The coming of digital cameras has made the photography an out-and-out mass phenomenon. The possibility to realize quickly a boundless number of pictures, by avoiding the cost and time of both the film developing and the printing, makes everyone able to check his own capability and to achieve (with a little patience and goodwill) very satisfactory results. Furthermore, such a possibility can have some notable effects on many other fields; one can only reflect on the fact that a few years ago this website (containing thousands of pictures) should have not been feasible... The minerals' photography, however, requires a very special attention. The natural tendency of the crystals to reflect the light, their often limited size, the notable transparency or the very deep tonality of some colors can provide even the professional photographers with some problems not easy to be solved.


Within this context, Italy (well known in the history for the genius and the inspiration of its artists) boasts a stand-out figure, world-wide recognized for a long time. I'm talking about Roberto Appiani. For more than twenty years, Roberto is a freelancer photoprapher (specialized in portraying nature) and a minerals collector; thus, he represents a perfect union between the passion for crystals and the ability in the field of the photographic art, an ability proved by the award of international prizes and the activities carried out on behalf of Museums and Universities all over the world. Roberto published an impressive number of pictures on four different mineral encyclopaedias and on the most important magazines in this field (first of all The Mineralogical Record); long since he works on the Rivista Mineralogica Italiana and is the co-author of some books, where he had the opportunity to portay and somehow enhance the most astonishing specimens coming from Museums and many private collections. In this page you can admire some of his photos published on the Saint-Marie aux Mine website euromineral (two Alpine Apatites and two Tourmalines coming from the Elba Island), where Roberto is mentioned among the best photographers. I met Roberto some years ago at the usual Minerals Show in Rome, where he is always present, taking photos of some exhibited specimens for a reportage on the Rivista Mineralogica Italiana. In particular, during the last Show, he asked me to take a picture on a small green Apophyllite coming from India I had in my exhibition, and I must admit I was literally shocked when I saw the photo! It is an isolated crystal, free of any damage and approximately 1.5 cm tall, vertically placed on a small carpet of white chalcedony and in association with some elements of pink Stilbite: nothing special, of course, but a very nice specimen as a whole. Well: Roberto succeeds, in my opinion, to expose the aesthetics of this miniature in an extraordinary way, by demonstrating (once again) the incredible capability and effectiveness of the photography in revealing the beauty of minerals. The picture (you can see below) points out the skill and professionality of the author: the isolated crystal is perfectly centered and the selected frame underlines the appeal of the opposite slopes between the Apophyllite and the Stilbite at the back. The depth of field is excellent and gently fades the Stilbite with respect the main crystal (correctly in focus) by emphasising, at the same time and in the suitable extent, the chromatic contrast between the species. The real master touches, however, are the selected lighting and the exposure time: the light is spread in a correct way and highlights in detail the faces of the crystal and the distinctness and the boundaries, by avoiding any excess of light reflection and pointing out the features of brightness and transparency of the specimen. In brief: an out-and-out masterpiece!