Hello! My name is Claudio Maria Lerario and I’m an Italian-born documentary photographer in activity since 1992. In Quest Of The Just is my online home as well as my travel diary and portfolio.
The name is inspired by Los Justos, the famous poem in which Jorge Luis Borges makes up a bundle of intentions that respond to a central attribute: the nobility of human behavior. Since 2008, I have no permanent abode and I look for my just across different latitudes, beliefs, and cultures | read the full story
As this quest permeates everything I do here, in this journal there’s no separation between work and personal life: you’ll find casual snapshots and commissioned portraits, long-form stories and short photo-epigrams, behind the scenes moments and videos, a selection of commissioned works and an increasing collection of museum-quality prints available for purchase.
A man who, as Voltaire wished, cultivates his garden.
He who is grateful that music exists on earth.
He who discovers an etymology with pleasure.
A pair in a Southern café, enjoying a silent game of chess.
The potter meditating on color and form.
The typographer who set this, though perhaps not pleased.
A man and a woman reading the last triplets of a certain canto.
He who is stroking a sleeping creature.
He who justifies, or seeks to, a wrong done [to] him.
He who is grateful for Stevenson’s existence.
He who prefers the others to be right.
These people, without knowing, are saving the world.
— Jorge Luis Borges | read the poem in its original language
Who are the people portrayed here?
This website acts also as my ideal family album, a place where I want to unite all those who — in some way — have touched my heart, even if only for a moment, even if only through a single gesture, thought or act of kindness.
These people, simply said, are my just. They are the superstars of the everyday: those who keep — as Jorge Luis Borge says, without even knowing it and by simply living their life — the world steady through their small or big efforts, labors, mistakes, fails, contradictions, and successes.
In Quest Of The Just includes representatives of all ethnic groups, genders, religions, ages, conditions, professions, and political views. Some of them have been or are still living in dire situations, others live in conditions that can be defined as normal, few of them are very wealthy. They are blue-collar workers or farmers, political figures or fugitives, healers or doctors, religious or sex workers, prison inmates or officers, scientists or artists, homeless people or landowners… the list could be endless.
I do not care who they are in the eyes of social conventions and — especially for the most delicate cases — I do not reveal those details that could pigeonhole them into any of the categories that the media really like: poor, rich, victim, outlaw, migrant, celebrity… whatever. They don’t need labels.
What you should expect from this website
In a world driven by social and financial Darwinism, in a media landscape where nothing remains, in the increasing irreconcilability of languages, in an age of increasing walls and boundaries, the core ethos behind In Quest Of The Just is that each single images and each single word that re-discovers, evokes and affirms our common humanity is an act of defiance, necessary today more than ever.
Everything published here reflects that vision as an example of possible bridges, open dialogue, non-verbal languages that say much more than abused words, often deprived of their meaning. Everthing is built around a simple and obvious point: understanding each other is possible so that the other is no longer the other, but a friend, a brother, a sister, a lover, a child to care, someone like you and me.
I know… perhaps this might sound naive or illusory but this is precisely the heart that beats inside of In Quest Of The Just: one shouldn’t be afraid of appearing naive in order to keep alive a reasonable and logical utopia.
In Quest Of The Just is technically managed by my studio — Lerario Photos Ltd — and supported by a group of talented individuals (here you can meet them) coming from different countries and made up of photojournalists, writers, designers, artists, researchers, humanitarian operators, and explorers of all kinds (please remember that all our contributors speak English as a second language: we apologize for all the mistakes).
Thank you for being here.