Be in Peace, Alessio Castaldo
But one thing was still and strong out of the picture.
Nobody seemed to understand how complex and precious that was.
And kept wasting it.
- Taken from Life of Chloe, Alessio Castaldo
We Are Juxt is grieved to share that we lost one of our own to cancer over the weekend. Alessio Castaldo fought against cancer for many months before his strength ran thin and the treatments stopped working.
Ale touched many more lives than the ones contained on this page. The outpouring of grief and heartache across social platforms is great in width and breadth. Ale shined a light on those he loved. He fought for us creatively and emotionally. He supported and loved us, he was honest, good and a fun loving man. He was passionate in the way he connected to others and was genuine throughout every friendship. Many of us were touched by Ale and he left his unique mark on all of our hearts.
He is survived by his beautiful wife, Vanessa, and his son, Alessandro.
Below you will find a small fraction of the people that loved Ale. We hope that you will find your Ale in the words and will be reminded what an amazing man he was in life.
If you knew Ale, if you crossed paths along the internet or in life please leave a comment below for Ale’s family to read.
We are hoping our words can be a balm during this terrible time.
It all started with a photo on Instagram.
We did not know each other then, but were bot having some fun editing the same bw picture every week, together with other Igers. I was on my old IG account “only_bw.”
We exchanged only few polite comments.
Then, I do not remember how it all started, but we begun to “talk”, first on IG, then on other chats, up to exchanging phone numbers.
Since then we went all the way, long hours night conversations, endless chats and texting. We spoke about our dreams, conveyed ideas which resulted in the crazy project called “TheMinimals”.
Immediately the project was shared and endorsed by Raffaele (my close friend @raffamuffin) and Ale’s BFAM Brad Puet (@bradpuet).
I remember the first meeting in Napoli: we looked like three kids at the carnival.
Did not stopped talking and taking pictures to anyone who drifts past, aware that something huge was consolidated. Our friendship. Our brotherhood. Our future.
The rest came by itself.
We met several times in San Benedetto where he and his wonderful family lived. Projects took shape.
Then came the shadows. Alessio faced his darkest hour with dignity, as only a true Minimal can do. And finally, today, he entered his last trip.
I’m sure Ale is now in a place where he can take the best photos you can imagine with his iPhone.
We won’t see these pictures in any social. We will feel them in our hearts.
It will all start again from a photo. – Francesco
If you didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Alessio, all you need to do to know who and how he was, is look through his fotos on IG. There you will find fotographs taken by a man who loved people, who loved the street, who loved nature, and who loved his family and his friends. You will also find comments, conversations, that he shared with so many around the world. Sometimes there was silliness, sometimes words of support, sometimes words of thanks, and sometimes simple funny emojis. But one thing was certain, there was always a smile to be had when visiting Ale’s world.
He brought so many together, he connected many of us, and our bonds grew stronger when his battle restarted, and yet stronger when things took a turn for the worse. He was the force that kept us together, our common denominator. When I think of all the love that has been shared in these last months, and especially these last days, I find myself smiling tearfully and thinking ‘it’s all because of our Ale’. He really has taught us how to open our hearts, how to appreciate our time with the ones we love, and how to express all those things openly, because life is even shorter than short.
My dear Ale, rest knowing that we will never forget you, we will never forget your smile and your kind good heart, and that we will never forget your family, because they are ours too.
fly my friend, it’s time to let go and fly. you will always be with us. come sempre, un abbraccio forte forte my dear Ale. – Layal Arous
Ale, thank you for introducing me to The Minimals. My ‘red socks and green scarf’ photo is now forever yours. RIP in Heaven. – Asia
Even though we never met in person, Ale gathered us, and we managed to share the strongest of feelings, love.- Mymaco / Marco
Although we never had the pleasure of meeting in real life, you were my dear friend, Ale. The brother I never had. You formed a loving community around yourself, and all of us have been blessed to know you, and to meet so many other beautiful souls through you. Alessio had the most amazing way of letting people know he cared. That is a rare gift. He was passionate, about life, about art, about music. And especially about his family. As his little Ale grows, I hope he comes to know his papa, who was taken too soon, through wonderful stories and the beautiful images he leaves behind. We are all better off for having known you, fratello. Thank you for your friendship. Rest in God’s peace, tesoro mio. – Heidi Taylor
Thank you Ale for uplifting all of us with your artistic vision and sense of community. I think the world has been made a better place for having known you. – Tina Berg
When I joined IG I never realized what would have happened. I gained a family. Ale was that family. The brother I never had. He brought a people together thru photographs. A community. With that came laughter, love, happiness and family. That’s what he gave me. He taught me life lessons, about patience, about love and most of all about what family and friendship is. He scolded me when I needed to be scolded, praised me when I needed praise and gave me love when I needed love. He was an angel on earth. Now he can be my angel in heaven. Watching over us all. Still teaching us. – Melanie De Krassel
Ale and I did an interview together for We Are Juxt and through his questions and insight he embraced me generously and unconditionally. We shared a love for Tolkien and used to send each other hobbit furry kisses and hugs. He once told me that being a sensitive person and feeling sadness deeply also meant that one had the ability to feel happiness even more so. Whenever I feel sad I remember these comforting words from my beloved friend Ale. Love – Christina N. Andersen
We are all hurting…
One man united people across the world! How amazing is that”?
It’s pretty remarkable. It’s magnificent, really.
Thank you, Ale!
For bringing us together, for sharing your love of photography and music and for making our lives fuller with your presence.
We all are going to miss you! – Nei Cruz
Ale was a kind, creative, and always supportive presence. I will miss him and send to those who knew him personally and those who came to know him through his photography my heart-felt condolences. May he rest in peace and his creative spirit fuel us all. – Star Rush
It feels like a life time since I met you, Ale.
In reality it’s not a life time and we have never met…
But from the very beginning I found you on the popular page (in those days “popular page” meant good photos ), we connected. First through photos, after that humor and from one came the other. You were just the kind of guy, that sneaks under your skin and into your heart, and didn’t have the intention to let you go again. I’m glad you didn’t. You made me survive my darkest time. Only a year ago I got your message, saying… “It’s back”. It couldn’t be happening, not just now when you finally had the faith to for fill your wish of being a father. But it was true… You fought. You fought hard. Together with Vanessa and holding on to LittleAle™. You fought hard and you didn’t want to let go. Just a short while ago, we got good news and I grabbed on to the sparkle of hope. Hope to still be able to met you in real life instead of only the virtual. You grabbed the same sparkle. But it wasn’t meant to be. You gave up a good fight, dear Ale, but you just couldn’t win.nIt was good to be able to be there, right by your side, to send you the stories you asked me to send, to give you smiles (getting a smile-message back made my day!). You didn’t want pity, just love and a smile. Well, that wasn’t a hard thing to do. And I’m happy you let me. I hope, somewhere, somehow, you are smiling, while watching the seeds grow. The seeds you planted in the social world that was so important for you. Your seeds of connecting, sharing and loving. They grew over time and they are still spreading and growing. Watch the love, read the love and embrace the love that spreads all around the world, to your honor. You deserve every little spark. You were a very special guy, dear Ale. And I’m more than proud to call you my friend- Rianne
There is so much to be said but I cannot seem to find the right words. Ale was like your favorite song on the radio, that deep belly laugh, and the contentment you find at the end of a job well done. We connected here at We Are Juxt through our sons that are not to different in age. We laughed and talked about how parenting changes you. How your view of life goes from quantity to quality. We both had a deep desire for our boys to grow into good, solid, loving men. I will never forget when he told me to show my boys every day who I wanted them to be, not just to tell them. It was so simply yet it knocked me over. Vanessa, I know that you know the caliber of man you had in Ale and if you get nothing else out of this article know that Ale loved you all so much. Everyday he looked for new reasons to be a better man for you and for little Ale. - Anna
Mia cara Vanessa so che non esistono parole adatte a poterti confortare della tua immensa perdita, ma spero che l’affetto delle persone,la consapevolezza che Alessio è entrato nei cuori nei pensieri di tutti noi, possa in qualche modo donarti un momento di calore.
Lascio i miei sentimenti alle parole di Henry Scott Holland che ho trovato illuminanti e confortanti nel momento del dolore.
Con Immenso affetto un pensiero per Alessio – Carlotta Bru
La morte non è niente by Henry Scott Holland
La morte non è niente.
Sono solamente passato dall’altra parte: è come fossi nascosto nella stanza accanto.
Io sono sempre io e tu sei sempre tu.
Quello che eravamo prima l’uno per l’altro lo siamo ancora.
Chiamami con il nome che mi hai sempre dato, che ti è familiare; parlami nello stesso modo affettuoso che hai sempre usato.
Non cambiare tono di voce, non assumere un’aria solenne o triste.
Continua a ridere di quello che ci faceva ridere, di quelle piccole cose che tanto ci piacevano quando eravamo insieme.
Prega, sorridi, pensami!
Il mio nome sia sempre la parola familiare di prima: pronuncialo senza la minima traccia d’ombra o di tristezza.
La nostra vita conserva tutto il significato che ha sempre avuto: è la stessa di prima, c’è una continuità che non si spezza.
Perché dovrei essere fuori dai tuoi pensieri e dalla tua mente, solo perché sono fuori dalla tua vista?
Non sono lontano, sono dall’altra parte, proprio dietro l’angolo.
va tutto bene.
Ritroverai il mio cuore,
ne ritroverai la tenerezza purificata.
Asciuga le tue lacrime e non piangere,
se mi ami: il tuo sorriso è la mia pace.
Death is nothing at all By Henry Scott Holland
“Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Dearest Vanessa and Alessandro,
As you well know there are many people who are heartbroken over Ale’s passing. He was a great man who touched many lives around the world. He used the power of art and photography but more importantly used his love for people to touch the hearts of all of us. He always told me how much he loved you both and how much he wants to make sure that you both are taken care of. He always told me that with every email, every recorded audio, every comment, every kik, every correspondence. ALWAYS.
Despite the pains and ills of cancer, his focus on this earth was to show you both how much he loved you. He would open up his conversations with, “BFAM you need to make sure you love your family like I love mine.” It was past the “hellos” and other salutations, it was always a statement to love your family like I love mine. He was so proud of his accomplishment of being a man. To be a loving partner, to be a loving father was his mission and he wanted to have his art become his “legacy.”
Ale wanted to know you. REALLY know you. Not just the photos we share on the networks, but the person behind the lens. He always said that the best place to meet and learn about a person is to be on the “couch” with them. Not literally of course. He talked about how the “couch” is a real intimate environment. There is no place to share friendship than on a couch and with Italy’s best wine. That was how he produced and share his art. Creating an intimate space with the artists and getting to know that person with his personality as the best wine. Its where he excelled best on social media. It was a real and genuine want and need to know you, us. That is how we got so close.
He was a great mentor and his lessons will always remain with me. He said, “BFAM you can be really great at street and photography, but you need to capture the person and not just the street. Get closer to your subject. Hurry up and do that.” There were few people who gave me any constructive critique on my photography. He would show me his own work and break down what he could’ve done better. THEN quickly show me my work and say what I could do better. Always out of love, never out of any negative space. He really wanted me to become better. We then began the #bradale tag on Instagram. It was our place to save the photos that we loved of one anothers work. I loved that of him. He wanted me to be better and in turn asked me to help him be better.
Past the talk of photography and sharing of musical inspirations, we talked about life. He really wanted to listen and share. We talked about our fight with the moster – cancer. He told me from the beginning that he didn’t know how much time he had on this earth, but he’d be damned if it didn’t give it a fight. He even would use new lingo to explain himself, “BFAM I would be cray cray if I sat and let this shit beat me.” When I read that, I knew how much he had been talking to Mel or Heidi. =) He would ask me what cray cray meant…after he used it.
It was always hard for me to read/listen to his talk of leaving this earth. We would talk about walking the streets of where he was from and then talk about what it would be like to shoot the streets of Seattle. Our queens would sip on wine, our kids would play in the park. We would dream of how to make this happen. Often he would say, “BFAM this is a good way to dream. Who knows what if it’ll be true because of this monster, but lets continue to dream.”
I think he had accepted his fate but he was more worried about his legacy for you both, Vanessa and Alessandro. I know that he continued to dream for the both of you.
He also loved his circle. This is one of his greatest gifts to us. The circle is now for you sweet Vanessa and Alessandro. Our love for Ale has definitely spilled over to you both. We are here for you.
My family will miss him. I will miss him. I can’t even explain how much he impacted me during our years of friendship. ALL of this love has been through photography, music, and electronic media. We never met yet our connection was really deep. He remains my BFAM. He remains my Axl. He remains my Bridge. – BFAM
Vanessa, we hope you can feel not only how much we love Ale but also how much we are supporting and loving you from afar. We would all love to be on the couch with you holding your hand or playing with little Ale. Please know you are not alone, even when it feels like it. The We Are Juxt family is only a call or email away. We are holding you all close and praying for you daily.
In death, Ale has brought a community to its knees and after the tears he has united us again to support his family in their time of need. Together with Blurb Books we have created a volume of images called Love. for the sole purpose of helping Ale and Vanessa. All proceeds of sale go directly to Vanessa and little Ale. If you haven’t purchased a copy we hope you will consider pitching in and help Vanessa in the wake of loss of her husband. We want to invest in Ale as he invested in us everyday.
Please share in the comment section your love for Ale.