Chances are you’ve seen photos of the brilliant blue waters that define Sicily. However, the dreamy Italian island is much more than just a beautiful coastline—in addition to the beaches, travelers to the region fall in love with Sicily’s delicious food, quaint villages and great people. Recently, New York travel photographer Matt Dutile was commissioned by Endless Vacation to travel around Sicily and make images that showcases the island’s unique culture. Matt’s photos, which appear in the fall issue of Endless Vacation, showcase traditional Italian hospitality (click here to see the full spread). I caught up with Matt a few days ago to hear more about the trip and the shoot. Read more below!
How did you get involved with this project?
I’ve been working with the team at Endless Vacation for around two years now. I’m fortunate that it’s always a great collaboration, and that they keep calling me back for more assignments. This particularly trip was around 10 days covering a few locations along the northern coasts of Sicily. These are the kind of assignments you’re in this business for. Italy is a favorite destination of mine, and Sicily is this amazing micro-culture of it and surrounding Mediterranean countries. Travel photography is my true passion, and I consider my style to be very warm and inviting. I want people to experience that same enthusiasm I have when traveling. That tone is a great fit with the direction of Endless Vacation.
Were there any challenges involved with this project?
There are always some challenges that will crop up in a travel assignment. Sometimes it’s the weather, other times it’s a particular location not being quite as photographic or interesting as you thought it would be from initial research. There was a bit of both of that in this assignment. Frankly, there’s rarely an assignment where there isn’t. You just roll with the punches. When the weather isn’t good you shoot indoors or try to work a moodier angle. When a location isn’t all it should be you find another one or focus on storytelling details. The upside is that there are also a number of places, details, people and random occurrences you can never account for that really create the heart of a story. No amount of research can predict it—that’s what traveling and discovery is really about.
What was involved in planning/preproduction?
I was actually very involved in the planning and production of this shoot. It’s a nice change of pace, because often with editorials you’re given the complete story a writer has put together and you’re essentially playing catch-up on their destination list. I traveled with the writer, Terry Ward, and we collaborated to choose locations that were rewarding for the story and visuals. We worked through a location list that would cover the angles of the story pitch, booked rentals/hotels, etc, and then let our explorations determine what we’d fully cover. It’s always great to be involved with the creative from ground up on an editorial. It allows you the freedom to pursue tangents that can yield the best images.
What has the reaction to the images been?
Really fantastic. The client loved the shoot and it coalesced into a nice article. The EIC actually requested a print from the shoot for his home. That’s such a great compliment—when a client enjoys a shoot enough to place an image from it in their home. Can’t ask for too much more than that.
Did you learn anything through the creation of this series?
I think you continue to figure new things out on each travel assignment. At least that’s how I feel. I’m usually pushing myself to try a new angle or develop a new perspective that fits the tone of the article and destination. I’m still very much in the earlier part of my career. I’m developing and refining my eye constantly.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks to Endless Vacation for continuing to hire me! Repeat clients are a great compliment in today’s shifting industry.
Check out more of Matt’s work on his website, mattdutile.com.