In the vast panorama of Italian photography, some talents emerge as real beacons, illuminating the path to success with their creative spirit and determination. Among them, it stands out Daria Sasanelli, a Milanese photographer who has conquered the greatest challenges in the field of sports photography.
In the following exclusive interview, Daria reveals the secrets of her past, the experiences that shaped her and the moments that pushed her to become who she is today. Through her story, we will discover the journey that led her to step on the floors of the biggest competitions on the Italian scene, highlighting her growth path and the influence that her homeland has had on her art.
But that is not all: Daria will share with us some of the projects she has in store for the future, revealing previews of new works and unpublished collaborations. A unique opportunity to get to know the inner world of this extraordinary photographer up close, capable of capturing the essence of the human soul and translating it into timeless images.
INTERVIEW WITH DARIA SASANELLI – SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER
Tell us who you are, where you come from, what work you do and how your journey in the sports world began
Hello I'm Daria Sasanelli I live in Milan but my origins are well rooted in the south .. in Puglia to be precise. I began to approach the world of photography by organizing some sporting events in collaboration with the newspaper two wheels and RED Bull.
In fact, my first job is precisely that of event manager, which I then carried on in parallel with photography. I started to organize some motocross races and try my hand at some shots until I decided, after a photography school, to do it professionally.
As you can see it all started from a passion, which with time and commitment (and a lot of satisfaction) has become a real job. After a year I was already the official photographer of the Lombardy region and they called me for some World Cup competitions.
That world has literally grown me!
And how did you enter the world of CF?
Here comes the covid, two years of detention. All races blocked, all motocross tracks closed. desperation both for my work in an event agency and for photography.
I'll never forget: it was the summer of 2020, there was the first "liberi tutti" and I decided to pick up my camera again. Walking on the beach of my beloved Puglia I started photographing surfers and kyters.
Between a shot in the water and one on the beach, I notice a "demonstration" that was held right on the shore... I approach and ask for information! It was a CrossFit® competition… nothing but a demonstration 😂😅
Shall I tell you the mystery? It was there Ouroboros Summer Competition!
Think what a story… race you're still participating in today! For those who don't know, what is a typical day like for a photographer during a competition?
There isn't a typical day… every race is a surprise! Seriously…it really depends on how each race decides to set up their media staff.
Basically you are on the floor from morning to late afternoon / evening shooting. You take small breaks to change batteries and download cards, but for 99% of the races you are always present and alert.
The scoop shot is always around the corner; it's a bit like when you've been waiting for an hour for the bus and it arrives just when you're about to light a cigarette (it's a saying eh .. I swear I don't smoke!) 😂
We imagine it is also difficult to move on the floor to capture those moments that athletes love so much. What are the risks? Have you experienced any moments of fear?
Difficult to say the least! It is not at all easy to know how to move on the floor.
The risks are those of hindering the athletes and perhaps becoming responsible for their failure; or getting hit with a barbell or getting a whip with the rope.
I can say that I have collected some accidents: a fantastic 9kg wall ball on the head (which now will surely make the reader smile but I assure you that I saw the dragons fly for a good 20 minutes).
Basically, I was exactly behind the target to photograph the two athletes head on (wod a team experience category), at a certain point while I was totally focused on the shot with my arms closed and my gaze in the viewfinder, one of the two athletes exaggerated in pushing the wall ball, sending it beyond the target ... it hit me squarely on the head, making me curl up on myself like an empty can 😂
Another time, in the elite category, I was under an athlete doing the rope and, with the final part of the rope, I got a whip on the camera! Luckily I had the second camera body, because I had to throw that away!
In short, to be able to catch the athlete at his best, you often have to be very close to him and you run some risks. It takes attention and a lot of experience!
You also said that the photographer's work doesn't end when there are podiums, but there is a whole lot of work behind every shot. Tell us a little.
Exact! Let's say that the easiest and lightest part are the days on the competition field! Even if they are physically tiring because you are on your feet and always focused on catching the right moment, if the work ended there everything would be very nice.
Instead, in the following days you have to collect all the shots (and I assure you that there are many), look at them, choose the most beautiful and eliminate the unusable ones.
Once the photos to be submitted to the competition have been chosen, there is the whole post-production part. Personally I prefer natural photos, I don't like excessively retouching colors / lights and distorting the authenticity of the photo.
This is part of me .. it reflects my personality and authenticity for better or for worse. I know we are heading towards a world of filters and retouching .. but I prefer to row against the tide and I know that time will prove me right.
Without taking anything away from all the competitions you've participated in… but is there anyone that has remained impressed/remained in your heart?
I start by saying that every competition I did was a great experience for me, each of them made me grow professionally, giving added value to my way of photographing.
But as I told you at the beginning, I owe the Uroboro Summer Competition everything I am today .. if it hadn't been for William and Andrea, who are now family to me, today I wouldn't tread on all the most important competition fields.
If you browse my profile, you'll understand that there are many competitions that have trusted me and hired me as media manager. I won't mention your names but you know very well who you are!
This year, in addition to photographing, you have approached a new skill: competition organizer at the Bologna Throwdown. How was it?
Let's say that for me it wasn't exactly a new skill: it's my very first job.
I realized that with my almost twenty years of experience in events I could try my hand at this new experience, if only to learn something new and get more stimuli.
The idea of Nando and the CrossFit® NTN guys came at the right time, that I could afford to dedicate time to design the Bologna Throwdown.
It has been an intense year of work and new dynamics that have led me to understand how much sweat and effort goes into organizing each race. Often people think it's just for the money! But as far as I've been able to touch, there's really just a lot of passion for this sport behind it.
At least this is what I experienced.
We know you're a creative and you can't sit still. What's cooking? Are there any new projects coming up?
This thing about not being able to sit still makes me smile! It has haunted me since I was a child but it has always taken me everywhere in life! Yes, I have a nice project together with Andrea Tigre.
I don't want to spoil too much, you never know someone will decide, reading this article, to steal my idea 😂 just kidding!
It is a project that will involve all the media in the world of CrossFit®! I want, indeed we want, to give a voice to all this part which, in my opinion, is often a bit underestimated.
Photographers, videomakers, journalists, speakers: we tell the story of the races, we make you relive those moments even after some time. But we are often taken a little for granted.
We want to tell each other to raise awareness .. but that's enough or Andrea will kill me!! Stay Tuned because this project is going to be truly amazing! And you too from CrossMAG will be there: get ready!
We can't wait to reveal more details to you guys! Stay tuned because you will see some good ones! And follow Daria Sasanelli on hers IG profile @d4r1a, you will not regret!