Celebrating the Timeless Charms of Sutri and Its Surroundings

Mand, light brown skin, cap, in a puffer jacket against a field with a cloudy sky
Kamran Ashtary Sutri, 2023

I came to Sutri at a time when I was completely out of balance, having just emerged from two difficult years of dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic added another layer of hardship and isolation that none of us had ever experienced before. I found myself in a state of low energy and in need of healing.

Sutri became my sanctuary, offering me the peace and space I so desperately needed. I walked more than 2000 kilometers during my 11-month stay, often venturing in different directions, following the ever-changing skylights and captivating landscapes of the surrounding areas. It was as if the paintings came to life before my eyes.

During the initial months, I kept to myself, still carrying the weight of my past struggles. However, even in the bustling town square, I was met with kindness and respect from the people of Sutri. Everywhere I went; I was greeted with warm smiles and treated with genuine hospitality. The simplicity and kindness of the locals in this small town touched my heart.

Roman amphitheater at Sutri

In Sutri, I discovered a community of people who offered me solace and acceptance without judgment. Their genuine smiles and friendly interactions slowly helped me emerge from my shell. It was in the midst of their warmth and generosity that I began to find my own inner peace.

Walking through the streets of Sutri and engaging with its inhabitants, I realized the transformative power of human connection. The simple acts of kindness and the care extended to me by the people of Sutri played a significant role in my healing process. Their presence and positive energy helped me rebuild my shattered spirit and restore my faith in humanity.

I am forever grateful to the wonderful people of Sutri who embraced me during my time there. Their kindness not only provided a sense of belonging but also inspired me to capture the essence of their town and share it with the world. It is my sincere hope that these photographs will not only celebrate the beauty of Sutri and its surroundings but also serve as a testament to the resilience and compassion of its people.

During the scorching summer months, Sutri provided me with a tranquil refuge, allowing me to focus on completing a project I had dedicated the past 10 years of my life to. It was during this time that I finally finished writing about my profound journey of studying the Holocaust, which took me to over 30 locations in 11 different countries, where I confronted the haunting reality of Nazi crimes and death camps.

Within the serene surroundings of Sutri, I found the perfect space to reflect, write, and rewrite my experiences visiting these harrowing sites. The peaceful atmosphere and the beauty of the region enabled me to delve deep into my thoughts and emotions, reflecting on the tragic history of Europe and the impact on humanity.

While immersing myself in this introspective work, I also had the opportunity to discover the rich culture and spirit of Italian cuisine. The culinary world in Italy fascinated me with its intricate techniques, the freshness and depth of flavors, the simplicity in its execution, and its remarkable diversity. The Italians’ commitment to using high-quality ingredients added another layer of appreciation to what I was learning about their culinary heritage.

In Sutri, I not only found solace and inspiration for my writing but also gained a newfound appreciation for the Italian way of life. The act of cooking became more than just a means of sustenance; it became a celebration of culture, tradition, and the joy of sharing meals with loved ones. I looked forward to exploring local markets, tasting regional specialties, and immersing myself in the art of Italian cooking.

As I embark on this new chapter of sharing my experiences through these photos, I am grateful for the support and inspiration that Sutri and its surroundings have provided me.

As a Dutch-Iranian artist, I had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in the captivating landscapes and vibrant culture of Sutri, capturing its essence through the lens of my camera. From the moment I arrived in Sutri, I was struck by its undeniable charm and unique allure. The city’s rich history, reflected in its ancient architecture and archaeological treasures, intertwines seamlessly with the natural beauty of its surroundings. Each step I took on Sutri’s cobblestone streets seemed to reveal a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered and preserved for eternity.

From the very beginning of my stay, I was determined to portray the essence of Sutri in black and white, as it allowed me to express the timeless quality of its surroundings. Through this artistic choice, I sought to transcend the boundaries of time, evoking a sense of nostalgia and stirring emotions within each viewer. Sutri, with its rich history and archaeological wonders, served as the perfect backdrop for my photographic exploration.

As the sun rose and set, casting its luminous rays upon the ancient walls and magnificent landscapes, I captured moments that spoke of the region’s unique character. From the intricate details of the ruins to the tranquil beauty of the countryside, each photograph holds a story waiting to be discovered. The changing skies of Sutri provided a truly mesmerizing canvas for my lens. Whether it was the dramatic play of clouds, the interplay of light and shadow, or the vibrant hues of twilight, I endeavored to immortalize these ephemeral moments in time. It is my hope that these photographs will transport you to the very heart of Sutri, allowing you to witness its ethereal beauty firsthand. This collection not only showcases the aesthetic appeal of Sutri but also serves as a testament to its cultural heritage and significance.

It is my sincere hope that these photographs will serve as a source of joy and pride for the community, reminding them of the unique beauty that surrounds them every day. The collection of photographs represents my humble attempt to capture the soul of Sutri and the surrounding region. With every click of the shutter, I sought to encapsulate the enchanting landscapes, the captivating play of light and shadows, and the vivid colors that paint the canvas of this extraordinary place. Through these images, I hope to transport you to the very heart of Sutri, allowing you to experience its magic and feel its timeless embrace.

I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the wonderful people of Sutri for their unwavering kindness, warm welcome. Their generosity and encouragement have been invaluable in bringing this collection to fruition. It is with immense gratitude that I present this compilation of photographs, which I hope will serve as a symbol of my appreciation and a reflection of the city’s pride.