Wednesday, November 1, 2017

See the world through the talented eye of cousin Stefano Lotumolo

Stefano in Rome, Italy
When I first met Stefano Lotumolo in the spring of 2012, he was 24 years old and a farmer, working in his family’s fields, as have countless members of the Seghieri family through the centuries. The family grows flowers and shrubs, common crops in San Salvatore, where Stefano lives with his parents Michele Lotumolo and Fiorella Seghieri and three sisters. Fiorella is my fourth cousin. Her nonno Bruno Seghieri and my nonna Anita Seghieri were second cousins, born only four years apart in San Salvatore.
Stefano at his art exhibition.

I could sense some restlessness in Stefano’s soul five years ago. He wanted to work in Spain, or maybe the United States, or maybe Australia. We talked about the possibility of him spending the summer working with us in Gig Harbor, but that didn’t work out. In the next couple of years, he did take trips to the U.S. and Australia—but that didn’t get the travel bug out of his system. It only made him more eager to see the world.
This photo, taken in Indonesia, was part of Stefano's gallery exhibit in Altopascio in October.

Two years ago he took a leap in the dark and struck out on a long journey, traveling mainly on his own to 24 different countries on four continents. He bought a single lens reflex camera for his travels and now has an collection of photos that rival those of National Geographic. He put them on display at a gallery in Altopascio in October with the goal of sharing his experiences with his home community and also to obtain donations for an orphanage in Tanzania that he visited during his voyage.

I’m super happy to show people how I’m seeing the world,” he told me. ‟This way people can know a new culture while staying on their couches.”

While Stefano’s main passion is to travel, experience new cultures and grow as a person, his wanderlust spawned a new hobby of photography.
This photo of Stefano was taken just a few hours before his exhibit opened to the public.

A display at the entrance to the gallery explained Stefano’s motivation: ‟Almost two years ago, exactly on November 2, 2015, my life changed. I left the security of my home for the rest of the world, knowing little what to expect, accompanied by a tingling in my chest and a shiver in my legs. I had read in a book that when you upset your own life and leave your mind free, the limits disappear and you are able to do anything; in this way, my passion for photography emerged. I had never before held a single lens reflex camera in hand, and today I’m not able to imagine going anywhere for more than three days without my faithful traveling companion. I hope that you will notice this connection in my photos. Photos serve to freeze a moment of life, to carry the five senses and perceive all, with the eyes, with the nose, with the mouth, with the hands—to capture it all in one’s pocket. I hope I am able to transmit to you my emotions, to make you travel with me in streets unknown, countrysides you’ve never seen, other cultures, infinite colors . . .”

The places he visited were Tanzania, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Holland, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Malta, Greece, Morocco, Poland, Czech Repubblic, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Madagascar, Reunion Island, Mauritius, South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya. He also went back to Kenya and traveled within Italy.

Stefano in Tanzania
He earns money for his travels by working on the family farm and saving all he can. He sold photos at his show, but that money is going to the charity Associazione Onlus Impruneta Africa, an organization dedicated to HIV-positive orphans which operates ‟The Village of Hope” near Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania.

I sold a lot of photos during the exhibition,” he said. ‟I don’t have a web site for my photos yet, but I’ll arrange that next year after the next big trip that I’m going to start next week.”
Stefano's next route, beginning in Iran and hopefully ending in Japan.

Yes, Stefano is about to embark on another grand voyage of five months that he hopes will take him from Bologna to Iran (for 15 days), Nepal (one month), India (20 days), Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Borneo, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, China and Japan. He will ocassionally be posting photos and updates on

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcome.