Isabella Tabacchi has been both my business collaborator and friend for several years. We recently had a fantastic time conducting workshops in the Dolomites, which concluded just a few days ago. In this interview, let’s have Isabella share her experience and perspective as a full-time landscape photographer.
Could you please share some insights about your background and the journey that led you to transition from photography as a hobby to becoming a professional?
I was born in the province of Modena, in northern Italy, and have had a deep love for nature since my childhood, often engaging in photography as a pastime. At the age of 16, I taught myself how to use Photoshop. After completing high school, I pursued a degree in Pharmacy at the University of Bologna. During this time, photography began to take center stage as my primary hobby.
In 2017, I made a significant shift when I started leading photography workshops. My images had gained popularity on social media, attracting a growing audience eager to learn from me. It was around this period that I also realized my true calling lay in the combination of nature and photography. The more I explored and connected with different landscapes, the more I felt a profound sense of familiarity, as if I had already visited these places in a past life.
The passion for traveling, the desire for diverse experiences, and the profound connection to untouched landscapes ultimately steered me away from a career in pharmacy. This transition marked a pivotal step in my journey towards becoming a professional landscape photographer.
What subject matter do you find most captivating in your photography? How would you characterize your unique photographic style, and what draws you to it?
Throughout my extensive travels around the world, I’ve encountered a wide range of landscapes, but the ones that consistently captivate me the most are sharp, rugged mountains and wild volcanic terrain. My photographs often feature dramatic tones and striking contrasts. As for what draws me to this style, it may well be a subconscious connection, an inexplicable pull toward these awe-inspiring natural elements that I can’t resist capturing through my lens.
Where do you usually find your creative inspiration?
My creative inspiration often stems from a subconscious process that seeks out elements within a landscape that possess artistic and poetic qualities. My aim is to craft landscapes that evoke emotions through photography, making the viewer perceive the elements in my pictures, such as trees, mountains, or foreground objects, as imbued with life or a distinct identity.
Which location holds a special place in your heart for photography? Could you elaborate on what makes it such a remarkable destination for photography?
The Lofoten Islands hold a unique significance for me in my photographic journey. My first international venture dedicated to landscape photography was in the Lofoten Islands back in 2016, and since 2017, I’ve had the privilege of guiding photo tours there (with the exception of pandemic-related disruptions and last year). This place is particularly special because it has been the canvas for countless cherished memories, and each year brings new opportunities to capture its ever-changing winter landscape.
I’ve photographed the Lofoten Islands during years when the terrain bore no snow and the fjords’ water surfaces were frozen puzzles, as well as during intense snowstorms. I’ve had the privilege of capturing the awe-inspiring northern lights dancing over the magnificent mountains and the iconic red cabins in Reine and Hamnøy. One of my favorite areas within the Lofoten Islands is Ramberg, where you can find enchanting spots with multiple beaches adorned with icy formations, as well as the picturesque fjords of Sund.
Moreover, I’ve also had the opportunity to explore the Lofoten Islands during the autumn season, and I was truly struck by the vibrant colors of the local flora and grass. The versatility and ever-changing beauty of this destination continue to make it a remarkable and enduring source of inspiration for my photography.
Photography tours hold a substantial place in your profession. What are your expectations for participants and what do you aim for them to gain from these experiences?
Photography tours provide a wonderful platform for me to share my knowledge and passion with individuals from diverse corners of the world. They offer the opportunity to collectively revel in the joy of travel and exploration. During my photography tours, I take great pleasure in being alongside my participants, assisting them in capturing the shots they desire, and ensuring their photography needs are met. Their satisfaction and learning experience are my utmost priorities throughout the journey.
My hope is that every participant will leave with not only the images they envisioned but also with cherished memories of the journey. Furthermore, I aspire to provide them with valuable insights and techniques to enhance their landscape photography skills, fostering their success in this craft.
For aspiring photographers and your workshop students, what’s the single most valuable piece of advice you’d like to impart to help them excel in their photographic journey?
The most valuable advice I can offer to excel in photography is to consistently pursue what inspires you the most and what genuinely resonates with your passions. Cultivate your creativity, engage in frequent practice, and explore a wide range of experiences to discover and develop your own distinctive photographic style.
Isabella Tabacchi, an award-winning landscape photographer based in Bologna, Italy, is internationally recognized for her evocative, emotional, and dreamlike photographic style. In 2021, Isabella received the Hasselblad Heroine award, and she has been a part of the Grand Jury for the Hasselblad Masters since 2021. Additionally, she has been a member of the Epson International Pano Awards jury since 2018, and she was honored with the title of Photographer of the Year at the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA). Isabella also achieved the third prize in the International Landscape Photographer of the Year competition in 2020 and was named the Milky Way Photographer of the Year. Her remarkable career has been adorned with several other awards dating back to 2016.
In response to the tremendous demand in our Lofoten Winter Aurora Photo Workshop 2024, we are pleased to announce the addition of another small group photo workshop in Lofoten, led by Isabella Tabacchi and myself. For further details, please visit: