Mathias Falcone, our Photographer of the Month, is an Italian travel photographer, documentary film-maker and director. His work tackles the ever-changing relationships between individuals and their environment, capturing souls and corners of the world bound to mutate before time makes it course. Mathias has a predilection for Africa and loves to dig the unseen out of popular destinations.
Here, he shares some of his favourite shots and the stories behind them:
Volcanic conformation, hilly silhouettes and rock spikes rising against the sea make St Helena a hiker’s heaven. After tons of sunshine, the rain came down on the island to reveal an exciting wild side of the itineraries usually kissed by lovely weather.
Wind, light and rain weren’t exactly in our favour, but in this one moment, all the elements finally came together and made this shot possible.
I love getting lost in old towns. Overlooked streets and secret corners start popping up, along with wonderful faces, colours and all sorts of surprises.
This photo was taken in Mombasa, a fairly popular destination where local culture and authenticity are jealously preserved from touristic invasion. Even just five minutes later, I would not have been able to find my way back to this same spot.
Jamestown, St Helena
For every new place I visit, I want at least one poignant picture able to narrate how life feels and looks like in that particular corner of the world. Colours, smells, everyday pace of life, noises.
When people ask me about St Helena, I show them this photo.
Tsavo East Park, Kenya
I was focussing on a big elephant behind us when my eyes glanced aside by chance and spotted this fairytale-like corner.
Sometimes nature poses and composes the perfect moment, and all that is left to do is press the shutter button to accept the gift.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be driven around a location when pulling over to take pictures isn’t really an option, so I have learned to get excited about photographing from the moving car.
No glamour here: hardly any space, lots of restrictions, speed and bumps all the way through. However, by shooting from the road you are invisible to your subject’s eye – or anyway too fast to be noticed – and all shots end up unified by a consistent point of view of incredible candid power.
Somewhere on the border between Kenya and Tanzania
I sadly forgot the name of this village, but I do remember that this little girl’s grandfather has 83 nephews and nieces.
The village was very lively and vibrant, so I found this rare moment of solitude alongside deserted houses quite mesmerising. Her cute waving really resonated with me.
Scarborough, United Kingdom
When I first started investigating complex landscapes, a new universe opened up when I began to zoom in, looking for visual anecdotes within the main story.
This shot was taken between Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the north of England. I loved the David-and-Goliath effect manifesting through the contrast between man and nature in such a powerful way, in the midst such an otherwise peaceful landscape.
Maasai head of the family, Kenya
When surrounded by many friendly faces happy to be photographed, I tend to look around and take my chances of finding less welcoming but much more powerful subjects.
This Maasai was not keen on me or my camera, but when I respectfully asked for permission to photograph, he agreed.
The kaleidoscope of feelings he projected into the lens speaks on behalf of Maasai culture, history and nature more vividly than any other still I ever took around their villages.
Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya
Five minutes to closure. The park was already deserted. My driver was rushing towards the gates and I had already started to pack up, when a solitary wildebeest appeared giving me this one chance to capture its silhouette against the sunset.
To date, this photo reminds me to never call it a wrap until I’m in my bed – only then my camera will be switched off.
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