The radical choice of Stefano Lotumolo, a traveling photographer
In November 2015 I started leaving my comfort zone. First stop in Tanzania where for the first time I came into contact with photography and where I met my Masai ethnic friend named Philipo. Four months of travel spent between Africa and Asia, up to Australia. On Christmas Day 2016, due to serious family problems, I decided to return to Italy indefinitely to stay close to my cousin who was suffering from leukemia. Put in stand by my life to be close to someone I really love made the new Stefano born. For six months we have fought the monster and we have partially gone out of it winning in June. I started connecting to something bigger, heart and mind went in the same direction. So I decided that for me it was time to leave: I chose Africa and left for my first photographic trip with my new camera just bought. Three months, backpacking, touching different nations in the south of the black continent, at the end of which I decided to set up a small photo exhibition in Altopascio, in Tuscany, the small town where I lived for 28 years. The bet was won and the photos were appreciated despite being a beginner. In November 2017 I started the adventure that totally changed the course of my life: five months in the eastern part of the world without having a well-defined destination. The one way ticket was for Tehran and the one back from Tokyo, in the middle there would have been what the universe wanted to do with me. After Iran, I arrived in Nepal, then landed in India and Myanmar; these last two countries have given way to my change and I have been able to compare myself with people totally different from those who had been part of my previous life. Photography has also grown in step with my openness to the world. During an Indian night I had the idea of touring Italy in Van exposing my works. Everyone took me for crazy, but by now I had decided. Piece by piece the mosaic was always clearer in front of my eyes and so when I returned to Italy in April the dream was ready to be realized. With my new travel companion, a senior Volkswagen van dated 1989, I left for the Italian tour and exhibited the photos in some of the most important cities of the peninsula including Bari, Lucca, Alghero, Marzamemi and many others. When the energy of a project is channeled in the right direction and you let yourself be carried away by the current, the universe always knows how to make available to you what you really need;in fact, during the week before the start of the tour, within two days, two basic chessmen entered my chessboard without which we will not be here to talk about this project: my current life partner and my new best friend as well close collaborator, who followed me in almost all the stages of the tour. While we were exhibiting in Lucca, the crazy idea of creating a feature film on a cross-section of my life and the real Masai love story of the aforementioned Philipo, now a great friend of mine, has been revealed. The entire month of August we spent with the troupe in Tanzania where we recorded the African part of our film in conjunction with the true wedding of Philipo, made possible by sponsored crowdfunding on my Facebook page. In conjunction with the beginning of the tour I also wrote my first book, in which – through the dimension of travel – I speak of the importance of knowing and pursuing one’s own vocation. I would really like to encourage the reader to act courageously towards what for me is the meaning of life: to be happy.