An aerial view shows the Costa Concordia as it lies on its side next to Giglio Island. The giant vessel lay partly submerged in shallow waters for well over a year after running aground in January 2012.
Alessandro Bianchi: “Thousands of powerful photographs have told the story of the tragedy of 13 January 2012 – the wreck of the Costa Concordia. But on the eve of the operation to pull the cruise ship upright I thought an aerial photograph could be the one remaining image that could show the scale of this tragedy.
The most difficult moment arrived when I had to get the permit to fly over the scene. I was told ‘no’ many times but I kept insisting and eventually my persistence opened a door. I found out that the Italian Navy was doing flight training, using the scene of the Costa Concordia as a scenario.
It was decided that they could bring me close to Giglio Island on a training flight. As I didn’t know how far away we would be from the ship, I had to bring a lot of equipment. I anticipated the open door of the helicopter and the force of the wind could create problems... But before I started shooting, I was frozen, almost hypnotised by the scene in front of me. It was incredible to see the ship lying on its side.
I started taking as many photos as possible because time was limited. It was summer, and we couldn’t disturb the tourists visiting the island on holidays with the racket of the hovering helicopter. Operating in the climate of Italy’s economic crisis also did not allow much fuel to be wasted.
In the end, I did well to start shooting. Soon afterwards the helicopter turned away, and I could no longer capture the huge length of the boat in one shot. This photo, the best of the set, is the first one I took.”
Camera: Canon EOS 1DX, lens 105mm, f8, 1/1600, ISO 400