India. A single day, from dawn to sunset, seen as a metaphor of human life, from birth to death.
Luca Artioli, photographer and poet, guides us in the discovery of the Indian subcontinent which, through the intense portraits and moving verses that provide a
commentary on them, becomes a place of the soul even more than a geographical region. Mankind and its face are at the center of this journey, an adventure of light and love that begins on the Ganges and then unfolds, hour after hour, age after age, across the land, rendering its rich colors and harsh contrasts.
This is a study of life that is never probing but respectful, deeply moving and empathic in the presence of both happy events and the simplest everyday gestures or even when faced with the drama of disease, poverty and death. For this very reason its serene gladness communicates a reassuring message of hope and an overwhelming joy in living. All the profits from the sale of this book, for which the author has received no payment, will go to charity.
This book is a little adventure of light, that each of us traverses, sometimes unawares, in our everyday lives. It has as its protagonist life and its cycle of light and mystery. It grew by chance out of a conversation with a friend, almost a gamble. “Why not make a gesture of love? A different book, whose purpose is good, good alone. A book that supports a project of light and love.” “Each of us can be a pencil of God,” Paolo told me, quoting the words of Mother Theresa of Calcutta. Each of us, in our lives, in our everyday existence, can be transformed into a small instrument that leaves a memory and a sign of life and its message. The air of light enters the fissure of my night.
I leave for India with only a poem of the Mother as a guide:
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a battle, fight it.
Life is a problem, solve it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a burden, carry it.
Life is tragedy, face it.
Life is a duty, perform it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a mystery, unfold it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a journey, complete it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is love, enjoy it.
Life is beauty, praise it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is an opportunity, avail it.
As a hunter of images of nature, of infinities and solitudes, this time I sought to work alone on mankind, on landscapes offered by our times. No longer tracts of snow, deserts, oceans, forests. Only faces, faces of life. The soul of the landscape is a quiet soul, almost subtle, transparent air, not always visible yet present. The soul of man speaks a language only seemingly different. Whoever listens and comes to understand it, feels a sense of fulfillment, gratitude and compassion, as when one lingers to contemplate a sunset. A smile which had been imprisoned somewhere unknown finds a way to appear. Light on the darkness. It is your soul that approaches another, shares its path for a moment and, made curious and slightly confused by the conjectures of life, seeks finally the ingenuousness of the sky. I have explored the passages of many faces, of children and adults, fathers, mothers, sons and untouchables. I have known stories that heralded themselves alone and words made up of gestures and pauses. Doors open on dust and thirst. Sounds and smells now overwhelming, now delicate. I have seen gems shining with sun and sea, the buoyant dancing of sâris. I have walked into huts that could not even hide a tear. Life and toil, smiles and love were there, in the doorway, and if grief could not be private, it was always decorous. I have entered the colors of life as a raindrop enters the rainbow. Touch them now in these pages. See? They leave gleams that are slow to die away. Close your eyes and they will continue to live in you… I have always found the reflections of angels in Indian faces. I pursued their smiles: it was not difficult. No Indian refuses you the protection of a smile and this is fair encouragement to go ahead even when all may seem lost. They are only smiles. But now they are yours, too. Now, as I see them again on these pages, they kindle a sun in my sometimes weary soul. Sun and glimmers of moonlight on the snow live together, an almost unreal light that still is not quenched, that does not find nights. I feel it vibrate here, too, in Milan, so distant from them all. If only you, too, could feel this light and experience it as a warm, serene caress. If only…