Alessandro Sigismondi: Mein Drishti, mein Leben

Alessandro Sigismondi: My Drishti, my life

Alessandro Sigismondi is a passionate and one of the best yoga photographers worldwide. He is regularly behind the camera for MANDALA. With his eye for detail, for poses and the special mood, every photo becomes a work of art. He talks about how he got into yoga and photography and tells us about his new project, the Drishti Box.

It all happened one night, several years ago. It was 2012 and I was back home from a long day at work when I asked myself a simple question: “What is making me happy?” The answer came quickly. First things first there was photography, a passion I had since my teenage years. Then there was undoubtedly yoga, a discipline I’ve found later in my life thanks to my wife. What was definitely sure, it’s that my corporate job in advertising was not in that list.That same night, after 13 years as a successful copywriter in several italian agencies, I decided to quit my job, renting out my apartment and doing something really crazy, for the first time in my life. 

I bought a one way ticket to India for me, my wife and our son. I did that instinctively, with no strategy and no plans, other than spending a lot of time on my mat, playing with my son and maybe taking some cool travel pictures. The destiny had other plans though. 

The place in India where I’ve arrived, it’s a city called Mysore. Many people in the yoga community knows Mysore because it’s the place where Ashtanga Yoga - also called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga - come from. And I was exactly there for that reason. So, if you’ve never been to Mysore, imagine a place that is traditionally Indian at the core but welcomes every year thousands of people from all over the world, all there to study yoga, many of them already yoga teachers, others in the process of becoming teachers. 

What I saw in front of me, was this huge colorful community of yogis from all over the world: It was something new and unexpected, in a time that was way before Instagram, the yoga challenges on TikTok and the tutorials on Youtube. 
Yoga was not popular yet, and it was not cool for the mainstream. When I was living there, being part of that community, I was feeling that people needed to know how beautiful and inspiring yoga can be. 

That’s why I’ve started taking photos and videos of yoga practitioners.It was an exhilarating experience. For me, the word of mouth spread and they started to call me from everywhere to take these kind of images. I’ve been doing it since then, going from one place to another, non stop, with this clear mission in mind: showing to the world the beauty of yoga. 

I have portrayed many well known yoga teachers, worked for studios and brands. You might have seen some photos of mine already from the Mandala newsletters, social media and catalogues.When the pandemic hit in 2020 and I slowed down my travels, I had finally time to sit at the computer and looking at these hard drives full of photos taken along the years and I thought about creating a collection of them. 

In the meantime, my vision of what I wanted to show with my camera changed. The whole yoga scene changed actually.
What was new 10 years ago was not new anymore. Instagram was full of people doing the most advanced postures. Was it really needed to show more of that? 

So I’ve started trying to show that inspiration can have different forms and shapes. I started to include a lot of art and body painting in my images. I also looked at other disciplines, such as contemporary dance, aerial, circus arts, pole dance.
Yoga it’s in the eyes and in the heart after all, not only on the mat. 

With this spirit, I have created the Drishti Box, a collection of 108 of my favorite photos. Drishti in Yoga is the focal point, the point you are looking to achieve concentration. 108 is a special number, the numbers of the beads of a mala. And like the beads of a mala, these 108 photos threats together all that I love, the sacred and the mundane, the ghats of Varanasi and the beaches of Tulum, the jungles of Bali and the deserts of Nevada. Flexibility and inclusivity, provocation and contemplation. Every box is numbered and signed by me. I think about the Drishti Box as an art object you can collect, but it doesn’t have to stay on a shelf to get dust. It can live with you.