Although a self-confessed slave to reality, Massimo Vitali still has to make a lot of crucial decisions before he pushes that button: he picks out the camera – like a painter would pick out their colour palette – and paints the picture by choosing the right location and the right timing. And, in case you were wondering, the perfect beach has nothing to do with it: “Every beach is a perfect beach. What I don’t like is what is commonly referred to as the ‘perfect beach’ – the deserted palm-lined Caribbean stereotype, which totally bores me. I quite simply wouldn’t know what to look at!”

Even if he didn’t, passes-by certainly would. His big and beautiful 8×10 camera is impossible to miss: ”It’s hard not to notice the camera and the raised platform I often use when I work,” he admits. ”Some people take pictures and even e-mail them to me later, while others come by and want to have their picture taken as they’ve never seen a funny old camera before. One day last year I was standing on top of my scaffolding when a couple went by and I overheard them saying, “Look at that idiot, he thinks he’s Massimo Vitali!”.

Despina Pavlaki, Massimo Vitali in Yatzer, August 20, 2012.