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Simone Donati September 7, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.

From the project “Valley of Angels”, Sicily 2010

Simone Donati (b.1977, Italy) completed a three-year course in photography at the Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence. After an internship at Magnum Photo in New York he started working in the field of documentary photography. His work focuses on the political and social situation of Italy.
 In 2011 he was shortlisted at Fotografia Festival Roma, Voices Off in Arles and at the OjodePez Award for Human Values with his project “Valley of Angels”. In 2010 he received the Ponchielli prize (3rd place) for “Welcome to Berlusconistan”. 
His photographs have been part of solo and group shows in Italy and abroad and have been published in: Le Monde Magazine, Newsweek, L’Espresso, Vanity Fair Italy, GEO Italy and Monocle among others.
 He is one of the founding members of the collective TerraProject: a collective of Italian documentary photographers.

About the Photograph:

“This is a picture from my project Valley of Angels, which I shot in Southeastern Sicily between 2010 and 2011.  The work documents the life of Angelo, Angela and their daughters Hybla, Lua and Siria. I met them in 2008, while working on a project about the oil industry. A friend introduced them to me and we spent some time in their old home. In 2010 I remembered  them, I found their contact and asked for permission to spend some time together to document their daily life. The family chose to be careful about the food they eat and the education they give their children who were all born at home. With the same convictions, they use alternative energy sources (such as wind turbines and solar panels) that allow them to live independently of a main electricity supply. They only buy and grow organic and local food.”

“I was attracted by their choice to live a natural lifestyle. I have visited them three times, each time living with them for about a week. I tried to follow my instinct with the photographs and of course I wasn’t photographing all the time. Sometimes I lent a hand with the work of the house, preparing meals, etc. I focused my photography on the family, choosing to avoid all the people who visited them. In this picture, taken during my second visit, all the family is having breakfast early in the morning. The location is an old stall which they were using as kitchen-dining room, while waiting for their new house to be ready.”

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