September is the month of the grape harvest, the time of change and also the favourite month for weddings. This was certainly clear to the newly-wed Japanese couple who contacted me to fulfil their dreams of visiting Italy for their honeymoon. It all began with an email from a Japanese girl, the bride of the aforementioned couple, who is called Akari.
Owners of an Italian restaurant, she and Yoshihiro had decided to journey to the south of the Piedmont region in order to find a good wine to introduce and offer to their customers back home. They asked me to carry out a photographic service of a whole day spent around the vineyards of the Lange, an ancient region located between the provinces of Cuneo and Asti, more precisely in the municipalities of Barolo and Alba.
As someone who loves photographing nature, I couldn’t have hoped for anything better, especially with the involvement of two young people who understand your work coming from the other side of the world. I started getting it all organised, beginning with the flights and travel arrangements, right as far as the wine cellars to be visited. The meeting was going to be in Alba, where my clients would be staying. Not even two weeks after Akari’s email, I found myself in Turin.
The following morning, with a light fog covering the whole city, I took my bags and photographic equipment and set off towards the train station. From there, I would travel to Alba, a simple yet striking town, famous for its food, in particular the truffles.
From early morning, I saw lots of people walking around the streets; there was a feeling of happiness and calm. I had just enough time to put my bags down and go to meet the young couple. I spotted them in the central square, surrounded by people congratulating them, both smiling and ready to start the day of wine tastings I had organised.
We hired a car and set off to the Ceretto wine cellars. In reality, I didn’t know the area at all but, after some research, I had chosen it because of the spaces and the photographs they presented on their website. I believe that visual communication and careful presentation are very important today. As I went in, I immediately noticed the charming space created by the first room, the one holding the wine barrels.
The light that came through the window was perfect. I didn’t stop to think too long: I asked the young couple to get into position and I started shooting. When you decide to do a service such as this one, the first rule is to make your clients feel at ease, to smile and make it clear how much you love your work.
There’s always the risk that whoever is in front of the camera will find it hard to relax. It is we, the photographers, who have to show ourselves to be totally at ease and transmit that confidence to others by means of small gestures. Make your subjects fully express their enjoyment, get them to jump in the air, invent something that makes you and them smile.
The clean shadows created by strong, mid-morning light served as a background for my various photographic interpretations. I played around with close-ups alternated with wider fields, always taking care to make the young couple the subject of the photograph.
Once we had finished in the first room, we moved on to the rooms set up for the wine tasting. This time, my background was an almost infinite view over the vineyards, surrounded by the modern and relaxing building we found ourselves in, with large windows looking over the bright, deep green.
The tastings took place in a few small, private rooms, in which we found the sommelier, who told us the history of the wine cellar and of the wines on the table before us. Following this, we moved on to the vineyards which we had looked down on from the windows earlier.
I loved the synergy and complicity between the two young people, who never stopped smiling, making every moment ideal for a photograph.
At lunch time, we travelled south to La Morra, another medieval and ancient, small town. Everything was truly harmonious and we were fortunate to enjoy the perfect temperature of a beautiful day.
We took a few pictures in the narrow streets of the town and then we carried on toward the Brezza wine cellar in Barolo. We were welcomed by the kind father and son, who didn’t hold back in offering us all of the tastings available. In front of the wine cellar, with the light slowly descending towards the horizon, we found a small vineyard, ideal for some photographs of the young couple enjoying their Italian experience.
There is a small castle on top of the tallest hill in Barolo, from which you can admire the great, long vineyards of the area. Whilst the light faded, we began our return journey, during which we stopped various times to take more pictures in other small vineyards.
On our way down a hill, I saw from far off the fog created by the water sprayed by the irrigation system, with a background of tall vines. It was the perfect place in which to photograph the young couple in scene could have been out of a film, in which the light seemed like something from a studio set but was in fact created by the day that was gently closing in.
A few other quick stop-offs and we were back in Alba, where the evening light accompanied us for our aperitif out in the open air, during which I took the last photos of the day. Situations such as these don’t happen every day; they aren’t easy to deal with. It is a challenge that is won with good organisation and people who are willing to listen. For me, it is as important to do a really professional job as it is to see your clients go away happy.
This is the fourth article I have written for Manfrotto, a company that not only creates the highest quality products and boasts excellent organisation, but has also given me an outlet for my creativity and my desire to talk about my vision and experience. I would like you to remember that photography is not just a potential job, but that it is also a way of life. Your eyes always have something to look at but they also have a story to tell.
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.