I landed in a goldmine of photo ops.

Capturing the richness and uniqueness of Italian faces and expressions will be a never-ending pursuit for me. So, when I had the opportunity to attend, once again, Sulmona’s annual La Giostra Cavalleresca, I jumped at it.

This is one of the most important annual events in Abruzzo. Attendees make their way from all over the world to experience its rich Medieval pageantry.

Participants in this Abruzzo festival embody their roles with great honor and reverence.

As you’ll see from the gallery below, this is a color-saturated and emotion-filled event. But, it’s the expressions, the Italian faces, and the proud carriage of these participants that have the most profound effect on me. I feel a keen responsibility as an artist to pay tribute to this remarkable event and the people making it happen.

Jockeys vigorously train to spear rings with their lances while navigating a figure-eight track at breakneck speed, This the main event. But, the work that goes into preparing the breathtaking costumes and tailoring them to carefully chosen particpants is just as ardurous. Once a person steps into one of these Medieval costumes, they are expected to adhere to defined behavior in how they carry themselves. You won’t find people joking or making light of their roles. I suspect they would be jettisoned quickly if they did.

These Italian faces proudly meet my camera lens.

I hope, as you’ve viewed the gallery of images above, that you can experience how these extraordinary people proudly presented themselves to me. Not once did they step out of their characters, save a tiny wink to acknowledge the work I was doing. The people in Sulmona and surrounding parts of Abruzzo are to be lauded for coming together for this event with such dedication and reverance.

Experience the energy of this remarkable jousting event in this YouTube video.