Thanks to my work as a photographer I have come into contact with businesses of different sizes, and each time I have been struck as to how much care and work goes into creating a product. I began focusing on these aspects a few years ago with a company that produced labels, mainly for wine: how many times do we choose one bottle over another because of the way it looks? Not just in terms of the graphic design, a key consideration, but also because of the type of paper chosen to print the label? I remember an underground world at the company where there were dozens of metres of very tall shelves packed with paper of different weights, types and colour, all catalogued and stored at constant humidity and temperature levels to ensure the best possible printing results. The most surprising aspect was that the entire storage and selection process was automated: the operative chose the type of printing paper from their workstation and it was then transported via an automated trolley and internal lifts to the floor above where it was used.
We use paper every day: in the bathroom and in the kitchen, at the dinner table and when we blow our noses, but we tend not to give it a minute’s thought, also often wasting it too.
In my city, Lucca, there are lots of paper mills and various processing methods: going into these businesses is like entering a futuristic world inhabited by enormous machines with long staircases where the light effects and steam – which reaches high temperatures during processing – are indescribably alluring. These plants produce and market tissue paper. The entire production chain is founded on respect for the principles of sustainability, beginning with the water used, which is filtered and reused in a closed circuit procedure so as not to waste it.
Respect for the day-to-day
These working processes are so fascinating that they have reawakened my passion for photographing them and made me look at everyday things with new respect and attention.
One of my most recent experiences was with Cimbali, more specifically for the 70th anniversary of FAEMA.
Since then my trips to the bar for a coffee have changed somewhat: first of all I check what kind of machine they are using and, if it is a Faema – perhaps the legendary E61 which captured my interest and my heart – my day is off to a good start… I’m aware that I have become much more critical, I watch what the barista does, I check whether they clean the filter between one coffee and the next and if they work with the due care and attention this form of ritual requires or if their thoughts are elsewhere.
Fashions and approaches change, so too do times which we seem to want to speed up. But I think it is nice to take a minute to consider our daily habits and to give them almost “sacred” value, whether this means observing the transparencies of grapes as you eat them or sipping a coffee and admiring its perfect light beige cream. And I’d go further: we should also be grateful to all those people who enable us to enjoy these moments: from the women that pick the coffee beans to those that process them, from the experts that create these increasingly high-performance and striking coffee machines to the baristas that take great joy in transforming this natural stimulant into espresso.
I firmly believe that we would all be amazed at how much we could improve our lives and mood if we only looked at the details that surround us more closely and, above all, in a different way.
Beatrice Speranza, born in Lucca, graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Florence.
Her studies helped develop her passion for images and composition which, combined with her sensitivity, naturally took her into photography.
Beatrice Speranza’s work stems from her observation of real life, from her desire to document our everyday worlds, worlds which we sometimes only ponder fleetingly and which are undergoing changes, some of which drastic (La Casa dei Libri, Portiere! and Santi e Maddalene).
Her innate curiosity and intuition has seen her involved in various collaborations and artistic experimentations in the spheres of design, graphic design, video and land art. She has also worked with writers like Andrea Bocconi and Margherita Loy (Presenze e Parole), Francesca Caminoli, Chicca Gagliardo and Pia Pera.
With her intimate and personal research of recent years, Beatrice feels the need to return to artisanship and decorates her images with little bits of wool embroidery (Presenze).
In 2010 she began exhibiting her photographs and design work at various exhibition spaces in Italy and abroad. Her work has been used to communicate the images of major companies like ITEMA (world leader in the production of weaving solutions in the fashion industry), the 70th anniversary of FAEMA (producer of the famous professional coffee machines) and the 110th anniversary of Manifatture Norberto Pardini, Italian leader in the area of farming and gardening products.