(CNN) — In the moment it took him to release his camera's shutter, Giulio Rimondi changed from an award-winning photographer to a thief. He "stole" from a priest inside a house of worship.
"It was a private moment that I stole," Rimondi said of the third photo in the gallery above. "He was listening to a Mass, which is something that is very much private. That is humanistic photography."
Rimondi said he never asks permission to take any of his photos -- and this time was no exception. The result was one of many remarkable images from Rimondi's photographic essay, "Italiana," which he hopes to turn into a book.
Photographer Giulio Rimondi
"I basically got lost," he said.
In another image from his Italian trek, we see a car driving across a rocky landscape at dusk, with someone dressed in white standing in the foreground. The thing that draws people to the photo is that it "makes you wonder, but it doesn't explain," Rimondi said.
Surprises along the way
During his long journey, he learned a few new things about his home country.
"The ways of society were more ancestral than what I expected, but in a cultural way," he said.
More people than he expected watched TV instead of watching their smartphones. He was surprised how many fostered attitudes derived from the past instead of the present. Rimondi also said he found more loneliness among his fellow Italians than he expected.
Rimondi has been taking photographs since he lit out on his first journey at age 19.
"I consider myself to be a traveler more than a photographer," the 32-year-old said.
It was inside the holy halls of the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua where Rimondi found himself watching the priest.
The photographer waited silently, camera in hand, watching the priest and waiting for the right moment.
"On one side you feel guilty, yeah. But on the other side, you feel you have to, because it's a cultural act for a cause," Rimondi explained.
So, what is Rimondi's secret for stealing private moments from his subjects?
"I take two or three photos without being noticed ... something happens ... and that is when you take the picture. That is the moment of the picture."
Rimondi summed up his technique with a careful phrase. He said, "You steal it gently."