During my adolescence I grew up in Bruneck, South Tyrol. Not exactly the easiest place where to grow up, this because it is part of Italy now, but originally it wasn’t. Until the end of WW I, South Tyrol was, just like the name says, the southern part of Austria. A large part of the locals, coming from generations of german speaking parents, still speak german and rarely italian. However there is a minority of italians, actually in some parts of of the region, it feels like most of them are.
I was part of that minority, I went to italian school but still lived in a german based environment. I have to be honest, sometimes it has been really hard, there is a good amount of adversity towards the “invaders”. Last month I went up there again (it’s about 3 hours away) to teach high school kids what I know about photography. I ignored the strange feeling that place gives me and photographed some locals. Interesting to see how things look on your screen, after you’ve been there, they don’t look that distant anymore, actually they look closer, strangely empathic. It felt good.
Below, guy taking cigarette break, Bruneck. April 2012.