Origini Edizioni is a small-scale Italian publishing house that focuses on limited edition photobooks. Their first book was born in 2012 and since then, they publish numerous titles per year. The publisher’s specialty lies in combining photography with text to formulate a symbiosis of the two mediums. Origini Edizioni’s books are highlighted with a high level of tactility by often using waste materials and old paper, turning each book into a unique piece of art.
In an interview with Discarded Magazine, Matilde Vittoria Laricchia discloses their approach to photobook making and recent collaborations.
How did the idea of Origini Edizioni emerge and what was the first photobook you published?
Valentino Barachini, art director and creative mind of Origini edizioni, began in the field of art publishing in the nineties, simultaneously designing and creating prototypes of artist’s photobooks using his photographs in private. His training has always been oriented towards painting and the culture of the image, closely connected to an artisanal vision of art.
In 2012, by a chance encounter, his experience joined my poetic word and our first volume in verse and images was born: Non ci sono foto ma qualcosa è rimasto in an edition of 30 copies (currently unavailable). The decision to give us a name and work no longer only in spare time was an automatic consequence of the response the first book got in the public: the Italian public who reads poetry and the international public of photographers and collectors of artist’s photobooks. Origini edizioni was then officially born in 2014, with the first book using our logo: Sahra, in two editions of 30 copies each.
What kind of experience are you trying to communicate through your approach to photobook making? Through your unique way of layering and using scrap materials, your books are very tactile and visceral. Would you say this is a form of your signature?
For each book, everything always begins with an embryonic idea of character or “perfume” we want to give to the book: for poetic plaquéttes, the initial idea arises from the poet’s voice, from his imaginative quality. After the embryo, we begin to give flesh to the book by choosing images, colours and paper together, so osmosis develops between all the elements. The paper we choose is never neutral support for the text and images but is part of the artistic experience that will be drawn from the book. Materials are a necessary element of our works; indeed, it is a signature.
The editorial phase for photographic books consists of the creation of specific texts and copywriting and born after the choice of images, arises to complete them and close the circle, giving our vision or opening glimpses that suggest other visions. Binding is also part of our skills and often recalls the simplicity of the most ancient bindings. Our “language” seeks the origin, the wettest core of every human experience, both in the forms and in the contents of our works, trying to universalize it, making a shared experience.
Reading a photobook for us is an activity that affects all perceptions. Everything we include in a work of ours, is necessary, since all the different things in a work are not just a literary context, but they are like an ecosystem where every element is part of the texture of the whole. Reading our books in toto is like looking at a flower in the context of a forest, rather than in its vase. For this reason, our work is always tied to a multitude of stimuli, and different reading angles, that come from the title, a concept or simply an image.
We are not afraid that the encounter of our objects-organisms and their complex ecosystem can cause some fractures in time of fruition: we looked for these fractures since we need that the leafing through be not too fluid, nor too immediate, but deep and suffered. In poetical terms, that would be called a caesura. We try to give multiple choices of reading, new possibilities and breathing rhythms, also.
The experience of reading would not only be horizontal but also vertical as every chosen image is strong enough to live by itself, in an evocative sense. When read together with others, they tell a story, a narrative.
What qualities and aesthetics are you looking for in a photographer to be published by you?
We are very fascinated by analogue work, which is similar to our research, but what we are looking for above all – whether digital or analogue – is the “urgency” of photographic work. Particularly, the visceral need that the photographer has to make it emerge – the continuity and personality of poetics and research in his or her years of artistic experience, beyond what is up-to-date and mainstream.
Could you please tell our readers what were your latest projects and some exciting facts about them?
Autumn 2020 and the beginning of the new year marked for us the opening of new supports and dimensions, increasingly necessary for life and art. For instance, in Attraction by Damien Daufresne (photographer, French artist and filmmaker) we have included in the collector’s edition of the book a pen drive with an original video specially created by the artist. Then, we also created Panopticon, based on Riccardo Dogana’s photographic corpus dedicated to an imaginary journey of a screen’s guardian into the boundless world of YouTube and webcams. We are working to expand our work into dimensions that increasingly enhance the Origini’s photobook as an experience that involves all senses. At the moment, we are working on a project with the young Greek photographer Ilias Georgiadis for a collaboration that includes a music experience in the photographic book.
What would be your advice to photographers who are planning to publish their first book?
The advice is to start by turning to small publishing houses, numerous and open to experimentation, not necessarily offering standard and glossy books. We believe that great ideas and revolutions in the world of images and in the conception of the photographic book can start from the experience of small publishers, who have the desire and power to take risks.