The shots of the doctor-photographer: “Those magical hours waiting for the Amarena bear and its 4 cubs”

The cautious look, the slow but sure step, her four puppies in tow as careful as bodyguards. It’s after five in the morning of last Friday and the Amarena bear walks quietly in the center of the village of Villalago, fifteen minutes from Lake Scanno, in the Aquila area. She just seems a little frightened by the unnatural light of the street lamps that shine, at dawn, in the deserted country. She doesn’t know that someone, inside an off-road vehicle, with a powerful lens, is framing her and then taking an enchanting photo that immediately makes the rounds of the web and social networks. The author is Gianpiero Cutolo, 64 years old, a Roman doctor specializing in sports medicine and, among other positions, following the Italian national shooting team.


For six years, in a kind of parallel life, Cutolo has cultivated a passion to which he devotes all his free time. “In the wildlife area of ​​Rovere, a hamlet of Rocca di Mezzo, I was struck by the encounter with a chamois – he says -, so I started to photographing wild animals in Abruzzo. I do it without ever altering the relationship with the fauna, I never use bait and I am also able to remain hidden for ten hours in a row just to wait for a wolf or a bear, then suddenly this encounter takes place, leaving me breathless every time ». Marsican bears, wolves, deer, chamois, griffins, gray herons, buzzards. There is no animal that the Roman physician has not immortalized, following their traces especially in the area of ​​the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, from Villalago to Alfedena. He observes their footsteps from afar, without ever interfering, he uses lenses even from 500 mm to be able to photograph their movements undisturbed. Love, births, seasonal rituals, without ever getting tired. «Sometimes I wake up at two in the morning to be in a certain place that is still dark – he continues -, I turn off the flashlight, I wrap my body and clothes with a camouflage or with leaves and wait for the magic moment to arrive. When I meet their eyes, even for just a few seconds, the emotion is great and the depth of the gaze makes me feel an integral part of this world ».

The emotions

The Amarena bear Gianpiero did not meet her by chance in Villalago. The trick was following the dogs barking away. «When the bears arrive they are afraid because they recognize them as superior, I followed their bark, which was getting louder, and I realized it was coming down. I was fifty meters away, in the car, she was walking with her extraordinary litter along the streets of the town still asleep and unaware, it was one of my most beautiful encounters, like when I found myself just three meters from a wolf. An indescribable emotion».

16 September 2020 (change September 16, 2020 | 22:47)



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