Timeless Baja is proud to present a new collaboration with Andrea Izzotti, first a friend and also an internationally renowned photographer, with whom the important Travel Photography project will start.
My name is Andrea Izzotti and I am a freelancer born in 1968 in Genoa, the city I call home. Since I was a little boy, I was always passionate about the world of photography and just in the last ten years, I have associated this passion with those of travel and nature.
I have visited some of the most remote places on the planet, always looking for “fragments of reality” that can be captured. For me, traveling and photographing means capturing one’s emotion and returning it to those who will look at my images.
As my journey takes place and continues to advance, sometimes far from the track I had imagined, my photography is often the result of sudden intuition: little preparation and instant realization.
“Nature is the best and most humble artist, it’s up to us to try to collect the infinite diversity of his proposals.”
Emotion /əˈmōSH(ə)n/ :
Affective and momentary psychic state consisting of the opposite reaction of the organism to perceptions or representations that disturb its balance; sudden and severe disturbance caused by emotion or apprehension.
“It took him a little time to recover from the emotion”
Risky and exciting adventure: “Go hunting for emotions”
I arrived to La Paz, Baja California Sur in October 2013 to dive with the sea lions. Time turned out to be an enemy and the rough sea did not allow me to understand its great magic. I stayed for about a week at the hotel, because I was told that “there is nothing but sea lions in Baja California”. Disappointed, I returned to Italy like my fellow travelers who refused to recommend the destination to their friends. But something inside me was pushing in the opposite direction, so I returned the following year. This time, I really began to discover the wonders of the Sea of Cortez. Beautiful dives with playful sea-pups and making my own explorations of the city of
La Paz. In February 2015, I organized a photography project with models, made difficult by the low temperatures of the water and in October 2015, I again flew over the Atlantic from Italy to reach the Pacific coast with goals to improve my underwater shots.
Adriano Ceccarelli was introduced to some Italians who made the city of La Paz and Baja California their life; this was when I met Adriano. Something was immediately triggered with our various travel experiences. When I told Adriano “yes, but there is nothing outside of La Paz”, he responded by taking me the next day to see the desert and the area that in less than an hour can be reached North of the city by car: a pristine place.
I, who had traveled a lot in places considered amongst the most remote on the planet, had never seen such beauty before. The more I travel, the more I am looking for unique places, places where man has not yet scattered his fearsome tentacles of progress and destruction.
I have seen the backdrops of Malaysian Borneo with corals destroyed by fishermen’s dynamite, I have seen garbage and plastic burn at the Gili Islands in Indonesia, I have seen sea turtle eggs disappear in Lombok, predated by fishermen who sell them for 1 cent per unit; I have seen so many places that should be paradisiacal. I have experienced so many disappointments in places that I considered unique, but unique were they no longer.
When I arrived here, less than an hour’s drive from the city, my heart sank. I knew immediately that I was screwed.
The huge cacti, which had been motionless for hundreds of years, seemed to reach out into the car at night to protect a sacred place.
The magic of these places had captured me in an instant.
Speaking with so many people I began to meet, I found within myself “my true self” and I found the freedom to talk without schemes to think about, but rather to say what I want. I began to understand and appreciate the greatness of these Mexican people.
I was told that there are whales in March and that they allow themselves to be caressed by people. Obviously, I didn’t believe it very much, but in March 2016 I decided to organize a little solitary adventure.
It is the belief of us humans that we are at the top of the intelligence chain and this belief deceives us, makes us be so presumptuous as to treat with superiority every other living being, including humans.
But if sometimes it results in the absurd and in the ridiculous, it is often not bad to remember who we are and where we come from. And we come from the sea, like all other beings in the world.
We unknowingly approach this sea and we should be grateful to it for being a source of life, but also because it is able to calm us with the sound of its undertow.
Falling asleep by the sea to the magical sound of waves on the beach is something that everyone should experience. It would take so many problems out of our brainwashed brains and, for one night, a calm peaceful dream would come true. I fall asleep with these thoughts.
The next morning, I went to pet the whales. I found myself doubtful whether to go or not; because I never thought I would be able to see them better here than I did in Tonga, Polynesia or in Alaska.
Will it be worth a 3-and-a-half-hour drive from La Paz to arrive on the Pacific coast, where I was assured of a large presence of gray whales?
Late morning arrival. Ready to go, we leave the little harbor in the calm waters of the bay, and after thirty seconds, a muzzle appears.
I cannot believe it. They are the little ones who come to look around and explore the humans as the mother travels behind to check.
The little one goes to two other boats while the occupants go mad with joy.
I am moved by their smiles. A girl puts on her mask and looks down. The others hold her by the legs.
This bay surrounded by sandbanks are where the gray whales migrate every year, from mid-December to mid-April, in order to breastfeed the calves in the first months of life.
I am in the boat with two elderly people: an American couple.
When the whale comes to look around us, they too they are incredulous like me … and it is compulsory to hold out your hand, to look for contact with that gray face.
Drop the camera and touch.
Unique, idyllic feeling. Touching this new texture wasn’t as hard as I thought, far from it – it is a little less soft than foam. Perhaps closer to the latex foam as a sensation, only that this latex foam is alive and moving.
And it lets us touch it.
It almost seems like they’re looking for contact.
I spend five hours in this magnificent place. Ending the day exhausted with emotion, it’s time to return.
In a couple of months our whale friends will leave the warm waters of the Mexican bay to return to Alaska.
The “little ones” will already be grown and with a little luck they will come back next year and maybe the next year and then years later, they will accompany their little ones, in the wonderful circle of life.
And here the great secret of Baja California is revealed to me.
Baja California is as simple as its inhabitants.
Freedom, magic, emotion.
And you can choose to be together with these gifts.
Year after year I have intensified the visits, and accompanied by Adriano or solo, I have pushed myself in many different points: I slept in a tent in the desert, I ate the best carbonara of my life cooked on the fire, I drank a beer admiring the longest waves in the Pacific, I listened to the enormous breaths of the blue whale in Loreto, I slept in a tent and then embarked to see the gray whales in a place so beautiful and far that I never wanted to come back after the departure, and I witnessed the great leaps of humpback whales in Cabo San Lucas. Every time I discover that there is still so much to discover, I return without haste because Baja is waiting for me every time with open arms: I have a part of Baja, and Baja has a part of me.
In travel photography, even more than in the naturalistic photography of animals, you have to let yourself go, let your thoughts run free and breathe deeply the environment and the people around you.
Traveling to photograph or photograph the journey?
I accepted with great pleasure the invitation to collaborate with Timeless Baja, and I am sure that my photographic experience, both small and large, as well as in and out of the blue waters, will allow me to motivate travelers in living the emotions of this beautiful and loving land. This land that, before photographing, makes you realize the personal consciousness of human beings and helps you feel the immense particles of the soul of nature.
- Winner of National Geographic Italia 2011
- Winner of Asferico Photocontest 2019
- Winner of See the Sea International UW Photocontest 2016 category waves / 3th place cat. compact
- 6 Place OasisPhotocontest 2012
- 2nd Place Monovision Awards 2017
- Silver GPU Medal at Singapore International Photography Awards 2017
- Honorable Mention National Wildlife Federation 2013
- Honorable Mention Chromatic Awards 2017 – Honorable Mention Monochrome Awards 2017
- Finalist: SIPA international award 2015/ 2016/2017/2018 – Wildlife Photographer of The Year 2014/2015/2018 – Travel Photographer of The Year 2012/ 2013/2016/2017/2018 – Asferico 2010/2015, GeoMagazine 2011, Oasis 2011/2013/2014/2015/2018
- 2017 – Tales of the bottomless blue – La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
- 2018 – Photo Exhibit Mountains and Oceans – BUC Trento, Italy
- Publications: National Geographic Italia, National Geographic Viajes, National Geographic Kids, Focus, Focus Wild, nationalgeographic.it, books, megazines, web
- Judge : Antaragni Photography Contest 2018 / Jury member: Chiiz magazine photo contest 2017