under water. What I particularly look for is the centre line that divides my vision of the sea and the land, that can be seen from another place.
Whether you wish to share your travels via social networks or blog, or to archive the material to create your own personal story, it is important that you find your own style and your own way of seeing and photographing things. Photography in itself is already a story; it’s up to us to interpret it and know how to narrate it.
There is an abundance of material available for learning about photography; we live in a digital age in which everything is within our reach: We have the power to make our work matter that ten years ago didn’t exist; today, we can meet others and make ourselves known for that which we create and for what we wish to convey.
It is right to study and appreciate the work of others, but the true discovery and the true challenge is learning to use your own eyes, because every look sees and hears something different, even and perhaps above all through the lens of a camera.
Photography can tell your story; I have tried to tell you mine and to explain why it is that I love this island and photography itself. If you’re just getting started, don’t despair, there are lots of things to learn; indeed, they are probably infinite for anyone who never tires of exploring and discovering something new.
Cédric Dasesson is a professional photographer whose studies in architecture caused him to rediscover his love for his homeland. This led him to engage in a long journey through the field of abstract and architectural photography of landscapes, especially on water or at sea, and to tell stories made up of simple elements.
His main publishing channel is Instagram, by means of which he works with various internationally recognized magazines and brands.