Sant'Agata sul Santerno (Photo: Giacomo Bellavista)

Flooding: "In the footsteps of the good that moves everything"

"You must come and tell about the beauty that is happening in the midst of the mud." A photographer recounts the invitation of a friend from Cesena. And what he saw happening through the lens of his camera.
Giacomo Bellavista

I am a photographer from Rimini and in these days I have been trying to recount what is happening in Romagna after the flood.

Initially I was hesitant. I have always been annoyed at "grief tourism" and those who throw themselves headlong with their cameras where the drama is most evident. Besides, I had my own basement to empty, my own things to do and put away. But then a friend from Cesena, Meri, provoked me, asking me to go and tell her about the good things were happening in the mud of her city. She told me that already in the hours immediately following the flood people had set out to get going again. And so I went.

In the car, on my way to Cesena, I kept wondering how Meri could tell me that something good was happening in such a situation. I was almost annoyed by it. After a few snaps I realized how right she was. There was a people there who had lost everything or almost everything, but who were still starting, or rather, beginning again at every moment, starting with those little good things that still stood out in the muck, whether they were material things, memories of a life or a glance, the gratuitousness of a hug from unknown volunteers who had swooped in to help.

So I began to take photos by following the footsteps of that good that moves everything, a good that even when everything collapses or slips away, continues to win. In the following days I took shots in other towns as well: Lugo, Sant'Agata sul Santerno... Always in front of scenery that took my breath away.

Talking a bit with the young people I knew, it struck me that there were not there for activism or heroism. They were eager for a hug, eager to participate in the good that was coming through so clearly on the streets of those cities. And, above all, I noticed the underlying certainty that they themselves would receive that gratuitousness they were giving, to an even greater degree.