In his book Elementi by photographer Edoardo Delille merges close ups of Donati's production pieces and nature: and work becomes the main character in a tale about an industrial land

Elementi is a perfect title for the latest book by photographer Edoardo Delille edited by Giulia Ticozzi and published by L'Artiere Edizioni: images with an alchemical flavor - on display until November 19th in Bergamo, see below - which tell the story of a territory (Brescia) and a company (Donati, which produces aluminum die castings and office components), mixing them seamlessly.

A visual journey built on color atmospheres

The result is a visual journey built on masterfully laid out diptychs: side-by-side vertical shots that build a sequence in which the gaze passes from the gray of the rocks to the brown of the ground to the metallic reflection.

An itinerary where, not knowing where you are or what you are looking at (the captions are all relegated to the end of the publication), the imagination flies free, attracted by flashes, glimpses, full and empty spaces, lights , shadows. And where is the becoming of atmospheres that pushes us to turn the page to understand where we are going to land.

Elementi is a mysterious book, starting from the black, tactile cover.

It is difficult to understand, when you leaf through it, what landscape close-ups are and what bases for office chairs, die castings, mechanisms are (Donati produces for the biggest brands in the furniture, from Vitra and Herman Miller to Steelcase, from Haworth to Sedus just to name a few). What acts as a common thread between the shots is not in fact a didactic narration but what Edoardo Delille is able to capture in what he observes: the soul of a territory in which work and nature, effort and pride in know-how, history and contemporaneity are intertwined.

A corporate storytelling in which the company tiptoes in

The beauty of Elementi therefore owes everything to the gaze of Delille and the curatorship of Giulia Ticozzi. But above all to the courage of two choices made upstream by the client Donati.

The first: that of entrusting the creation of a company publication to a photographer in love with nature, the landscape and the energy that can be felt in its ravines.

The second: leaving his hand and gaze free, so that through his shots an authentic story is released, a personal and artistic interpretation of a place and its vital breath. And, only consequently, also of the company.

Living in the area to grasp its essence

To create Elementi, Edoardo Delille spent weeks in the Brescia valleys, from the peaks of Maniva to the shores of Lake Iseo, from the Val Camonica of rock graffiti to the industrious Valtrompia. He slept outdoors to capture moments of light, details of stones and water flowing in streams. He spoke with those who live in villages scattered across the mountains and with those who work in factories. He breathed the territory in which Donati was born and raised and in which the people who work there live. He started from very far away - in space and time - before arriving at production.

"The alchemy of the elements of nature flows into the DNA of those who have lived in these valleys for generations", explains the photographer, "and in this relationship I found the traces of the past who built the present. The same shapes and shades in the landscape and in the factory. The metal fusions and the reflection of a lake reflect the same light. The cave paintings engraved in the rock thousands of years ago tell us the same passions and needs of man who lives there today. The elements of nature become the mirror of life. The words and daily gestures still pass on the passion for work, the feeling for art and the love for a nature that is still strong and present. The knowledge of men forms a complex and multifaceted portrait whose story I have told."

The power of wordless communication

In the pages of Elements there are therefore earth, water, fire and air: the elements of nature and the forging of metals with flame. And so, through sequences that capture the gaze and make it investigate details, lights and colours, the work becomes the story of the soul of a territory like the landscape. Without superfluous words.

It is precisely the absence of words that is most striking in this book.

Corporate publications without corporate texts are in fact very rare: when a work is commissioned, the desire to tell one's story (and self-celebrate) often takes over. Comprehensibly.

However, in an only apparently paradoxical way, it is precisely when companies allow themselves to be discovered by educated and free voices that the best results are achieved also in terms of communication. That is, a high positioning of those who know how to produce culture for the pleasure of doing it.

Because, as Franco Albini said, "it is more through our works that we spread ideas than through ourselves".


Elementi, by Edoardo Delille, Monastero del Carmine - via Colleoni, 21, BERGAMO, 24129 until November 19th, 2023