The photographic project by Serena Vittorini and Melissa Pallini originated from their desire to explore objects coming from nature which find a relation with the intimate sphere of the human being. This exhibition explores objects which the mind tends to oversimplify. Peculiar photographic perspectives suggest the content lying underneath the visible surface of objects. This research on elements coming from the animal, vegetal and fossil spheres, triggers issues related to the effects of the passing of time. The project investigates the ancestral tendency of the human being to associate nature to analogies, sometimes scientifically and – more often – symbolically.

In this photographic project, every object is represented individually to give enough space to its emblematic strength. Hence, the peacock feather evokes perfection and beauty, as this animal embodies honesty in an upright person. The annual renewal of its molt symbolises resurrection. The circular shape inside the feather reminds of an eye, analysed as such since classical times (Aesop, Ovid).

The detailed representation of a leaf intensifies pleasure and harmony of forms. Its veining is juxtaposed to human veins. Grains transporting nutrients are as necessary as the canals which ensure bloodstream to the various organs of the human body. 

The representation of the pomegranate is related to the myth of Persephone. The girl is offered seeds so that she can always remain bound to the underworld. There is only one time of the year when the nymph is allowed to go to earth, when flowers blossom and Spring begins.

The shell takes another role. In this inhabited case, the spiral is a fascinating theme to explore. Its mathematical and geometric matrix in the golden section repeats in many contexts regarding natural and human spheres. For instance, in the human body the cochlea – the part of the inner ear – takes this shape. The butterfly has been associated with the soul since ancient times: some Greek myths portray Psyche as a winged girl, evoking the butterfly. The calla lily flower symbolises both purity and rebirth.       

In this project, the photographic technique of “still life” is enriched by light painting, to combine a type of scientific study with the emotional description of the elements. The light of a torch (covered with coloured gelatines) hits photographed objects during long shooting times in a dark room, where the sensor is left open. This creative process changes the actual colour of objects, making them appear less common and enhancing their symbolic (and cognitive) power.


Fanny Borel