What are images if not luminous phenomena? It is from this reflection that about a year ago NFC Edizioni, to celebrate ten years of activity, felt the need to give life to Luminous Phenomena, a series entirely dedicated to international photography.
Luminous Phenomena stems from the desire to create a space where established and emerging photographers can express themselves freely, taking care of every aspect of the publication, from the colour of the cover to the selection of the photographs.
In these small-format books, which allow you to hold them in your hand, replacing your smartphone screen for a few moments, you rediscover the importance of the body and how it relates to its surroundings.
The first volume, released in September 2020, was dedicated to Lady Tarin, and since then three other volumes have been published, dedicated to Aleksey D’Havlcyon, Giulia Agostini and Alba Zari respectively.
Luminous Phenomena is one of those publications that should be displayed on the best shelf.
We at Collater.al were lucky enough to speak directly with Amedeo Bartolini, editorial director and founder of Agenzia NFC and NFC Edizioni, and Guya Bacciocchi, director of the series, who told us more about the project.
Don’t miss the interview below, some shots included in the book and to learn more visit the dedicated website!
Before talking about this new photo book series, can you tell us how you started your journey in publishing and when you decided to found Agenzia NFC?
Amedeo: Our story started, and grew, in a moment of deep economic crisis. I founded Agenzia NFC (a communications agency) in 2010, seeing an opportunity to position myself in a sector that was perhaps a little “tired”: we needed a smarter, more dynamic reality… a couple of years later, in 2012, I followed my great passion for books and decided to bet on printed paper, and therefore to found NFC Edizioni.
For NFC Edizioni’s 10th anniversary, you launched “Luminous Phenomena”, a series dedicated to international photography. How did the idea for this series come about? Why did you choose this name?
Amedeo: For years, the idea of a photographic series was in my head like a woodworm, which slowly made its way into my mind. In 2020 I found myself thrown into a reality where the only thing I had in abundance was TIME. So I decided to use this period of stalemate to build something positive, just as in 2010 I tried to find a way to react to a moment of great crisis. Eventually, I decided to give my “worm” a name, and so the “Luminous Phenomena” series was born. The name is deliberately and brazenly inspired by Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature, paying homage to him and revisiting his thinking – the study of luminous phenomena! – in a contemporary key.
The watchword of this series is APPROACH; I would like to create new collectors of photography. This is why the Deluxe Edition (DE) of Luminous Phenomena includes a limited edition photograph of the artist. I imagine my home wall dedicated to the series filled with 10×15 cm photographs.
What is the common theme of the chosen photographers?
Guya: I cannot say that there is a recurring theme in the photographers we have selected so far. In fact, the series did not want to be linked to a single subject, but we wanted to be able to tell places, people and stories that were different and new each time, and we wanted each artist to be able to take us freely into their dreamlike universe.
Four volumes have been published so far. Should we expect more? Can you tell us something?
Amedeo: I always say that I hope this series will accompany me into retirement! My wish would be to continue working on this project for a long time to come; I find it extremely stimulating and gratifying, plus these books are so beautiful! We are currently working on volume 5, dedicated to Chlorus, with a text by Lorenzo Castor and Martha ter Horst.Vol. 6 will be special, celebrating the first year of “Luminous Phenomena”, and precisely for this reason we have decided to tell something very close to our home in Rimini. I don’t want to reveal too much about the next volumes, I’ll just tell you some of the countries from which we will “steal” photographers for the next volumes: England, Mexico and Morocco.
How do you select the photographers for this series?
Guya: Whoever expects a considered choice is wrong! The selection of the photographers is made up of emotions, butterflies in the stomach and amazement. Each artist has struck us with a peculiarity and has triggered in us a curiosity, a desire to know more and more, the need to want to tell a story. The photographers we have chosen are those who made us stop, who made us think, and who left us breathless. Some artists we already knew, others we found wandering around the web.
Each volume is a new experience, for us and for them: we want the artist to be involved at 360 degrees, from the choice of who will write the essay, to the shots to put in the book, to the colour of the cover, which will be the first emotional part of each volume (the choice is among 27 shades of Fedrigoni Sirio Color).
We want each volume of Luminous Phenomena to tell a new story, to make us dream.
Leafing through the volumes, I really appreciated the small format. The sensation was that of holding a collection of postcards or, if we want to keep up with the times, a printed Instagram gallery. Is there a particular reason why you chose this format?
Amedeo: I’m nostalgic, I like books made of paper, I like being able to hold them in my hand, feel their weight and smell the ink on their pages.
I have created a series in which several senses are involved, not only sight but also touch and smell. The paper used for the cover, the endpapers and the non-photographic part of the book is Fedrigoni Sirio Color, a paper that is soft to the touch, delicate, precious, with the scent of a new book, each volume in a different colour. The format of the LPs is “hand-sized”, uncomfortable to leaf through, but it is a very precise choice: I wanted books that are beautiful to look at, objects that invite you to touch them. I don’t want them to be leafed through many times, I don’t want them to be ruined. It is not only the photo that is the collector’s item, but also and above all the book!