CNN Photos

Beach portraits: Europeans in the sun

In 1994, photographers Alessandro Albert and Paolo Verzone set up a 4×5-inch folding camera on the beaches of Brighton, England, and Rimini, Italy. Hoping to reveal the different cultures of the two beaches, they captured portraits of people on holiday. Years later, they picked the project back up, visiting a total of 13 beaches in eight countries.

When they finished the project in 2002, they thought the images were finished, as well. But 10 years later, a publisher contacted them to publish a book. “Seeuropeans”  – a word the photographers made up that combines “see,” “sea” and “Europe”  – went on sale in April.

“We are truly convinced that the photographs have a life of their own,” Albert and Verzone said in a joint e-mail. “As time goes by, the perception of a body of work changes.”

Sometimes, it just takes time to bring photographs back, they said.

On the beaches of Europe, Albert and Verzone stationed themselves with the cameras mounted on a tripod until they saw someone “interesting.”

“Usually we choose our subjects for their presence or personality or just for a detail, but really it's the instinct that pushes us to select someone,” they said in the e-mail.

It occasionally took some discussing and convincing, but the portrait itself could happen in a matter of seconds.

The Italian photographers have known each other since they were 14 years old. Their first joint project took them to Moscow in 1991, where they also took portraits. Even though they may take different approaches, working together as a team was natural for them because of their shared passion for photography.

“The key is our interest for the people we portray,” they said. “We really like them.”

- Elizabeth I. Johnson, CNN