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Harry De Zitter at Palazzo Roberti with The Himba Collection

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“My photography has no borders. The world is my oyster.” These are the words of Harry De Zitter – a well-known name in advertising photography of the ’90s. Though a man of few words, what Harry says speaks volumes of the man he is and the legacy he’s created. In MiND’s heart Harry holds a special place as he’s not just Harry De Zitter international photographer but Harry De Zitter long-time friend of our founder Abramo Manfrotto and his family.

Harry discovered his passion while attending art school. Photography was like second nature to him. Not knowing where it would take him, his love for his art grew and he founded his first studio in 1971 in Cape Town, South Africa

“The first time in the dark room when the image developed, it was magical. I was smitten. I was hooked.”

Harry in the ’70s with his first Gitzo tripod

Since then he’s traveled the world and opened more studios, capturing it all through his lens along the way. Looking back on his journey with photography, Harry says, “it’s been good to me”.

“I look at the camera as my window to the world."

Photography brought Harry a very special relationship with the Manfrotto patriarch, Lino, and his family. “It all started in 1972 with my first contact with Lino,” Harry shared. “ I wrote to Lino Manfrotto +Co for spare parts for my photography equipment”. Not knowing that it was a person’s name, Harry was surprised when he received the parts along with a note saying ‘with compliments’. He called to express his gratitude and discovered who Lino was. “I was so touched by his demeanor and his generosity.” This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The bond between Harry and the Manfrotto family is now over 40 years strong.

His relationship with the family is truly unique. The admiration and trust Harry shares with them is so immense that his wish is for the Manfrotto family to, in his own words, “be custodians of his work to be shared with generations of people to come”.

This feat is something that Manfrotto family has happily accepted. The family is hosting an exhibition of Harry’s work “ The Himba Collection” at Libreria Palazzo Roberti in their hometown of Bassano del Grappa, Italy. This exhibition will be on display from December 14th through  January 6th.

A piece from “The Himba Collection”| Photo by Harry De Zitter

“To have the honor to show this at Palazzo Roberti and be associated with the Manfrotto family really means a lot to me.”

“The Himba Collection” explores the people and life of this tribe which is considered the last semi nomadic population in Namibia. Harry first learned about the Himba while in school and was fascinated by their culture. He wanted to catch them in their purest and raw state. In order to carry out this project Harry, in 1997, had a long negotiation with the people of this tribe resulting in an exchange of tobacco, flour, and sugar for their participation. Through the generosity of Manfrotto, Gitzo and ALU Spa, Harry was able to create what he called a ‘field studio’ so that he could get the best quality in the middle of nowhere.

We asked Harry to share some words of wisdom with young photographers. He explained that everyone has a different points of view and is interested in different things so his advice – simple yet powerful-“regardless of what you shoot, be the best you can be”.

 

Elena Parise