The Montagna Madre project – Bruno D’Amicis

After having spent more than seven months over a three-year period working in the Western Tatra Mountains of Slovakia, I had collected so many experiences and observations that I was filled with a deep longing for even more intensive work in wilderness.  I faced the task of finding a way to promote wilderness conservation. This work also made me realize that very few people know of the existence of true wilderness in Europe and even less understand the very strict, but necessary, conservation measures needed to protect this lingering natural heritage.

Wilderness conservation means allowing long-term natural dynamic processes to take place which inevitably creates a gap between the vision of scientists and conservationists and the overall understanding of the general audience.

In order to fill this gap,  I decided to contribute by using the universal language of photography to describe complex processes and make difficult concepts simpler. By spending a lot of time in the wilderness, hiking and bivouacking on my own, I thought I could share the joy of experiencing nature first-hand with others and inspire people to do the same.

Therefore, together with the PAN Parks Foundation, which is helping with fundraising and promotion, I developed the idea for a three-year-long photojournalistic survey of a ‘test’ wilderness area. The Wilderness area I picked for my fieldwork is the Majella National Park in Central Italy. This park protects the wild massif the locals call “Montagna Madre” – “Mother Mountain”, and lies only two hours East from the bustling metropolis of Rome, in the highest and wildest sector of the Apennines. Dozens of peaks are well over 2000 meters, surrounded by deep gorges and vast forests – habitat for golden eagles, Apennine chamois (the “protagonist” of this project), brown bears and wolves, and an incredible array of smaller animals and plant species.  Two thirds of Italy’s biodiversity are in preserved in the Park.

The plan is to spend at least 210 days in the field, taking pictures of species, landscapes and ecosystems in order to create a powerful collection of unique images.  Together with compelling text, I will produce ten complete stories, each one would focus on the basic concepts of modern wilderness conservation. In the meantime, I will regularly post pictures, reports and multimedia material on a dedicated website. Follow my work in wilderness.


Bruno is the iLCP October 2011 Photographer of the Month.  He took the time to answer some questions about his photography in a Q&A!


Bruno will be presenting on his work documenting the remaining wild places in Europe at WildPhotos 2011 October 21-22 at the Royal Geographical Society in London.