My real name is Giambattista, but my parents dubbed me Nino when I was 2, the age at which I started my wandering life.

My very first skill and passion was drawing on any available surface.

At age 3, I had my first exhibition.

At 7, I was filling notebooks with technical drawings of machines I had been inventing with a schoolmate of mine who wanted to be an inventor. The following year I built a telescope and started investigating the lunar surface with another schoolmate who wanted to be an astrophysicist.

I was 9 when my father agreed to lend me his measuring tape and sent me and my younger brother to take measurements of the medieval walls surrounding the old town. Back home I drew the plan on a beautiful pale pink sheet of millimeter paper.

My project soon became measuring and tracing the whole urban area, but one day my father announced that we were moving to a new city, so my project was put on hold.

Then, I started school and I enjoyed it while moving and making interesting discoveries about things, people and places. During my studies I started practicing photography, writing and acting. A few cities and years later, I went back to my old project and I started studying architecture and city design.

Spending time in the wilderness has always been a good drug for me, a necessary and powerful experience which helped me to stay balanced within the city environment. It also brought me to a new and unexpected breakthrough: natural and constructed environments were meaningless without light. I’m aware that it might sound simple now - some giga-lumen later - but the light quality is affecting the way we relate to people and objects, just as day and night mark our lives.

After spending hours in the red light of my darkroom, the world looked different to me, and I felt like I have become a sort of filter myself: everything was so vivid I could see things I would not have seen in normal conditions.

And that’s when I started experimenting with natural and artificial light.

 

Photo by Robert Holden, 2009