Andrea Buonopane isn’t a professional photographer. Not yet. He started out with a cheap camera, just snapping photos around his hometown. Like a lot of people. Then, as time went by, and he started venturing overseas, Andrea upgraded his equipment and began getting serious. “I started to travel and ever since that moment my camera and I have become one thing,” he explains. “Travel and photography has made me look at everything in the world a different way and my passion for both has really become a deep love.” Lost & Found spoke to Andrea about church bells, toy animals and finding your passion.
Tell us about where you live?
I grew up in a small town called Robecco sul Naviglio, not far from the city of Milan, in the north of Italy. It’s a place of farmers, small shops, local products and centuries of traditions. It’s also where everyone knows everyone.
What are your favourite sounds?
It’s been almost three years since I’ve felt the vibrations of a church bell. I don’t believe in religion anymore, but that sound echoing in the valleys and through the streets of every village in Italy is magic.
What’s a book that’s moved you?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it – this is the core theme of the book and I believe this happens.
What’s heaven for you?
I’m still waiting for this answer. Does it really exist? Or is it something that we can see everyday, but we don’t realise? It’s wrong to believe that one day we can reach that place. We must be reaching for it every day, looking for it in every person we meet, every place we go or thing we do. I’ve seen heaven many times in my life.
What’s the most remarkable site you’ve seen in your life?
I’d say Vietnam or better Paradise Cave in the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park. It’s 31km of limestone formations, stalactites and stalagmites. At one point, I was alone, with no noises, just the silence of this stunning creation. The shapes, colors and shades of a world would remain hidden and pristine in its beauty without artificial lights.
I don’t believe in religion, but the sound of church bells echoing through the streets of every village in Italy is magic.
What’s right with the world?
The animals, plant life and all the elements that form this puzzle called Earth are the main lights that keep glimmering. Everything is right with them and for them I give all my respect.
What do you like most about your photography?
Sometimes I wonder why I waste time taking and editing photos instead of enjoying the moment. But when I look back at my work I’m happy to know I can share these memories with people and they remain eternal.
What’s something that gives you anxiety?
Wasting my time doing something useless and losing time with my family and friends who I grew up with.
Do you have a favourite souvenir from your adventures?
A tiny stuffed toy my friends gave me before I left Italy and I always carry it with me – a wolf with a red scarf in memory of the cartoon Balto. It’s a long story.
When was the last time you cried or yelled at someone?
When I received a call from my brother telling me that our grandfather passed away. I kissed him the morning I left home for my trip, conscious it was probably the last time I’d see him. I’ve never cried so long and so loud in my life.