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Reported by the FUA Communications & Marketing Office, with the contributions of Allyson Arrigo
Photo courtesy of Alessandro de Angelis

 

Chronicles from Italy is an Italian photography and news blog produced by industry professionals. We caught up with director Alessandro de Angelis to chat about this digital project as well as a photo essay of the Chinese Italian community produced by FUA alum Susu Yan, which was published on the site this year.

 

How was the Chronicles from Italy blog born? Tell us about yourself and why you decided to start this project.
AD: Chronicles from Italy was born in 2011 as a Tumblr photo blog. As someone who’s passionate about photography, the platform was an outlet for me to collect and share what I encountered and what moved me. Slowly but surely, telling stories simply through images wasn’t enough: I have a degree in modern literature and my profession is writing (I’m the editorial director of the monthly magazine Il Giornale della Vela). I began to alternate photo posts with texts and stories. Tumblr began to seem limited so I moved over to Wordpress, initially with a very basic layout. As of this year, Chronicles took on its current, more complex layout. As I observed its growth, I realized that there was no way to run the blog as a one-man operation and that it was the right moment to transition into something more.

 

The site covers both photo stories and news articles, what is the overall message and objective of the site?
AD: The object was self-generated. When I realized that Chronicles had the potential to become something more, I contacted friends and professionals from various industries such as art-music-photography-tourism to ask if they were interested in writing based on their specific backgrounds. There was only one rule, each post had to be about Italy. We don’t write about current news in a strict sense unless we’re dealing with particular situations such as the black bloc attack during the Expo because most of us live in Milan and we were all affected in some way by the incident. Our true objective is to shed light on the unique things, beauty, places, and stories that others don’t recount. We aim to do this constantly and with our individual points of view. Thus our stories are absolutely personal.

 

What are some emerging themes and issues that have become increasingly important for the website to cover?
AD: The most popular posts revolve without a doubt around travel and unusual facts, however this is an unwritten rule of Internet. On the other hand, we’re seeing a growth in interest towards personal students especially about the youth, from what we gather on our social media channels. I believe that a reason for this audience response is the optimism of the perspective featured in our articles. We want to give positive signals: we’re already buried under a surplus of tearjerker news but there are tons of positive examples and messages that we can launch.

 

In terms of the photography field, what types of stories and reportage do you usually cover?
AD: Photography and art occupy an important area on Chronicles for various reasons. First and foremost, images have a strong impact on the web that words rarely garner. This is valid for any type of article, from travel pieces to news, poetry, and music. In fact, travel reporting has been up till now the most highly covered section.

 

The site recently published a photo project by a former FUA student, Susu Yan, based on the Chinese community in Prato. Can you tell us what the experience was like to collaborate with a university student?
AD: The collaboration with Susu began thanks to her instructor at FUA, Simone Pierotti. I’ve known Simone for several years and when he saw Chronicles he told me that some of his students had produced some interesting photo projects. They were exactly what I seek for the site: new, fresh, and original stories that give value to young individuals and expose their work. Susu’s project particularly struck me for a reason. She was able to enter a secret world hidden to our eyes, and she accomplished this feat in an extremely delicate manner. The project is not the denouncement of a social situation. It is considered “reportage” as per the ancient definition of the term: to bring back and relate something from a journey, from a place that one visits. A rare gift.

 

FUA intern Allyson Arrigo caught up with Susu Yan to get her perspective on the project. As a Beijing native and university student in the United States, Susu wanted to portray and discuss the lesser known, but not small in size, Chinese immigrant community in Prato, Italy as her class project. What she didn’t expect was to be featured on a well-known and noteworthy photography blog, Chronicles of Italy.

 

Yan’s professor, Simone Pierotti told the photography blog that he was surprised by Yan’s tenacity and perseverance because of her quiet demeanor.

 

“I was sure that after a couple of tries she would change her mind,” Pierotti said. “However, week after week, she began to carve a path into a reality that is difficult to penetrate.”

 

Yan, who focused her work on the Chinese immigrants, also surprised herself and she says she is now sure of what she wants to make a career of.

 

“I am going to do meaningful projects, document things that need to be remembered, and to prove all that beautiful things, warm hearts, and love all exist,” Yan said about her feeling towards to her project and the people she connected to. “That is my wish for my whole life.”