Nicola believes art can transcend all man-made boundaries. He himself is an artiste, a photographer who travels far and wide to uncover stories of perfect strangers. As people get more and more self-centered and isolated, Nicola's quest to truly know people and their lives is fascinating. Read the following conversation to know more about his travelling lifestyle, his views on the importance of art and what he thinks his primary identity is, an artiste or a traveler.

You speak of people and various human realities disappearing several times on your blog. Travel is said to be one of the most exploitative industries that have an adverse effect on people and their ecology. So, have these ever led you to give sustainable travel a thought?

The tourism industry certainly brings forth good effects and bad effects.Unfortunately, a man by his own nature is unlikely to keep the sustainability of his actions in balance. Economic interests often prevail, we are all witnesses, every day.

With experience, without being too pessimistic, I, therefore, tend to think that the negative effects are at least in the medium and long term. This is a very vast and complex topic that we could discuss for hours.Tourism to a certain extent can help people and develop areas on the fringes of the world, but all this inevitably leads to difficult choices that are often not very 'enlightened'.

On the other hand, I do not agree with anyone who throws themselves against photographic tourism. I bless travel photography, the one lived with the right ethics, as the only tool that can help us preserve in memory what will inevitably disappear one day. Let us think, for example, what would be the African parks without photography tourism. Or who could ever know what the peoples and tribes of the earth looked like without the masterly document on humanity by Jimmy Nelson?

I also always try to make a small contribution to the sustainability of travel, using and reusing materials that are not polluting or biodegradable. Trying to organize and work only with local people and behaving like a respectful guest.

You write “The mind is partly busy thinking about what we can tell those at home or what we can write on a blog.” Do you find internet blogging, social media, etc limiting in the sense that they often do not let you have the most immersive experiences?

The sense of what I wrote is partly linked to the social dimension in which we are immersed during the 'normal' and working life- always in a hurry and often gripped by commitments and appointments. We have lost the ability to slowly taste things, be it food, relationships or experiences. The celebration of slowness as ‘quality of life’ and not as ‘backwardness’ has somehow gotten lost.

Most of us suffer from the bad habit of trying to keep everything under control during a trip. It’s virtually impossible. How do you deal with situations in which things start going south?

The sense of control prevails in the first few days of travel, then even the unpredictable begins to work its charm. As the journey progresses, the links with the tight rhythms and the obligations that we sometimes impose on ourselves are lost and it is precisely at that moment that everything begins to make sense.

Tell us about a particular moment during one of your many trips when you felt somewhat helpless as things got out of control and how you eventually dealt with the consequences.

Fortunately, I have never encountered any major setback, and in general I can say that with a good spirit of adaptation, even apparently more bleak situations can become opportunities. Knowing how to capture the best from the experience that we are fortunate to be able to live is almost a moral duty. Actually, I believe that the only thing that is really THE important element is attention to safety and to one's own health.

Let me share a story about my experience from a few years ago. On my first trip to Asia, we were stranded in the endless expanses of Mongolia in torrential rain, and moreover with a broken windscreen wiper. Unable to continue and almost unable to exit the car. We found refuge in a semi-deserted farmhouse. There, despite the fear and anxiety of the journey getting compromised, I took the best photos of maybe the entire trip. The next day, helped by locals and with a pinch of luck, we solved our troubles.

What triggered the shift from nature/landscape photography to portrait photography?

Although I have not completely abandoned landscape photography, taking portraits gives me somehow satisfies me more. I find it more intense, it's a way to test myself, to test my shyness and try to offset it in a subtle way.

Interacting with people is a way of experimenting and enriching one's memory with more sensations. Creating portraits often allows us to get closer to the human dimension of the subject that grants us the portrait. The relationship does not always become more profound but it is always enough to mark our conscience, sometimes the sense of respect and kindness received are gifts that accompany the memory of a picture forever. Portrait is a type of photography that satisfies the need for the peaceful beauty that I need.

In this day and age when people are becoming increasingly unattached and isolated, your fascination with people and their stories is nothing short of compelling. What do you think motivates you to uncover the stories of strangers?

I find the stories of people extraordinary, even those saying simple everyday things. That lives all over the world are so different and yet so similar, never fails to amaze me. Simple stories, when told wisely, become suggestive and moving images.

Modernity will soon make all these hidden treasures disappear. For me, it is fundamental to be able to live at least a fragment of what one day will perhaps be just a story. Human beings are all united by one thing: fleetingness. This is my real motivation, we are just passing through and knowledge and experience are fundamental elements to give value to life.

You hold dear the time you spent in India. It being my homeland, I can’t resist the temptation of asking what was the one thing about India that you found the most interesting?

The kindness of the people, their curiosity and their ability to make you feel like family even if you have just met.

Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person?

I am spiritual in my own way, it is difficult to define one's own self. I believe in destiny and in the possibilities that life gives us to improve ourselves as people.

Correct me if I am wrong, your work portrays you as an old soul. Being wired that way, how do you think has modernism affected art and travel today?

Beauty never goes out of fashion. Modernity and new technologies have opened up the possibility of feeding of beauty and awareness in new ways. Art is a feeling, it has always been part of mankind, it extends soul and thought, it is a wonder, it is research and involvement. Being in love with beauty and peace makes us a part of the whole.

Today the Internet allows us to dream and to know the world, even those of us who do not have the infinite fortune to be able to do it in person. If this is ‘modernity’, I can only be happy to live in this time and space.

You are an esteemed photographer, an artist capturing time. So, do you travel to create art or do you create art to travel? What I mean is, what do you feel is your primary identity- artist or traveler?

For me, research and photography are the reasons for my trips. This is why I think I can say, with great humility, that I am an artist first and then a traveler.

What according to you is the 'Essence of Traveling'?

Traveling means growing, it means learning to improve oneself, to feed one's need for beauty, peace, and knowledge: becoming a part of the whole.
Nicola DucatiTraveler

Traveling means growing, it means learning to improve oneself, to feed one's need for beauty, peace, and knowledge: becoming a part of the whole.


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