“Photography is the way I express myself, my way of story-telling. Stories about distant countries and stories about people. With my pictures I want to achieve that the observer does find something familiar even in the exotic and opens his view for the beauty and esthetics of the world and its creatures.”
Catherina Unger is a co-owner of Arbaspàa srl, a tour operator based in Manarola (Cinque Terre – Italy). Originally from Germany, she has always been a passionate travel photographer and travels since some 20 years throughout the African continent
Special tours at set dates to the most beautiful and (not only but mostly) photographically most intriguing African destinations. Accompanied by an experienced travel photographer and travel agent in one person.
I don’t exactly remember when it all began… Maybe with the long afternoons after school passed in the darkroom of my father’s studio, photographer in a little town close to the national park of Saxon Switzerland in Eastern Germany. At the age of 8 I received my first photo camera, a Russian model with which i took pictures in the forests and the snowy hills behind my home. And of the mountains of Romania, the views of the Bulgarian Black Sea and the street corners of Leningrad during the travels of my childhood.
I very early found my passion for traveling, my insatiable curiosity for foreign cultures and my deep love for the nature.
As a logical consequence traveling became my profession. In fact I have always worked in tourism – first in Hamburg, later in Florence for big tour operators. In 2001 together with my partner I found the tour operator Arbaspàa in Manarola – a tiny village of the Cinque Terre, my adoptive home. For our clients, coming from all over the world, we create tailor made naturalistic, photographic, culinary and cultural itineraries to discover the regions of Liguria, Tuscany and surroundings.
Photography has an important place in my life – my free time is reserved for explorations with my camera in the surroundings and abroad. The travels take me to the most interesting places of Italy (Tuscany, Liguria, Rome…) and all over the world.
In the past 20 years I’ve travelled to India and Nepal, Cuba and Laos, Europe, Asia and America… But it is the African continent I feel particularly connected with, its wild, pristine nature moves me deeply: deserts, forests, untamed rivers, wild animals, wide landscapes, big skies, bright stars. The warmth and the hospitality of its people open my heart. Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Togo, Benin, Tanzania, Marocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe: dozens of unforgettable journeys, every single one unique.
Since 2016 I’m member of the group of travel photographers working for AWL-images from London – one of the most important picture agencies who has sold many of my African photos to postcard and calender editors as well as to travel magazines and travel guide books.
Except several publications in newspapers and magazines there are two photographic projects which have been particularly important for me. There is the publication of my photographic book about the wine and the wine making in the Cinque Terre. The other one is a reportage of a project of integration of African refugees: 7 men, refugees from different sub-Saharan African countries learn the repairing of dry stone walls in the Cinque Terre. Pictures of this project has been presented during several photographic exhibitions.
I have decided to share my passion for photography and traveling with other people by offering photographic travel to explore the most beautiful places in Africa. Throughout the season there are also selected dates for short photographic weekends in the Cinque Terre.