Lake Garda, Italy, is one of my favourite playgrounds. You can do a lot of sports there: mountain biking, wind surfing, climbing, and skiing. I know nearly every spot there, like the old house in this photo — it’s blocked off by an iron fence with lots of warning signs because it will come crashing down sooner or later. Roman and I wanted a shot of him jumping, with the lake in the background, so we climbed over the fence. Roman went upstairs to the balcony, and I got in on the ground floor. It was very dark — my eyes took some time to adjust from the bright snow and sunshine outside. The floor I was walking on was falling apart — there was a huge hole in the middle of the room. I walked very carefully to a broken window; the shutters were closed and frozen, so I had to kick them open through the sharp edges of the window. When the light came in, I saw the ice on the broken window. It looked like a scene from a horror movie, and I was convinced the floor would crash under my weight while I was taking the photo. Roman’s jump was perfect, and we had the shot on the first try.
About the shot
I was born in Italy in 1972 and graduated in economics in December 1996. One month later, I moved to Münich and worked there until 2002 as an accountant. My passion for the mountains took me away from the office and threw me in the mountain biking/skiing/snowboarding battlefield where I work with some of the best riders, searching for the most dramatic scenery for photo shoots. My clients have included Bike Magazine, Skiing, Magura, Fusion Bikes, Canyon Bikes, and Amplid.
What I do doesn’t feel like work. It’s always fun, even taking photos at -20° Celsius in deep powder snow or carrying my mountain bike over a 5,000-meter Himalayan pass. Obviously, you don’t get a salary at the end of the month, but if this is the price for freedom, I am glad I can pay it. Being international is part of my life: my wife is from Sweden, my father from Belgium, my mother from Italy, my newborn son Axel a European who has to manage three languages in his family. I live close to Münich in a 350-year old farmhouse in a small village not far from the mountains. I speak Italian, German, and English fluently, and I write for many magazines in addition to providing photographs.