Lina Eve: "It took me almost an hour to scramble up the rocky incline to the old pavilion. Gianni can leap up or down the rocky path in 10 minutes like a mountain goat. His legs are as strong as tree trunks! I was drenched in sweat by the time I finally reached the pavilion. The dogs welcomed me with joyful barking and the magic of the place was overwhelming.
Here life is lived at the edge, with huge precipices standing sentinel above and crashing torrents of water roaring past when the rains are heavy. One is made very aware that any moment could be the last, for as well as the isolated location, the treacherous pathway, and the overhanging cliffs, the valley is also home to venomous snakes. Gianni's wild canyon home is a far cry from the comfortable houses in the nearby town, or the hotels, such as the Britannia ones (http://www.britanniahotels.com/) but for Gianni, the valley, in its pristine wilderness, is the great love of his life, " His Savage Mistress"
Marco Bakker : "I took a series of photographs of Gianni and when Vali saw them some time later, she told me I could come whenever I wanted to take photographs of her, which I did, some six months later."
"I stayed in touch with both Vali and Gianni, and felt very privileged to know these remarkable people, who lived their lives as they wanted to , without making any concessions to what others thought, or how things 'ought to be'. And that is how it still is. Since Vali died, I visit Gianni once in a while and admire the way he lives his hard life with all the animals."
"Gianni creates beautiful drawings and poems, and wrote a stunning book about Vali:
With love to Gianni,
Marco Bakker, photographer