10 minutes with Jean-Marc Caimi

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

I have been taking pictures from a very young age, thanks to my father who has always been a passionate and good family photographer. But it was when I was on my twenties that I realized that taking pictures was a great help for me, being shy. The camera was an excuse to get in contact with other people. It was like that I finally was able to find my place. I was a photographer and I was allowed of a “intimacy bonus” with the human being.

"2000 Muslim people work and live here. Many very young kids are forced to earn a living collecting metal from broken computers." From the series Agbogbloshie - Jean-Marc Caimi

From the series Alessandria - Jean- Marc Caimi

"Mose. The priest of the train station chapel. He has been a missionary in Congo during the civil war" - from the series Alessandria - Jean-Marc Caimi

"Local workers hired by Chinese, they earn a dollar per day and they risk their life in the pits." From the series Gold Mining - Jean-Marc Caimi

From the series Gold Mining - Jean-Marc Caimi


You have traveled a lot for work, what was the best trip you have taken, and was there one that was harder than most?

I did a work about a hermit recently. He lives in a cave, near Tivoli. It’s a place not far from Rome, where I live, now. I did this work together with my seven year’s old son, who was there, interacting with this incredible man, who brought us in the secret places of the woods. It was the first time that I worked and my son was there. To me it was the best trip I had for work, ever.
The hardest, is not the most physically demanding for me. It’s the one that puts you in contact with human struggles and pain. I had to face several of these situation, In Yemen with the refugees from Somalia, in South Africa, with the children, border hoppers who excape a collapsing Zimbabwe, In Ghana, where I saw 5 years’ children working as slaves.


"Mario Durmini, a former book binder, took the degrowth concept seriously. Unable to find work he decided to live in a cavern, in the bushes near Tivoli, Italy. He does small jobs in the nearby village, like cleaning or gardening. He says he can live easily on 100 Euros per month, to buy food and small basic survival tools. The cavern (one of many in the valley of San Vittorino) was built at the end of 1800 by local peasants to store cereals. He survives with no electricity and no running water (he uses the nearby stream for washing). He became a human rights activist and fights for the convicted and women. He writes paper panels with statements against the Roman Church, the Pope and the prison system, and displays them in the main tourist spots of Rome. He has a strong personal spirituality and claims to be inspired by a God, somehow. The small shack just outside the cavern serves as a kitchen and utility room." From the series The Hermit - Jean-Marc Caimi

"Mario Durmini is absolutely vegetarian. Chickens are only for company" .From the series The Hermit - Jean-Marc Caimi

"Civil war pushed 800,000 Somaly to excape in Yemen since '91" From the series Refugees - Jean-Marc Caimi

From the series Refugees - Jean-Marc Caimi


Who were some of the first photographers that inspired you?

I was in love with black and white and photojournalism when I was very young. So of course Bresson was my first inspiration. I respect and admire Italian photographers as Paolo Pellegrin and Alex Majoli who found a unique personal style. I am recently exploring documentary portraiture and I love the work of August Sander. And of some modern talented photographer as Alec Soth, who are so different from me and for this reason so fascinating. Some year’s ago I have been impressed by the use of the light of Trent Parke and his talented wife, Narelle Autio, I never saw anything like this before.


"Modern social housing in the perfifery of Rome" From the series Urban Tiles - Jean-Marc Caimi

From the series Urban Tiles - Jean-Marc Caimi

From the series Climate Issue - Jean-Marc Caimi

From the series Climate Issue - Jean-Marc Caimi


If you could go back ten years and give yourself advice, what would it be?

To be more brave.

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?

Be brave. Find your voice, unique, personal, and work it hard. Be patient in the process, it’ll take time. Don’t mess with technical issues that have been invented to sell more gear, not to be a better photographer. When traveling for work it’s essential to find the good balance between the first glimpse, the freshness of ingenuity, and the complete involvement in the situation, with no fear of the diversity. We are observers, but we must be within the flowing of reality to capture the truth, the mystery, the incompleteness of life. No lifesavers. Just your camera.


(See more of Jean-Marc’s work, here)

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