We’ve all heard it before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day; the meal that gives us the energy, the boost to start our day. But the word “breakfast” can mean much more. Yes, it is associated with being the most important meal but it can also be associated with your most important vocation — the most important task or duty you must fulfill daily.
For Laura La Monaca, a food, travel and lifestyle photographer, this notion is the basis to her work. She shares with the world her passion for photography through her blog and Instagram called, dailybreakfast, expressing her daily need to discover and present the world and its cultures.
How did you discover your love for photography?
Laura La Monaca: I grew up in a family that is very passionate about art and photography. Some of my first memories are of my parents filming and shooting. After a film was developed, everyone gathered around the table looking at the pictures. When I was a teenager, I was always carrying my camera with me. After high school, I studied Economics but when I graduated, I realized I wanted to focus more on my love for photography and I went back to school to learn more about digital photography.
IN THE PHOTO: A Finnish dessert made by Chef Petteri Louto using local produce and berries from the Finnish Archipelago, Kustavi, Finland – July 2016. PHOTO CREDIT: Laura La Monaca
Is there a particular photographer or artist who has influenced your passion?
L.L.M.: Ferdinando Scianna for sure. He is also from Sicily so we shared the same reality, places, faces, and colors.
What’s the story behind your blog and Instagram account, daily breakfast?
L.L.M.: I was on my first trip to Hawaii and my eyes were amazed by the colors and landscapes. It’s a place where you feel really inspired. At that time, I was working in a publishing house and I was unhappy with my job. I clearly remember the moment when I thought I needed to change something in my life. Sharing my passion for food was the first step, before learning more about digital photography. My mom used to say my first word was “latte.” I’m one of those people who cannot start a day without a proper breakfast. So, my blog was named after that moment in the day. Instagram was the second step but the way I communicate through my images is slightly different on Instagram compared to my blog. On dailybreakfast.net I can take the time to tell a story with different images. Instagram is more direct: you talk straight to your followers and interact with them daily.
IN THE PHOTO: A woman folding food in banana leaves, Muang Ngoy, Laos – December 2015. PHOTO CREDIT: Laura La Monaca
I cannot do this job without traveling and see other cultures; being inspired by colors and smells from other countries. I need to travel to see the world with fresh eyes.
What will be your next project?
L.L.M.: I love to travel and every trip I do is focused on local cultures. Food is the main focus because I think you better understand a community from what they eat, or in some cases, what they have available to eat. I’d like to do a photo project about my country, Italy. Each of the 20 regions are so different from one another. People and traditions from the North are sometimes the opposite of those from the South. It’s quite challenging because even if Italy is not that big, we have so many different traditions.
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How do you think traveling enhances your work as a photographer?
I cannot do this job without traveling and see other cultures, being inspired by colors and smells from other countries. I need to travel to see the world with fresh eyes. Talking with local people and becoming fascinated by their traditions are helpful in changing perspectives and my point of view, both in life and in photography.
Have you discovered one place in the world where you will always return to yet?
The Hawaiian archipelago has a special place in my heart. Apart from the crowded Waikiki, the scenery and colors are incredible as well as the way the people there approach life with great respect for the land and their families. The last time I was there, I swam with dolphins in the ocean; one of the best moments of my life so far!Recently, I found out I have the same feeling with Finland. Both places have something in common: the power of landscapes over human life, which is due to the low-density population out of the main centers. I wish they could preserve that.
L.L.M.: I’d like to learn more about underwater photography to better explore the spectacular world of oceans.
What is the most unforgettable food you’ve tasted and can you explain exactly why?
L.L.M.: When I was a kid in Sicily, my father used to go out and fish during the summer. Before making lunch, we used to eat fresh sea urchins and some bread. Sea urchin is still something I love and am crazy about.
IN THE PHOTO: Fish market in Catania, Italy – May 2016. PHOTO CREDIT: Laura La Monaca
Do you have a favorite moment or experience captured on camera?
L.L.M.: I take shots of people I love and keep those shots as private memories. I capture different moments: from highly emotional ones like the birth of my nephew to funny ones like a karaoke session in Tokyo.
IN THE PHOTO: View from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Kilauea Big Island of Hawaii, 2016. PHOTO CREDIT: Laura La Monaca
What impact would you like to make on life or society with the work that you do?
L.L.M.: When I travel, I try to respect the places I visit and the people who live there and their culture. I try to express this with my photographs. We all are different but I wish this feeling of respect for other cultures is explicit in my work and shared by people who appreciate what I do.
For Laura, photography is like her daily breakfast. Have you found your daily breakfast yet?
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