35mm, Color, Film, Street Photography

Daydreaming in Ferrara

Daydreaming in Ferrara

Beautiful, serene film photos of the timeless, soulful city of Ferrara shot by photographer Federica Acierno.

Photographer: Federica Acierno — instagram.com/_ofeliasogna

This series of photographs is a love letter to my city; not the one where I was born, but the one where I was re-born, which is even more significant. A love letter whose words are written with light rather than ink, because this is my medium: analog photography. Whenever I talk about Ferrara — which happens very often — I always say that this city is a state of mind, a mood. Or even better, that it has a soul. For six years I had the privilege of living in its spaces and experiencing an intense spiritual and aesthetic merging with them, which has left a deep mark on me. But, in order to take these photos, I had to move away. I had to feel the burden on my heart when I said goodbye, wrapped up in a veil of nostalgia and caressed by the endless memories of the past moments. Like in a nostos, I had to feel the boundless desire to come back, and then the overwhelming excitement of doing it. Ferrara is a metaphysical place, a city that transcends, that goes beyond the expressible. It is no coincidence that the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico became one of the leading figures of the Metaphysical painting after spending several years here. It is the realm of thick fog and solitary sound of footsteps on the cobblestones in the yellow light of the street lamps; it is the kingdom of mystery, stillness and supreme nostalgia. I still can’t believe that exactly two years have passed since that cold, bright January afternoon when I escaped from the world of my duties. When I took my second-hand Retinette and an expired roll of film and started taking analog photographs for the first time ever. I had no clue of what I was doing: the camera I was using was pretty hard to handle for an absolute beginner like me, because all the settings were to be made by feel, and when turning the rings nothing changed in the viewfinder. I did not care. I was having one of the most powerful and intense moments of being of all my life, as Virginia Woolf would have said. I was filled with pure joy, with total and overwhelming excitement, as if I had suddenly and unexpectedly found the deeper meaning, the one we all seek and that is different for everyone. My film journey was about to begin, and it could not have started anywhere else. There is a light here that I have never seen in no other place. A light that has a substance of its own, dense enough to be breathed, a sort of golden dust, like the one that gives life to memories. A light “antérieure”, in the words of Annie Ernaux, or even eternal. Eternal, indeed, because time does not exist here. For some mysterious reasons it has been abolished, as in dreams. And as in the pictures of this midwinter afternoon’s daydream.

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