“Since I began my adventure in Street Photography I touched first hand the meaning of serendipity, the unexpected encounter while searching for something else.” – Andrea Torrei
Realities Hidden Within, is the debut book by award-winning Italian street and documentary photographer, Andrea Torrei.
The third prize winner of our Street Photography Award in February 2019, Torrei began her photographic journey a decade ago. She studied photography at CSF Adams and Officine Fotografiche in Rome and subsequently attended numerous seminars and workshops with notable practitioners such as Peter Turnley, Maciej Dakowicz, Vineet Vohra, and world-renowned Magnum photographer (and judge of our 2021 Street Photography Award), Nikos Economopoulos.
However, in spite of her passion for reportage, she, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, considering the style she now extols, began by photographing landscapes.
The technique and perceptivity required in capturing such imagery (namely the appreciation of color and light, and the importance of framing), provided a solid foundation for her practice. However, galvanized by her deep interest in others, and facilitated by a succession of trips to a long list of destinations, she would later transition to street and documentary photography.
Comprising over one hundred and thirty images, captured across the globe, from Chicago to the horn of Africa, Realities Hidden Within is the culmination of Torrei’s photographic journey, a deeply compelling anthology that showcases her extraordinary artistry.
Children playing soccer on the streets of Havana, their expressive kinesics akin to dancers; fishermen wielding viridescent nets on Ghana’s Cape coast; women transporting their wares in Ethiopia’s kaleidoscopic markets. Fragments of quotidian life are rendered into deeply absorbing images by Torrei’s masterful gaze, an embodiment of the immense potential of candid photography.
Impeccably framed and timed, her images display a painting-like eye for color, (honed whilst capturing landscapes during her vernal photographic years), and an impressive apperception of light. They are characterized by balance: dynamism and composure; honesty and creativity; light and tone.
Torrei describes the book as ‘A journey among people’, and this is instructive, for it reveals the ideology that underpins her practice. She never seeks to pursue a particular narrative, instead, capturing her subjects as they are, comfortable in their everyday environment.
However, as Wim Wenders famously asserted, (and which Parmigianni references in his introduction) ‘A photograph is always a double image, showing, at first glance, its subject, but at a second glance…the picture of the photographer in action’, and this is manifested in this body of work, for through all the images runs one constant thread: Torrei’s profound regard for humanity.