I have often been complimented on the photos where I appear during social events among celebrities, captains of industry and politicians. And every time I have to point out that, in most cases, my presence on those occasions is due to professional reasons. Recently, for example, I was at the Cavalieri del Lavoro gala dinner in the splendid Palazzo Ducale in Genoa, but my job there was to set up that venue full of history and art following the theme of the meeting: water. To respect the personality of the halls of the building, I chose a minimal approach, which you can also see in the reel dedicated to this evening on my Instagram profile, using the lotus flower, the aquatic flower par excellence.
Of course, it’s often nice to meet interesting people with whom to share pleasant moments of conviviality, but by now you should have gotten to know me: for me, inspiration, the desire to and to share it with others come first. It also happened to me during an exhibition, that time I was really just a guest, dedicated to the history of the Italian navy.
I wandered around the exhibition admiring the splendid black and white photos, the wonderful objects that transmitted a story made up of marine crossings and adventures through my skin, the logbooks that reflected the personality of the captains of those historic ships through the different hand writings.
And those rooms were full of captains: all the high uniform hats gathered in the cloakroom at the entrance proved it. When I became aware of that marvelous collection, I immediately asked the lady who kept them to be able to photograph them: “Impossible” she told me, remaining impervious to my every plea. While I was trying to negotiate the possibility of resuming that wonderful collection, even for just a moment, I felt an authoritative presence behind me, who in a deep voice asked “What’s going on?”.
I explained to him that I was fascinated by the sublime workmanship of those hats, by the preciousness of their decorations, by the suggestive contrasts between white, gold and blue, but unfortunately they didn’t give me the opportunity to photograph them. “And why on earth?” continued the admiral with his deep voice “I think it can, right ma’am?” he concluded by turning to the wardrobe lady, who stepped aside and let me pass, almost scandalized by my further request to be able to move them to set up a set where they could offer the best of themselves to my lens.
I didn’t notice the time passing, enchanted by the drawing of those friezes that I had in mind to reproduce in my next drawings, and feeling the shiver of the stories that silently whispered to my soul along my spine. And I didn’t even notice that, behind me, the admiral who had opened the entrance to that paradise was looking at me smiling.
“You have a deep bond with the navy” that mysterious and fascinating character told me, and I could only answer in the affirmative. “It wasn’t a question,” he continued, beginning a suggestive account of the fact that, throughout his life, he had developed a particular sensitivity for the history of people, and I soon understood that by history he meant not only biological history.
She asked me if I believed in reincarnation, and who I thought I might have been in my previous lives. Honestly, I had never considered the hypothesis of lives previous to mine, and therefore I replied ironically, quoting the nickname I had given myself: “I don’t know… a princess?” “I don’t think so” he replied “I saw you petrified in front of the images of the exhibition dedicated to the exploration of Antarctica. You hate the cold, don’t you?”
Anyone who knows me knows: I hate the cold, I can’t bear its icy grip on my body, which is more at ease with it, rather, in the tropical climates of the islands or listening to the torrid and imperious call of the desert. The admiral, however, did not know me and this statement surprised me, so I asked him how he knew. He didn’t tell me right away, but during the gala dinner he kept looking insistently at an empty space between my chair and my husband’s.
In the long run, these looks began to embarrass me, so I decided to ask what he was staring at. “Not what” he answered, “I would rather say who…” . And he told me to see behind me, as if he were protecting me, the figure of an old sea captain with a crutch, telling me the incredible story of this man, the victim of a shipwreck in the northern seas, and how his long stay in the icy waters while waiting for help had permanently damaged his legs.
I smiled to mask the embarrassment, and not to think about it, I continued to chat brilliantly with the others