There are places that become familiar by seeing them over and over again from your car window as you pass by.
Places that you know would surprise you even further should you ever want to stop time, and yourself, for a while, to go and look at them.
We hardly ever do it though, convinced, as we are, that we have all the time in the world.
And so they, these places, just stay there, in the car window, like snapshots that are never taken.
Unless you decide, one day, to go and have a look. And how do you not just let them go by again, how do you stop just saying: “I’ll stop next time”?
The only way is to go there directly, deliberately; to make it your destination and not just the background to your journey.
It could have been a nicer day, you tell yourself, one with hot sunshine and slanting rays of light. But then, as you walk along the bank of the canal to reach the bridge, you realise that perhaps it is, in fact, this light that brings out the best in this place.
Time suspended and hung from the low clouds; an absence that, rather than dampening your spirits, is like an elegantly worn dress. Reflections so clear that it is as though there are two separate worlds, mirroring one another.
I have taken so many photos, trying to capture the essence of these places, because they live and speak beyond what you can see and hear by just driving by, or looking at the landscape.
Whilst I ventured along the path lined with trees, I was totally enveloped by the lagoon and the silence, almost as if to carry me in the right direction: to the end of the path, where everything is of a bluey-grey that has its own light, even without the sky. It’s hard to capture that kind of light; it’s almost an essence and it is beautiful precisely because of its near-total neutrality. Greys dirtied with blue, inhabited only by birds going about their daily business. In these sorts of situations, you learn about patience; the art of waiting for the right moment to take the shot, that perfect combination that makes a photo into a composition that tells a story in its own language, beyond just what you see with your own eyes.
Then, after breathing all that blue, I came to the perfect spot that it seemed could only be inhabited by the characters from the fairy tales that were told there. Still and suspended like everything else, yet alive. As though the last person to be there had gone away intending to come back in just a little while, but then never managed to return.
Places like this leave you with sensations and colours, rather than actual memories.
So then I went from the photos to the drawing; that which is seen by the eye and that which is recalled in the mind.
I wanted that which the place had left in me to have a new life on paper, told by Nini and in her own, unique way of reinterpreting my daily life.
I had to work on white, yet give only the the impression of blue. The leaves I collected there are intended to anchor the photo to the tangible reality of things.
The long-awaited stork has finally arrived to tell his part of the story.
Cinzia Bolognesi – graphic designer and illustrator