Bruno Tamiozzo’s lens captures the finest moments from ordinary life. For the Italian photographer and musician, the common man’s stories are those that need to be told

Different reasons draw people to the shores of Kerala. Italian photographer Bruno Tamiozzo’s arrival in the State is indeed a curious tale that tugs at the heartstrings.

Bruno is a keen photographer as much as he is a devout musician. Before coming to Kerala, he used to be part of a duo that would play the guitar in restaurants in Rome. One evening, he was invited to play in an Indian restaurant where he spotted an endearing photograph of a group of children on the walls of the restaurant. The picture evoked a surge of emotion in him. He enquired about it from the proprietor, Thomas Mayladoor and learnt of an orphanage—Mother and Child Foundation—at Thodupuzha. Having lived in an orphanage, before being adopted by his loving foster parents, Bruno wished to see the children at the Mother and Child Foundation. That brought him to Kerala.

Photographic instincts

But he also planned to use his trip to widen his photographic repertoire. While here, he has received a contract from a German photo agency Gruppe 28, to send “human stories” from Kerala.

India offers him inspiration and a novel platform to work on. It holds unseen leads for a young man on the search.

Together Kerala and India have proved much more than that to Bruno. He has fallen in love with the country and drives around in his Bullet clicking the sights that touch his sensitive eye.

‘Life stories’

Bruno does human interest stories or ‘life stories’ as he calls them. The subjects deal with social issues and history. These are on the Mother and Child foundation, the mental hospital in Thodupuzha, the brick factory, migrant workers , the rare art form of Mudiyettu and fishermen in Kollam.

Bruno rode all the way to Delhi, covering an area of 8,000 km, to seek out the story of the common man and of day-to-day life. “I love to take shots of daily life of people. It is beautiful,” he says.

Bruno got interested in photography at the tender age of 12. His father had a Nikon camera that was used for taking family pictures. He began clicking pictures on old film and gradually worked for an Italian newspaper, “Courier Dallasera.”

In 2002 he went to America searching for a good story.

The trip ended disastrously with him losing his expensive camera and photographs worth millions, captured in the finest hour.Disillusioned, he gave up his passion till his father presented him with a small camera. “I re-started,” he says, and according to him, this is his second innings.

Interpersonal skills

Taking pictures of human beings require interpersonal skills, which Bruno says, he is good at. He talks to his subjects, relaxing them till they warm up to give the most natural expressions of their lifestyle. “Photography requires a good soul and an open mind,” he says. Having spent his childhood in an orphanage he has no pictures of his babyhood. It was only after he turned seven that he has pictures of himself, and hence “photography is like medicine for me. I want to take shots to remember all my past and to remember the past of the world if possible,”

Bruno works with only two lenses because, “you need to be very close to the people. You need lenses like your eyes, you need close up pictures.” He uses the EOS 5D MK II Canon and shies away from taking touristy shots. It is the human element that finds a subtle presence in all his photos. The play of natural light and shadows lends a depth to the pictures as he endeavours to get under the skin of an issue. Bruno received an Honourable Mention in a world photography competition in Paris.

Kerala and India have rubbed off on him. He wears a helmet with ‘aum’ written on it. “Aum is the first sound in the world, according to Hindus. Being a musician, I have used that,” says the sensitive young man, whose idols range from Che Guevera to the common man who works hard to live. The deep contrasts in India touch him and he “loves the soul of India,” His photographs, he claims, catch that intangible emotion on film.